6 Reasons Why an Interior Designer Saves You Money

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 an interior designer saves 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.

how an interior designer saves you money

Before we go into how an interior designer saves 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.

Why an interior designer saves you money

  • 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 an interior designer saves you money!

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. Avoid that sinking feeling with an interior designer that saves you money.

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!

how an interior designer saves you money

3) Discounted services and materials

One of the surest ways an interior designer saves you money is with 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 pay less. Clever, isn’t it?

room makeover

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. Therefore, you won’t ever have something installed only to find that a better version is about to render yours obsolete next month.

how an interior designer saves you money

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. So, the interior designer saves you money and 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.

summer christmas tree

I hope that this has shed some light on the myth that interior designers are expensive. Your home is an investment. The right interior designer saves you money while helping you create 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!

PS: the gorgeous feature image was taken at  Woodbender‘s new showroom in Strand. Just one of the many suppliers we LOVE to work with! g

Simple Scandinavian Ladder

I never throw away cut-offs and wood scraps! They have a special place in my small backyard, where they often prove to be little treasure troves of pain, especially when feet find them. But they are treasures nonetheless; throw-away scraps are perfect for odd jobs, and their size and shape largely dictate what you can do with them; which is how this ladder came into the world.

This ladder is not the most original DIY, but it is practical and pretty. Initially, I left it unpainted, but when I saw this West Elm version, I was convinced white paint had to be part of my ladder.

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY DECORATIVE LADDER

Difficulty: easy

Time: 1 hour without drying between paint coats

 

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 x 35mmx35mmx3.0m timber battens
  • 16 wood screws
  • Cold wood glue like Alcolin, or a strong wood bonding glue
  • white water-based paint
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape

TOOLS FOR THE JOB:

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • A piece of sandpaper (or electric sander)
  • Screwdriver
  • Paintbrush
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

STEP 1:

rustic decorative adder

Measure and cut battens to 2x 1.5m pieces for the legs and 4x 0.5m pieces for the rungs.

Pro tipUse a carpenter’s square to ensure the pieces are cut perfectly square. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a wonky ladder.

STEP 2:

make a ladder

Sand down the pieces to the desired smoothness. I only sanded the edges, because I wanted a rougher texture.

STEP 3:

vintage ladder

Mark the positions of the rungs on the sides of the legs: I spaced mine 300mm apart. Remember that the rung will sit in the middle of the measurement. Drill two pilot holes for each rung, one a little higher than the other. This will prevent the wood from splitting and will ensure a stronger hold.

STEP 4:

wood ladder

Put a drop of cold glue on the edges of a rung, wait a few seconds, and press it against the inside of the leg where you drilled the pilot holes. Move the wood against each other until you feel the hold securing. Use your carpenter’s square to ensure a 90-degree angle.

STEP 5:

diy storage ladder

Fix the two screws in place for each rung and then allow the cold glue to dry.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each rung until your ladder is complete.

STEP 6:

timber ladder

(If you want a smoother finish, now would be the time to sand!) Use painters tape to demarcate the areas the be painted. I measured 20cm from the outside leg.

STEP 7:

make your own storage ladder

Paint the sectioned area of the ladder. Allow to dry between coats until you’re happy with the finish. Lightly sand in between coats if you want a smooth modern appearance.

Pro tip: Brush away from the painter’s tape, to avoid the paint bleeding. And don’t use too much paint.😉

STEP 8:

Remove masking tape. I love this part – it’s stressful and exciting!

Optional: Apply a clear sealant or treat the exposed wood. Wait to dry…and you’re done!

DIY storage ladder 2

Congratulations! You are now the owner of a self-made Nordic-style ladder ready to hang your towels or blankets! Well done!

Happy DIYing!