There’s a saying that whether by design or accident, a perfectly put-together interior gets up to greet you as you walk in. Serendipitous as that may be, the truth is it probably has plenty to do with purposeful design and decoration, and very little to do chance.
If you’re planning interior renovations that involve structural changes or additions, an interior designer is the person you’d want to consult. Designers work closely on the technical aspects of space utilisation and safety together with architects, and can oversee, appoint or help you procure the best contractors, should you ask them to do so. Most importantly, they can sign off approved work and submit the necessary paperwork required for any planning permission.
While decorators can advise on the flow of light or utilisation of space in your home, they are concerned with aesthetics only. Your decorator will look at how to rearrange, scale down, remove or alter furniture or heavy window drapery to allow in more light. Your designer, on the other hand, will structurally be able to install a larger sun-facing window or skylights. Ideally, the two job functions complement each other.
Decorators are well versed in the art of applying different décor styles to your home, and also merging them should they be provided with two briefs with varying tastes. They would know where to have tailored items or finishes custom-made for you, and where to source anything, such as perhaps an Arabian-inspired door, from exotic Zanzibar. They give effect to the look you’re going for in your space, and won’t impose their own preferences unless you give them free reign to do so.
Both decorators and designers will draw up project schedules and deliver according to schedule, and within budget. Discuss this clearly before appointing anyone. Your Bristol designer and decorator will also know where to source the best materials for the project at a cost best suiting your budget within Bristol. As the cost of procuring materials and contractors from far away is often expensive, this is a big advantage of using a Bristol designer and/or decorator.
Designers can perform the following tasks regarding internal spaces:
· Generate floor plans and layout drawings
· Execute spatial programming, space planning, design analysis
· Advise as to interior architectural construction and building components plus materials
· Advise as to best practice safety standards and implement these
· Advise as to building and planning permission, sign off forms and have them submitted
· Generally solve challenges related to the function, quality, safety and environmental impact of an interior space in accordance with a brief.
An interior decorator will:
· Execute décor choices that reflect the look and ‘feel’ of the space you’re going for
· Advise as to the best materials to use within your chosen style. You may be a client who allows your dogs to climb on your furniture muddy paws and all, even though you have a passion for neutrals. You decorator will find the best good-looking, wipe-off, fur-friendly neutral fabric or material with which to recover your couch
· Source bespoke furnishings and finishes for you throughout your home
· Procure and ship goods
· Advise as to lighting
· Plan your space and colour consult, in accordance with your chosen ‘look’ as well as your lifestyle
· Provide you with samples of chosen furnishings and finishes before the time.
Designers work on technical aspects of spatial renovation and as such require formal training and credentials. Designers must, for example, be able to draw up floor plans.
There are various accreditation methods and qualifications a designer in Bristol could have. He or she should preferable be affiliated to the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), although this is not mandatory.
There is no single accreditation process for designers but your designer should preferably present you with one of the following:
· An UK government-recognised university or college qualification in Interior Design, Interior Architecture or Spatial Design
· A course in one of the above disciplines as offered by an independent contractor, which is approved by a leading college or UK university
· A certificate or diploma as accredited by the British Accreditation Council, the Open and Long Distance Learning Quality Council, or another proper accrediting UK body, for example, an accreditation by The Society of British and International Design (SBID). The standard adopted by the SBID is that of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) and candidates go through a vigorous approval process.
· No professional qualifications are required, but do ask for portfolio showing all he styles the decorator or interior stylist can implement and procure.
· Although not mandatory, your stylist should preferably have some qualification in interior decorating, colour coding, spatial layout, fabric design and the like from an art college or similar institution.
· Ensure you get along with the stylist, and present them with as clear a vision as possible. They should know exactly what both your financial and aesthetic boundaries and limits are.
In both cases, word-of-mouth referrals are always good, and evidence of work done in a portfolio or on a website should always be presented.
Generally, you’ll need to obtain planning permission for the following renovations:
· Walls (adding, removing or changing in certain instances)
· Staircases, and walls around staircases.
No permission is required for minor alterations, especially when you’re not changing the weight or width of a structure in comparison to what it was. Changing the felt on your roof won’t attract the necessity for planning permission, but adding a weight burden to your roof will.
Your interior designer and architect should advise as to which approvals are required, and have them submitted and signed off.
The BIID advises that there are no set fee scales for stylists or designers. It depends
· the experience of the designer/decorator
· the degree of complexity involved/amount of work, especially on bespoke projects.
Most contractors bill on a flat-fee basis, per milestone or opt for hourly retainers. Most first-time builders prefer a flat-fee designer so that unexpected costs don’t come up later. The cost of fixing something structural due to improper planning and building permission rejection should you not consult a designer upfront will always outweigh the cost of hiring one though.
Similarly, most homeowners find that good décor enhances the value of their homes significantly when they are ready to sell it.