Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 6, 2013

Home sweet home says everything about us and our lifestyle.

Do you love what you see when you walk into yours?

Does it make you feel happy, calm, relaxed and glad to be there?

Or is it a constant work in progress that seems to never end? 

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, keep two important facts in mind:

#1 You don’t have to be rich to have a beautiful home. Really. It's not just for the rich and famous.

Photo: Benjamin Moore.

#2 Decorating is about beautiful things that enhance what you already have and living well in surroundings that speak to your lifestyle. In other words: Quality. Not quantity.

Sometimes we all need a little help. A new pair of eyes to offer some solutions. A professional interior decorator can make all the difference.

Maybe you want to update a bathroom. Create a beautiful bedroom.  Redo a kitchen for entertaining.  Replace old carpet with wood or tile.  Change paint colors or go all neutrals with pops of color. Create conversation areas in large open living areas. Blend old furnishings with new to fit your lifestyle. Update your lighting.  Add new accessories.

If this is your first time working with an interior decorator, you may be a little nervous. There are a few tips (right from the source) that will help and give you exactly what you need to know before the first appointment!

What can a professional decorator do for you? Think about it this way: you hire a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, etc to help with your home.  An interior designer will help you pull it all together and will do the following:

• Look at the big picture and assist you in developing a plan before you make purchases.

• Take the stress out of the process.  Make it fun!

• Bring you the best choices and options without allowing you to become overwhelmed.

• Avoid costly mistakes and save you $$$$.

• Give you a professional evaluation of what you should keep and what to repurpose.

• Develop a plan according to your budget and timeframe.

• Collaborate WITH you on how you want your home to look.

• Offer resources that are “to the trade” and often save $$$.

• Enhance your personal style and take it to a whole new level.

• Help increase the value of your home.

Once you have made the decision to obtain the services of an interior decorator, follow these important tips:

• Research. Check out websites, credentials, certifications, training, years in business.

• Visit Google and pinterest. Read comments from clients.

• Do your homework.  Decide what you like. How you want your home to feel.

• Interior decorating is not free or cheap.  So establish a budget. Before you begin working with a decorator, have an idea of what you want/have to spend. You will get a much better result.

• Schedule a consultation. You will have a chance to see if your decorator is a good fit. This is important because they will be working in your personal space. Make sure you like them. I mean, really like them.

• Discuss fees. Be perfectly clear on options. This can be a flat fee. A project fee. An hourly fee. Does the decorator charge a commission on purchases? Do they offer trade discounts? Once determined, have it confirmed in writing.

• Go with your instincts. They are usually right.

“We shape our homes and then our homes shape us.” – Winston Churchill

And if you find that you just can’t afford an interior decorator right now or in the near future, you can follow these four tips that will get you started and help you avoid mistakes:

• Buy the best sofa you can afford.

• Develop a plan for the entire room.

• Remember less is more. Before you exhaust yourself searching for accessories, look at the entire space and make a list. 

• Purge your home of what you don’t need or love before coming up with a plan. This will make the process more accurate and will keep you from buying something that you don’t really need.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home.  Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month and her Quick Tip appears on the third Saturday. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog