Shoppers Guide 101: 7 Steps to Making the Best Interior Design Buying Decisions
Have you ever walked into your favorite home furniture store or tile showroom and said “Oh my gosh, I love that! This would be perfect in my home…I’m taking it today!” Then you see the price and say “Well, maybe I’ll wait.” If that’s ever been you, raise your hand. Hahaha Lots of hands going up, right?! No worries, as consumers we’ve all been there before. Of course, we all want to get the best bang for our buck when it comes to hiring a professional or purchasing items for our home. Unfortunately, often times we talk ourselves out of utilizing a service or making a higher-priced purchase due to sticker shock.
As a 10-year vet in the decorating/design industry, I’ve seen my fair share of clients struggle with making the right buying decision. This led me to think of ways to help buyers understand and feel more comfortable when starting the process of hiring an interior designer or making decorating/design related purchases. Design, though an intricate and specified service, is meant to be fun and the purchases needed to transform your space can make a lot more sense when you learn the correct reasons behind specifying them.
These next few steps will hopefully help and inspire you to re-think how you can create the perfect living environment that will change the look of your space and cultivate how you and your family live. Join me as I share my 7 Steps to Making the Best Interior Design Buying Decisions!
Browse First: The World Wide Web is the perfect place for sourcing local designers, finding room inspirations, learning furniture styles & options and discovering unique accessories. Visit sites like Pinterest and Instagram to find all sorts of room inspiration and ideas.
Pin, Like and Follow: Once you find your flow of viewing your favorite décor site or designer page, be sure to PIN, LIKE and FOLLOW the page to keep up on the latest info. Many great sales and specials are marketed only on social media sites.
Measure, Measure, Measure: One of the first, and most important steps, of beginning any design project is Space Planning. Space Planning allows you to see how furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) will fit in your space properly. A good rule of thumb is to have the dimensions of your space (including niches, bookshelves, furniture etc.) handy before you head out to shop or meet with a design professional. To find your room’s measurements, simply take a tape measure and measure the Length + Width of your room (wall-to-wall). For open floor plans, measure the “usable space” (the space where most of your furniture will be placed). If you’re lucky enough to have the dimensioned builder plans, take those with you, it will save a lot of time!
Create a virtual or actual Look Book: Utilize sites like Houzz, Pinterest and others to create look-books or just make an old-fashioned scrapbook. Save or clip pictures of things that inspire you and showcase the style that you would like for your space. Inspiration pictures are great to have when looking for advice from salespeople or an interior design specialist.
Take a Test “Drive”: Go out and look at, sit in and touch desired items before committing to purchasing. Like the old saying goes, “never go to the grocery store hungry”, it’s also a good idea to NOT go furniture/furnishing shopping when you need it ASAP.
Plan a Budget: Planning a general budget ahead of time can save you lots of headaches and money in the long run. Here’s a good example: if you are in need of a kitchen remodel, it wouldn’t hurt to receive quotes from at least three local, qualified contractors to discuss basic remodeling needs. A low-budget kitchen remodel can typically start at a minimum of $25,000.00-$30,000.00, so it’s likely that $5,000.00-$10,000.00 won’t be enough to do a full kitchen remodel (replace floors, move appliances, paint, add lighting & furniture etc.). Having some numbers will help you understand costs better when you sit down with an interior designer to discuss and plan the full scope of your project (layout, materials, paint, furniture etc.). P.S. these are all things that a General Contractor cannot effectively help you with.
Consult with a Pro: If you’ve tried, tried and tried some more to do it on your own, but just can’t pull it all together, don’t give up! Most designers offer low-cost consultations that will help you get started. Reach out to a local designer for consulting or full-service design help. You’ll thank yourself in the end.
R J Clifton Designs
Design Outside the Lines