Mastering interior design for your home

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BBC2’s Interior Design Masters is inspiring the nation when it comes to transforming space and décor.

Presented by Fearne Cotton, the TV contest pits 10 designers against one another to overhaul a range of commercial premises in team and individual challenges.

Working to a brief and understanding their clients’ needs is vital, while at the same time refusing to compromise on their individual style and skills.

If the hit show has given you the bug, you might be considering calling a designer to give your own home the once-over.  Here are our top tips on hiring in help.

 

  1. Set a budget

 

First decide on a budget for your entire room or home transformation, which will include furniture, fittings, materials and labour. You’ll then need to choose how much of this to allocate to your designer. 

Avoid wasting your own time, and that of anyone you contact, by whittling down any designers which are definitely out of your price range.  This will also avoid embarrassment further down the line.

 

  1. Get recommendations

 

What better way to have confidence in the person or company you hire than by knowing they’ve done a great job for a friend, family member, or even a local business.  If there’s a nearby shop or café whose interior you admire, ask them who did the scheme for them.  They’ll be flattered that you love their style and the designer themselves will be glad that their hard work is getting noticed.

 

  1. Look online

 

There is now more opportunity than ever before to find your dream designer.  Apps such as Pinterest and Instagram are perfect thanks to their visual focus, and Facebook can be great for checking out customer reviews.

Try searching for relevant hashtags and make sure to ‘follow’ your favourites so you’ll be the first to see new posts. Hashtags focusing on your local area will narrow down your search to companies and individuals who work nearby.

 

  1. Create a clear brief

 

Any interior designer will need to work from your brief and the clearer you can make it, the better result you will achieve.  Think about what you want from the space – is it an area for the family to gather of an evening?  Is it a haven for entertaining?  Does it need sectioning for different purposes?

Be clear on what you like and don’t like to give your designer an insight into your personal tastes and tell them what it is about their own style which drew you to contact them.

Also make a list of furniture, fittings and accessories which have to stay, and those which can be let go, so your designer can work around these. 

Sharing a Pinterest board or online drive of reference images is also a really useful place to start.

 

  1. Be clear on expectations

 

Your designer will either charge a set fee for the job or bill you by the hour, so make sure both parties know what to expect.

Do you want your designer to simply plan the scheme, or are you looking for them to project manage the transformation?  Will their role include sourcing and purchasing products and booking any tradespeople?  All of these elements will have a significant impact on cost, as well as the time it takes to complete your makeover.  It may be worth asking your designer if they offer standard packages which include set services, as this may offer great value and a useful starting point for your planning.