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6 reasons why having an interior designer can save you money

Blogger Germarie Bruwer of Homeology gives six ways an interior designer can help turn your house into a dream home without you spending a fortune. 

Interior designer
A couple talking to an interior designer / iStock

According to trend expert Li Edelkoort, our homes and the way we live in them are becoming increasingly important. The idea of the home as a haven away from the daily onslaught of modern life is more prominent than ever. We are more prone to entertaining at home and spending time at home than before. Most people feel that they are not able to afford a professional to help them make the most of their home. But what if I told you that a having a designer can save you money while creating a beautiful home environment?

All the pressures of beautiful homes in magazines, home tours on blogs and makeover shows on TV can make you feel that you lack in some way. Everyone has their strengths, and for an interior designer, that is being able to visualise a space and bring it to its full potential. Even if you do know how to put a colour scheme and textiles together and have a natural feel for the right layout, you can still benefit from having a trained eye assess your home.

Before we go into how an interior designer can save you money, let’s first look at how a designer charges you for their services. 

Let me start by saying that there are no hard and fast rules on this. While every country’s interior design governing body gives guidelines on reasonable rates, it doesn’t mean that designers have to apply them. Some celebrity designers may charge a fortune only to go to a client’s house and give a few ideas, but not all designers have quite reached that level of fame yet. 

Most designers will work in one of four ways:

Hourly rate

If the project is quite small and requires a few minor adjustments and some technical drawings, your designer might charge you an hourly rate. This can range from R400ph – R1,200ph or more, depending on their level of skill and availability.

Project fee

When there is little or no procurement involved in a project, your designer might suggest a project fee related to a fixed scope. This might be something like layout and services drawings and specs for your kitchen and bathroom, and overseeing the installation or project management. The designer will then quote a flat rate for the work to be done. There is no real guideline on how much this should be, but it is usually related to how much time they think they will need to spend on getting it done.

Percentage of Project Cost

If the project involves a lot of procurement, then your designer will likely propose a percentage fee for purchases. There can be a lot of back-and-forths when it comes to choosing curtains and upholstery fabrics, paint and finishes, which means a lot of time spent. The designer gets a discount on most purchases (see notes below) and will charge you either the retail price plus a handling fee or the discounted price plus a handling fee. The exact details of this can be discussed on appointment.

A Smorgas Board of all of these

As I said, there are no hard and fast rules! Many designers prefer a combination of all of these: an initial fee for concept and design, a project cost fee for procurement and project management, and an hourly rate for anything that falls outside of the original scope. It is best to be very clear with your designer when you start the project, and also to have a clear contract that stipulates everything that forms part of the project. A clearly defined scope and fee structure will help to protect you both.

 So now that you know how a designer will charge, let’s look at how they can save you money!

ALSO READ: The six steps to making your own patchwork bathroom tiles

 1) A designer can help you to avoid costly mistakes

You know that sinking feeling when that GORGEOUS sofa in the showroom arrives at home, and it can’t fit through the door? Or that imported carpet is laid down in the living room and what you thought is soft coral is actually bright orange? There you go. Designers will help you to avoid that sinking feeling.

2) The Technical Details Get Taken Care of

A designer’s value is not only relevant to the furniture and its placement in a room. The correct electrical layout and plumbing positioning is also crucial in getting the most out of your home. A trained designer understands the technical jargon of the contractors on a job site. This makes them a valuable asset on your project. They will help you to think through the uses of the room to create the optimal layout for all components involved. That way you won’t have an extension cord to power a table lamp from the other side of the room!

3) Discounted services and materials

Designers get what is called a designer’s discount. This is a special rate that most specialist retailers of homeware, fabric, and related services offer to designers as an incentive to specify them on their projects. The discounts can range from 5 – 50%, depending on the retailer. Some designers do open invoicing. This is where they charge the client their discounted rate, plus a handling fee of between 8 – 13%. I go into more detail on that below. Designers can also be registered as contractors with hardware stores, enabling them to purchase building materials at a reduced rate.

So, by paying someone to help you source goods for your home, you actually save money. Clever, isn’t it?!

4) The Latest and the Greatest

This might not seem like a cost-saving, but designers are regularly invited to trade-only product launches and events. This allows them to be at the forefront of new advances and technology in their field. You will therefore not have something installed only to find a better version is about to render yours obsolete next month.

5) Time is – TOTALLY – money

Everyone wants more time and more money. The amount of time a designer can spend on a project is staggering. It can take days to put together a concept and a layout and do the detail design and technical drawings. Then they still have to find that perfect sofa, get the right fabrics, and try out different paint swatches. They also communicate with contractors and suppliers and spend their time with you to bring your vision to life. They are saving you the time that you would have spent doing all of that. 

6) Pre-Qualified Contractors

A designer is only as good as their last project, so it is in their best interest to only use contractors, tradesmen, and artisans that they trust. By allowing them to use and manage their own list of professionals you are set up for a beautiful result.

I hope that this has shed some light on the myth that interior designers are expensive. Your home is an investment, and the right designer can help you create both a financial and lifestyle asset. Contact me here to find out more about our interior design services, whether for a single room or an entire home!

For more inspiring home content, check out homeology.co.za

Image courtesy of iStock/ Wavebreakmedia

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