Your home is a place that reflects your personal style, where you spend a lot of time, and where you should feel comfortable. Like anything that matters, finding the right interior design service requires some research. To help solve these problems and a host of others, many turn to interior designers for advice. "It makes a lot of sense to have a competent interior designer on board. As with any other subject matter, the knowledge, awareness and expertise of the client's needs have to be supported by the professional expertise of a designer who deals with the subject matter on a daily basis," says Adetee Sawhaney, principal designer, Altus Luxury Living.
A good designer can help homeowners achieve the right balance while designing their homes by ensuring that the essential elements of a home - furniture, furnishing, lighting, painting and decor - work in tandem. "A good interior designer helps weave these five elements around the lifestyle of the family. The crucial part is the knowledge and skills that the designer brings in around these elements and her capability to understand the clients and their requirements," says Nandita Manwani, founder, The Studio.
However, more often than not, homeowners get fixated on interiors that may not suit their home. It is here that interior designers can help by bringing in a mix of creative and technical skills along with insights into the latest trends.
"With an interior designer, everything from ideation to execution to implementation gets a professional touch," says Ramakant Sharma, co-founder & CTO, Livspace. What more, he or she will consider your lifestyle, assess the space your home has, will deliberate on the options available, and develop a plan that will suit your needs.
To do this, the interior designer and homeowner need to work together. "This collaboration helps the homeowner and interior designer come up with a design that is cosy, comfortable, rustic, and serene, or any design that the homeowner desires," says Mansi Desai, principal interior designer and founder, Mansi Desai â€“ Interior Designer & Decorators.
By working together, the design can be made unique. "A good design needs to reflect the personality of the person staying there. For example, a dancer or a musician would love to have an ethnic theme in their home. So, the home will have a lot of Indian artefacts in their house," elaborate Aakansha Arya and Ravindra Tambat, founding partners, Umber Frame Studio.
With these in mind, how does one choose the right interior designer for their home? With many of them having an online presence, it has become easier for homeowners to choose. So, go online and view some of the pictures they may have put up of their past projects to see if they align with your taste. "It also makes sense to meet the designer in person, and have a one-on-one discussion in order to understand how far their aesthetics and work methodology appeals to the client," says Adetee. Since design is subjective, it is imperative that the designer and homeowner communicate their ideas to establish what will work best.
During your discussion, it is important that the scope of work, budget and your preferences are discussed in depth. This allows you to have an idea of the designs that you are comfortable with, and ensure that the pricing is transparent. "Additionally, knowing the budget can help the interior designer choose the right materials, accessories and lighting among others while keeping in mind vaastu preferences, themes, colours and any specific space planning requirement," says Aakansha. Among these, it is important that the homeowner outlines the scope of work clearly. If this is communicated clearly, designing the home can become easier along with planning and execution.
Clearing the air
As building a home is a very personal experience and something that families do only once or twice in their lifetime, it is vital that the interior designer spends some time with the family to understand their needs, their lifestyle and how different parts of the house will be used. "In this light, the designer should interact with the specific member of the family who would occupy a given space in the home. For example, for the kids' room, it is important to talk to the kids to understand their hobbies," says Nandita. Hence, every home needs to have a design that is personalised to the user and must go beyond just catering to their aesthetic taste and preferences.
However, despite the value that an interior designer can bring in, a few are still wary of hiring one as they are sceptical about the output during the design process. "This makes it imperative for the designer to employ a visualisation tool to bridge the gap between the designer's concepts and the client's understanding," says Deepanjana Chandra, chief designer, SpaceCrafts Home Interiors.
One of the main misconceptions people have about interior designers is that they have to spend more. However, this is not the case as designers can help homeowners design a house of any size depending on one's budget. "The final goal of an interior designer is to improve the user experience by managing the space available in the intervened environment," adds Mansi.
The other misconception that homeowners have is that furnishing and designing homes on their own is a doable task. However, the task is far more complex than it seems. "Even if homeowners know what designs they prefer, procuring raw materials, and all elements such as furniture, decor, hiring labour, ensuring quality, monitoring the whole project, etc, is a mammoth task. With professional help, step-by-step planning becomes faster and better, refining or bouncing ideas on the fly are a breeze," says Ramakant.
Understanding the role that interior designers play and having a clear idea of what their budget and requirements are can help homeowners overcome these misconceptions. After all, a home is a space we interact with every day. "A well thought out design simplifies life. It is not just important, it is what everyone deserves. A good design defines the way we enjoy the space and boosts the quality of living," says Deepanjana.