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Envision your perfect bathroom or kitchen. What kinds of cabinets and plumbing fixtures would it have? Would it be traditional, contemporary, modern—or your own personal style? Would it feature technology, or would it take on old-world characteristics?
No matter what kind of room you imagined, it’s important to be able to transform that dream into reality. That’s where a professional interior designer comes in. An interior designer has the education, artistic vision, and experience necessary to ensure that your finished room is as beautiful as it is functional.
Have you been considering hiring an interior designer, but aren’t sure what that entails? We spoke to Kelley Dunn, an ASID-allied interior design instructor at the College of DuPage , for answers to homeowner’s common questions about interior designers.
Whereas many of us are skilled at planning out room designs in our head, interior designers have the professional training and experience in how to bring a design to life. They have a good understanding of required clearances and harmonious layouts, blending science and art. Detailed baths and kitchens, in particular, benefit from an interior designer’s touch.
“There’s a lot of technical information involved in putting together a room. If something is ordered incorrectly, such as tile quantities, that could hold up remodeling for several months,” says Kelley.
Before you begin the search for the perfect designer, start by figuring out what styles you’re aiming for. “It’s important that homeowners know what they want before selecting a designer. Before designers sit down with their clients, many of them ask homeowners to go on Houzz.com and create an ideabook. The more information the designer has access to, the better,” says Kelley.
Kelley also recommends researching designers to find your match. “Homeowners should look at a designer’s portfolio, call their provided references, and ask about their fee structure. Each design firm handles projects in a different way, so you’ll want to ask a lot of questions about how their design process works before making a final selection.”
“It depends,” says Kelley. “Some design firms will first consult with you regarding your design needs, and will then suggest a builder/remodeler or contractor that they think will be able to provide you with the results you’re looking for. Some designers work independently, and will either contact an external builder/remodeler or contractor or work with one you have lined up. Different designers have different fee structures, so make sure to ask your designer about that! Also, make sure to have a clear contract in case any issues should arise.”
An interior designer blends their creative talent with technical solutions to create a functional, beautiful space. An interior decorator adorns the space with beautiful furnishings, but does not have the licensing to adhere to building codes and regulations. Interior designers go through training and education in order to gain the technical knowledge needed to design a well-coordinated room.
Certification amongst interior designers varies. You should look for certifications that match your needs. For example, an interior designer with a CAPS certificate from the American Society of Interior Designers is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. Other designers may have credentials from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) that focus on different specialties. You should look for an interior designer that matches your needs, whether they be lighting design or bath design.
The interior designer should be the first trade professional with whom you consult, according to Kelley. “You want to get the interior designer involved as early as possible; before you meet with anyone else. That way, the designer can provide the builder/remodeler or contractor with all the plans and technical specifications needed for the design.”
Hiring an interior designer can help you transform your dream bathroom or kitchen into reality. On the hunt for an interior designer? Visit a Crawford Supply Group website for Illinois, Michigan, or Pennsylvania and visit “Locate a Trade Professional” under the Homeowners section.