How do I know if I need an Interior Designer?

By Maria Dinshaw | Feb 2020


Kind of project and scope of work –

To understand if you need an interior designer, you need to start with an assessment of the scope of work involved. If the work to be done is complex and would involve co-ordination between multiple agencies you are better off with an interior designer. If you only want to freshen up your existing space, it may possible to manage this comfortably on your own.

Let us understand the different kinds of renovations as this would help you better understand where your project fits in –

  • Complete renovation

As an example, let’s say we have an apartment that was renovated about ten or fifteen years ago. This kind of space is nearing the end of its lifespan and it’s about time to completely rebuild the interior.

We would need to begin with demolishing the existing interior and assessing how our needs have evolved over the past one decade. These needs would impact the planning of the new space. This would require us to work out a new floor plan for the interior and the construction would then begin in line with the new plan.

Once we have the new plan in place we would then need to stitch together a new concept, which would drive the design of the space. This concept would need to be developed balancing your tastes and sensibilities together with the latest market trends.

Once you are fully satisfied with the concept, the interior would need to be designed in detail, including new electrical plans, plumbing plans, tiling drawings, reflected ceiling plans and many other construction documents. This is a very technical process done by experts using specialized software.

The culmination of this process is where you get to see your space in photorealistic 3D before it is built, which gives you the opportunity to consider all designs one final time before the construction begins.

The construction process for a complete renovation in itself is a highly complex process that requires multiple teams to work in conjunction with each other. This process would need to be tracked and supervised by a professional who would address issues as they arise, check to see if the construction is being carried out as per the approved drawing sets and also assess if timelines are being adhered to.

All things considered, a complete renovation is a very complex process that requires a team of skilled professionals with years of experience in the field of interior design. It is always advisable to hire a professional interior design firm when looking at a complete renovation such as the one in the example above. Attempting to execute a project such as this without help is not advisable and may lead to critical mistakes, extended timelines, monetary losses and needless heartache.

  • Complete fit-out

In the case of most brand new apartment complexes, a complete renovation is not necessary, as the builder has already provided the basic interior hard finishes. Though this varies from project to project depending upon the brand of the builder and the price points of the project in question, new apartment buildings will provide the buyer with the basics including doors and windows, flooring, basic electricals, ready to use bathrooms and in some cases kitchen platforms or modular kitchens.

Such apartments require what is called a complete fit-out. A complete fit-out would include among other things, all fitted carpentry items and loose furniture, wall treatments, false ceilings and lighting, décor and accessories and a kitchen in case that has not been provided or in case you would like to change the kitchen to something more premium than what has been provided by the builder as a standard.

For this kind of project, you would start with a basic furniture layout that would be based upon your needs and taste, which would then be followed by a concept/design presentation.

This concept presentation/ design presentation would need to consider, your tastes as well as the existing finishes that have been provided by the builder.

In the case of complete fit-outs again, there would be multiple agencies involved. The number of agencies involved would depend upon the extent of the fit-out. The more detailed the fit-out, the greater would be the number of agencies involved.

This process also requires a skilled team to design and manage the project and the agencies involved. Thus if it is a complete fit-out that you are looking for, you are probably better off appointing a professional interior design firm. This would give you a more cohesive look and feel, help you to keep a hold on the process and the budgets and also timelines.

  • Partial renovation

In some cases, you may want to renovate only a portion of your space. For example, you may want to renovate one bedroom and bathroom in your home. Taking the above example, you would still need to follow a few key steps to ensure a successful outcome.

You would need to begin by considering if there is any change in the use of the space and put together a look book accordingly. Given that this is a small project may choose to skip the 3D views and proceed directly from drawings and elevations.

Demolition and construction would then proceed on the basis of these drawings. Even though a partial renovation is a relatively small project it has many of the same elements as a complete renovation. Hence you may want to consider a skilled professional to help you execute the project. An interior designer or interior design firm would be able to guide you properly in the design and selection of materials as well as provide the necessary technical and on-site support that may be required by the construction team.

  • Interior styling and décor

In some cases, you may want to retain most of your interior and your furniture, but add items selectively to make your space look more stylish. In such a case you may opt to dress up the place yourself or hire an interior decorator/stylist to help you with your project.

Styling and decorating your own home can be a fun and rewarding experience and help you to connect with your own space on a more personal level. The anecdotes from your shopping and styling experience also make for a great conversation starter.

  • Mid-life refresh

If the existing interior is in good condition, not too old and is liked by you generally, you may opt for a mid-life refresh as opposed to a complete renovation. This will add a few years of life to your interior and make it look fresh and nice.

In such a case you could choose to switch out some old furniture pieces, recondition others, change all your soft furnishings, replace or add new rugs, replace or add new artworks, add a few new decorative lights and accessories, change veneers and laminates, apply wall-paper to a few walls, and finally paint the house and polish all the furniture and the floors if necessary. A mid-life refresh is a little more complicated than a styling project since it involves many elements that need to finally come together to create a united look. On account of the same, it may be advisable to reach out to an interior designer to understand your options and make the most informed decision.

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