Consider this your official inside information on the typical interior design project.
Working with an interior designer can do wonders for your space and truly transform it. But what you need to remember is that an interior design project is a collaborative effort – between yourself, the designer, and various tradespeople (like builders, suppliers and so on).
Which is why there are some truths, secrets and pain points about the interior design process that every designer wishes you to know, but may not want to tell you in person for fear of scaring you off.
However, as a responsible interior designer in Bangladesh, we are ready to reveal these to you, as we feel it is important for you to know all the facts so you will have realistic expectations about your interior design project.
So, here are 12 interior design truths that you should know.
We need time to finish your project
Here are a couple of truths for you about any interior design project:
- Can a designer rush through a design, for example churning out a design idea in 48 hours?
- Yes they can.
- Will the design idea be well-planned, innovative and done as you had discussed during your consultation?
- No, it won’t.
Interior design is a creative process that requires the designer to digest all the intricate requirements that you have discussed with them, figure out your preferences and styles based on the discussions, and then plan the design accordingly.
Creativity and innovation take time.
As we have also discussed in our post on a typical interior design project timeline, the design process takes 1-2 months, sometimes more.
By giving us this time, you’ll be ensuring an awesome design for yourself.
We may not be able to start on your project immediately
Please understand that good interior designers are always booked months in advance.
Speaking personally, we’ve had to turn away quite a few clients as there were just too many projects in the queue when they enquired with us.
So, don’t delay! If you want to work with a designer on a project, book a consultation with them right away!
Holiday season is always a busy time for us
A design project will involve various interior design professionals, and tradespeople (contractors, subcontractors and suppliers) coordinating and working as a team.
Around the holidays most of them will become very busy, as good professionals and tradespeople are wanted by many clients.
So, always try to start the work during non-holiday periods of the year (the first 1-2 months of a year and summer).
Sometimes, “lead time” is beyond our control
First of all, what is lead time?
The simplest explanation is that lead time is the time it takes for a contractor to deliver on an order.
For example, if we (the interior designer) have placed an order for a certain flooring material, the time it takes for the supplier to deliver the flooring material to the site is the lead time for that material.
When we discuss the project timeline estimate with you, we do account for lead times.
However, sometimes the actual lead time becomes larger (that is, it takes longer for the contractor/subcontractor to deliver on an order) than we had planned for due to circumstances beyond our control.
For example, a particular material may be out of stock. Or the contractor could be facing labour issues.
If we try to rush them, you may not get the best quality work. So, it’s always better to give some consideration for lead times getting extended and delaying the project.
We’re trained in every aspect of the design process
You may not know this, but we interior designers have to give exams and earn certain degrees and accreditations to be able work as a designer.
Always check for a designer’s educational qualifications, professional certifications and industry affiliations before you decide to work with them.
We can use tech tools to help you visualise your new home
Every interior designer will know how to use tools like AutoCad for space planning, codes, and other important aspects of the design process.
These tools and training allow the designer to visualise your space better and plan & render the design in such a way that you can understand exactly what they’re offering.
One aspect of this is, of course, consulting with clients outside our home town/city. For example, even though we are a Dhaka-based interior design company (as of now), we can consult with clients in Sylhet, Rajshahi and Chittagong and offer interior design plans.
Looking for a designer in Bangladesh? For certain projects we may be willing to travel elsewhere; to know more about that, get in touch!
We’d prefer to work with contractors and subcontractors of our choice
When we’re dealing with a team of contractors/workers that we know, giving directions about anything from moving an interior wall to doing a kitchen remodel is much easier and we are sanguine that our directions will be followed.
Having a proper budget is important
The budget is one of the most important aspects of an interior design project plan. And it’s also the aspect about which both designers and clients are touchy.
Here’s our advice: Always be upfront about your budget expectations.
The budget guides us on important questions like what brand to use, what quality the furnishings and colours should be, what the scope of the project is and so on.
Here are three aspects of an interior design project budget that you should be aware of:
Design fees are different from the supply costs
Here’s an easy way to understand the difference:
- Most supplies are goods that come in packages with price stickers attached. With the price mentioned clearly, clients feel sanguine they are getting what they paid for.
- Design is a service. It doesn’t come in packages, there is no price sticker and the fees can vary depending on the project.
And while there may be some unscrupulous people out there, most designers (including us) are responsible and will offer you a level of service that matches our fees.
We are not looking for ways to inflate the budget
We truly aren’t.
A price has to be paid for quality.
For example, the cost of furnishing a new home can go up to anywhere between 10% to 30% of your purchase price.
That may appear excessive to some people, especially people new to working with interior designers and room decorators, but it is what it is.
Of course, if we are able to get you better deals on supplies and lower the cost, we will do it. We’ll take a look at supply networks and price deals in a while.
We can design/consult for your entire home or even a single room
This is true for every responsible designer, including us.
While our interior design portfolio mostly features large-scale, whole-home design projects, we are willing to work on smaller-scale projects with smaller budgets (including single room projects).
There’s no such thing as “little things” in room design
There are no ‘little things’ in interior design that can be skipped or done later, if you’re looking for maximum design impact on your space.
For example, during a room decor project, we have found that some of our clients remain very anxious about the main pieces of furniture like sofas, tables and chairs; but lose focus and urgency when it comes to the smaller ones and accessories, like cushions, mirrors, rugs and vases.
In such cases, it’s important to remember that the ‘little things’ like smaller pieces of furniture and accessories have to both match the larger ones they are complementing and also blend into the room design as a whole.
Your designer can help with that, and ensure your room is warm and inviting.
The most affordable way to transform your space is paint
Every designer has their own style.
As a lot of interior design is completely creative, every designer will offer you different plans and ideas on how to transform your space.
Most designers agree about the power of paint. It will often be the cheapest among the supplies we’re getting for your design project, but it’s also one of the most effective ways of impacting your space, and creating new and unique moods.
Even better: if you don’t like how a paint job is looking, all you need to do is buy a new pot of paint and change things over.
Good fabric can be expensive; but worth it
And one of the best ways of creating texture in your rooms is to get good fabrics.
While paints are one of the most affordable ways of impacting your room design, good quality fabrics can be a bit expensive.
In our experience, buying fabrics can be on the expensive side for three main reasons:
- One, a certain premium has to be paid for the quality.
- Two, often you’ll need long lengths, for example, window curtain fabrics may need to be over twice the width of the window.
- Three, you want the end product to be luxurious and full-looking, which increases fabric requirements.
Clients are sometimes suspicious about the amount and cost of fabrics that we put into the estimates; this should clear up the confusion about that.
You need multiple points of light in your room
Proper lighting is essential for a space to live up to its full design potential. It’s why we always try to create multiple points of light in a room.
It’s why we try to come up with window solutions that balance natural light with privacy (natural light can be one more point/source of lighting).
Apart from the main lighting in a room, you should opt for:
- Task lighting, which is lighting for specific tasks (such as a table or pedestal lamp for reading books), and…
- Highlight lighting, which is lighting for highlighting specific objects (like a painting) or areas (such as a bookcase), in your room.
- Mood lighting, which is used solely for setting the mood. Dimmer switches can prove very useful for this purpose.
In short, the point of lighting in interior design is not just to provide illumination but also to set the mood inside a space, and you should keep that in mind when discussing your project with the interior designer.
Snags can, and do, crop up in every home design project
Like I mentioned before, there are always some factors that are beyond the designers’, and even the contractors’ and the suppliers’ control.
For example, some industry watchers say that a third of furniture that is transported from showroom/warehouse to clients will require repairs once it reaches.
What is good news for you is that your designer should be able to fix the issue. It may take a bit of extra time and/or expense but we will be able to get the repair done.
Tip: If you go for a designer offering in-house furniture design (like we have), the repairs will happen faster.
Buying everything from the same shop is not a good idea
Remember, a home is not a showroom. A home should have personality and a human touch.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons shopping your own home (looking to repurpose items that you already have) is such a good home decor idea.
That’s why getting all your furniture and accessories from the same shop is not a good idea. It will lead to your home lacking energy and warmth.
Always keep your eye out for good furniture and accessory pieces, and accumulate them as best as you can.
We can’t share all sourcing and pricing details with you
Yes, we will always get the best deal that we can for you, in terms of material, furniture and other supply costs.
But we can’t share all our sourcing and pricing details publicly, or even with you.
One reason is that some vendors offer different deals to different designers (depending on personal equations, order value, frequency of orders and so on); so they don’t want them to be public knowledge.
Another reason is that these pricing deals are themselves dependent on market conditions and can fluctuate wildly. It would be incredibly time-consuming to have to keep updating all these changes, and also an explanation of why the changes happened.
A third reason is client privacy. Many clients would not want everyone to know how much they spent on a particular design job.
Things your interior designer wants you to know – a final word
In short, interior design is a time-consuming and collaborative process. Sometimes, your project may not go according to plan due to factors beyond the designer’s control.
However, the designer will always do their best to give you the best possible value for your money, including getting you the best deals in terms of supply costs.
And you should always book a consultation at the earliest, as we are always having several projects in queue.