"Budget Friendly Decorators" What Does that Really Mean??


Did any of you read Emily Clark's post on "budget friendly decorators" this week? If not, it is a must read for designers and clients.

I throughly enjoyed reading everyone's comments as well....I loved that many of the designers commented on the fact that clients sometimes expect that a room can be designed and installed in just a few weeks...but that is simply not the case. This is a very common misconception. Amanda Eck said it best: "Those rooms you see in magazines are not put together overnight and contrary to what we all see on TV with these "instant rooms" what we don't see is all the planning & running around behind the scenes to pull it together-there is usually a large team of people making it happen."

And while A Well Dressed Home is based on budget friendly design, I have come to the realization that can mean different things to different people. So let me break it down for you...

1. I always discuss budget in my initial consultation. Not only do we discuss estimates on furnishings, etc, I also give my clients an estimate on the number of hours it will take me to complete a room. It's important to realize that I do not bill for every single hour that I spend working on your project (I'd be sooooo rich!!). It is safe to assume that I bill approximately 1 hour for every 3 that I spend working on your design. Why? Because I spend countless hours obsessing over "is this the best option for this rug?" or "this fabric is to die for, but can I find something even better??" But that's my own doing...I won't submit a design until I feel 110% confident about it and in my opinion, clients shouldn't have to pay for the extra hours of my obsessing.

2. Most of my clients have a budget of less than $8-$9k per room, and this includes my fee. Clients with budgets closer to $8k are starting with a clean slate...no furniture, no accessories, no nothing. Those that have a budget of only $3-$4k usually have the big pieces, but are in need of the smaller pieces as well as rugs, lighting, accessories, etc.

3. If you are my client, I can guarantee that I will not come to you with outrageous pieces such as $1200 mirrors or $4000 rugs. The bottom line is this, if I wouldn't spend my own money on it, I wouldn't expect you to spend your money on it. I will never spec a piece for a client that I would not feel comfortable purchasing myself. And trust me, I am frugal when it comes to my home furnishings...I have to be, because I constantly feel the need to update and revamp my spaces.

The bottom line is this...a designer is an investment and you have to be the one to decide how much you are willing to invest. Online Design Boards are a fantastic way to have your space professionally designed on a smaller budget. However, if you have the financial resources, you might consider hiring a Designer to come into your home, design your space and do the leg work of buying and installing.

Either way, hiring a designer is a great investment...just be sure that you have an open line of communication with your Designer and set your financial boundaries up front. Not only will you achieve the look that you desire, you'll feel good about doing so within your financial means.