By Christopher DeGroot
Their home is something people take very seriously. We work hard for our money, and a home costs a lot of money, so we naturally want to get every aspect of it right. Interior design, if not done right, can decrease the value of an otherwise excellent property. So here is what you need to know about interior design.
“The more information a consumer can supply to a designer,” says Joseph A. Berkowitz, of Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors Inc., in Penn Valley, PA, “the faster and better the project will be executed. There is a psychological aspect to this industry that requires an astute understanding of people.”
Basically, your designer needs to understand your style. He needs to get in your head and see through your eyes.
Knowing what you hate can be as helpful as knowing what you love. And since everyone cannot describe the new or refreshed style he may be hoping for, pictures of rooms, hotels, or restaurants that caught your eye are good tools for your design team. “I often look into my client’s closet (with their permission of course) to see what colors they wear,” says Berkowitz. “Defining your style goal is the best beginning.”
The wrong interior design can undermine even the finest architecture or exterior plan. The consumer will put a lot of money into the structure of his home. The interior design must complement that structure. It is an extension of the vision that will impact the value greatly. There is an expectation when someone enters your home, and it is the last impression that matters. People look at an exterior but they experience the interior.
Style is a very personal thing, but not everybody will be pleased by all styles. The homebuilder will want to find a middle ground when it comes to design, that will please as much of the public as possible. This will leave out extreme colors, exotic styles and avant-garde detail. The same goes for a homeowner hoping to sell his home. Neutrals are always the most appealing, so save the extreme for your wardrobe if resale is your main goal.
Everyone appreciates classic and understated, whether traditional or contemporary.
How can people go about hiring a quality interior designer? What should they look for in order to decide whether the interior designer is worth their investment? Berkowitz says to “look for creativity, personality and good business sense. Creativity is very important. Do not look for your home on a designer’s website; the works they feature are the result of someone else’s taste and desires.”
With respect to creativity Berkowitz thinks you should look for the following:
1. Good use of color. There is a definite skill to mixing color. It is one of the most important expressions of your personal style.
2. Space planning. The way furniture is laid out in a setting creates the space. It must relate to itself and to the architecture of your room. Scale and positioning are crucial.
3. Variety. A designer should be able to work in many styles since people vary in their tastes. No two clients want the same thing. You want to feel that your project was created for you!
In regard to personality, the relationship between you and your designer is personal, and it needs to be. You will discuss personal details. You will need to develop an understanding of each other. With that in mind you must feel comfortable with him or her. A good design process includes hard work, laughter, honesty, and hopefully an occasional drink to celebrate your hard work and wonderful results as they happen. You must be able to speak very comfortably about what you like and dislike with your designer. They should leave their ego at home.
Lastly, business sense: great design skills must be backed up by great business acumen. Money needs to be handled appropriately for each client. Funds cannot be comingled. Your designer should have some staff. There are tradesmen who need to be scheduled to do your project in a timely manner. There is merchandise that must be ordered and tracked. There is office work, and a human must answer the phone. Communication is vital. You must be kept in the loop and feel taken care of. A designer simply cannot manage all of that by himself.