Tag Archives: interior design blog

Working Remotely with an Interior Designer

As interior designers, working remotely isn’t a new thing. There are plenty of occasions when we work via video conferencing, email and text. Clients may have a vacation home, while some have several homes in different States or even countries! Another example is when we work from blueprints and use our fertile imaginations for those clients building a new home and want to make their décor purchases prior to move-in. In all these examples the designer is working without actually being in the home they are decorating.

In this unprecedented time when the majority of us are staying in place and working from home, you might think that your decorating project has to be put on hold. At a time when your home is so important, sprucing it up or starting a complete makeover is just what you need to keep your spirits up. There is plenty that can be done from the comfort and safety of your own home. This blog lets you know what you can expect when working remotely.

Find a designer who has a virtual design process
Call your designer and ask if they can work on your project with video conferencing and remote design presentations. Milestones to discuss will be:

  • Initial consultation
  • Design Presentations
  • Viewing fabric/rug samples
  • Installation of furniture, soft furnishings and décor items

First steps
The initial phone call or video chat gives you the opportunity to discuss the important aspects of your project:

  • Design objectives
  • Style and color
  • Functionality
  • Any limitations or constraints
  • How you live in your home
  • Budget

Your first communication with the designer should allow you to assess whether you would like to move forward. This is a relationship built on trust and will become a true partnership as you and the designer work on your home.

Learn your design style
If you haven’t worked with an interior designer before you may feel a little apprehensive. There is no need to be. Your designer understands the process and will lead you through it, from initial selections to the final reveal.

If you are unsure about a style for your home, finding inspirational images is a great start and will help both you and the designer. Your interior designer will want to know specific things you like about the images: color palette, décor style, architectural elements, furniture choices, and functionality. Whether you prefer a more traditional style, a farmhouse vibe or a contemporary space, knowing how to discuss your style will make for more productive conversations with your interior designer.

Along with style, think about your lifestyle too. Are you casual or formal? Do you prefer rustic or polished finishes? What colors do you gravitate to? Which metallic finishes do you prefer? If you are unsure, your designer will help you narrow down the choices by finding out what you don’t like!

Floor plans and photographs
To get started on your interior design project the interior designer needs to see the space and get dimensions for furniture placement and traffic. If you have blueprints or floorplans of your home this step will be easy. If not, your designer can help you draw a rough floorplan and take accurate measurements. The floorplan should include any doors and windows, and show which way they open.

Just as important will be taking a video or multiple photographs to give a clear image of what the space looks like. We recommend taking photographs from all four corners, separate photos of windows, and any furniture pieces you may want to keep. Take the photos during the day when the room has the most light. Make note of any problem areas such as harsh sun on rugs and furniture, or issues with traffic patterns.

Relax and enjoy the journey
Once you’ve done your part and the designer has the information they need, it’s time to enjoy the process. You will be taken through the remainder of the design process until reaching your goal of a beautifully transformed space that you will love.

Written for Decorating Den Interiors.

Spring blog for Decorating Den Interiors

Spring Preparations

As an interior designer my focus is usually inside but the thought of Spring pulls me outside like a moth is drawn to a flame, and I find my spirits lifting and immediately feel better. But we can’t always be outside so let’s focus a little on how we can improve our inside environment.

Fresh Air Inside and Out

I am sitting writing on what is to be the warmest day so far this year and even though it’s early morning I have opened all the windows. Not only can I smell the fresh air coming in but now I can hear the birds too. A reminder that life is happening everywhere, even outside!

Some may say that they can’t go outside because of seasonal allergies but we often create far more allergic situations inside. It has been a known fact for some time that new homes are sealed tight so it stands to reason that we should be careful with our indoor air quality.

Here are a few things you can be doing now:

  • Bring in a professional technician to check your central air system for leaking hoses, dirty air filters (you should change these at least quarterly if not more often) and to check if the system needs refrigerant. Regular maintenance will save money in the long run.
  • If allergies are a concern, or if you suspect mold in your home, call an indoor air quality professional who can evaluate and assess your needs. You may not think this is necessary but according to the Environmental Protection Agency over fifty percent of illness is caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Consider contacting an HVAC professional or environmental energy to run a home energy audit. This will show things like where you need insulation, if your windows are leaking, whether appliances are leeching power, and much more.
lots of natural light and a beautiful crystal chandelier for evenings and dull days.

Natural Light

Clients often wonder why we insist on daytime appointments to see their homes for the first time. They’re thinking of having to leave work early and how inconvenient it is but to interior designers and decorators, lighting is one of the first things on our minds and we need to evaluate your home in daylight hours.

This important part of the design process happens at the same time as the floor plan is developed. You may have heard that a room needs several layers of light and if executed correctly a lighting plan will establish a warm and inviting atmosphere while simultaneously addressing specific needs for the tasks you wish to accomplish.

Some methods of increasing natural light into your home are more obvious such as by adding larger windows or skylights, but a cost effective way to achieve the same thing is by adding a solar light tube which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the living space.

Reverse Your Rooms

During a recent project a client complained how her family room was very dreary with little natural light.  It was truly a dismal room and only cheered up in the evening when it would suddenly become brightly lit and attractive due to a great lighting plan!

The solution was to swap with a bonus room over the garage that was only being used as a guest room. The best thing about the bonus room was that it has windows on two sides and gets light for most of the day. This simple change has made a huge difference and the client now has a light, airy family room with no need for artificial light during the day, and a darker bedroom where guests can lie in undisturbed.

light control with shutters and concealed lighting

So coming back to the layers of light you need in your home and lets ask why we need multiple light sources.  Lighting is generally broken up into three distinct layers; ambient, task and accent. These layers add depth and dimension to each room and are achieved with overhead or ceiling lights, wall lights or sconces, and table lamps. In addition, use specialty lighting for illuminating wall art, bookcases or statuary.

Artificial Light

To assess your needs write down all the ways you want to use the space and the tasks you want to accomplish such as reading, sewing, or doing homework. What is the room like in daylight? Are there dark corners? Does it work well at night? Draw up a rough floorplan with furniture placement and then mark where you think light is needed. Use it as a road map to produce multiple light sources that will give even light throughout the room and create a warm, comfortable environment.

If you are building a new home, work with your architect, builder or designer on the lighting plan well in advance of the actual construction as once walls have been dry walled it is an expensive exercise to retrofit additional lighting.

This Spring, really think about how you live and try for balance. Improve your lifestyle with additional lighting inside the home, ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently, but most of all make time to be outside enjoying natural sunlight and breathing fresh air.

Written for Decorating Den Interiors.