Interior renovations along with stylish home décor can add immense value to your home. Perhaps the biggest return on investment of all is how you feel when you’re able to retreat to the sanctity of your beautifully designed and decorated personalised space at the end of the day.
Struggling to decide if you should call in an interior designer rather than an interior decorator to help, or vice versa? Here’s the inside story.
Interior designers are probably best thought of as internal architects. After a lifestyle analysis of your needs and functional requirements, they will create safe, functional spaces within your home.
This is a technical rather than décor job. Typical examples of the kinds of changes a designer may make or advise on is changing window positioning or adding extra windows. They may advise on where to build your staircase and if that spiral, floating staircase you had in mind will not only look great, but safely hold up under various weight stressors as well.
They may advise on whether your living room can accommodate that built-in fireplace and chimney, and what, if any, building planning permits are required. As technical constructional experts for building interiors, they should be able to submit and sign off required paperwork relating to any applicable planning permission issues. Depending on their level of experience and accreditation, they would be able to sign this off alone or do so in conjunction with an interior architect.
An interior decorator will adorn your home with the décor finishes you require. He or she will audit your preferences so that the aesthetics of your home becomes an expression of who you are. Decorators are able to blend more than one decorating style if required, and can source bespoke furniture, drapery and any other tailor-made finishes you desire.
A designer can sometimes advise on decoration, but a décor specialist can never advise on construction design matters.
Both a designer and decorator should work within budget, and according to schedule. They should advise on the best contractors and sub-contractors and be able to oversee these contractors as part of project teams, should you request this.
As Edinburgh is cool and clammy due to its ocean-side position, it is best to consult your local Edinburgh designer and/or decorator versus one further away, as local designers and decorators understand the materials best suited to your locality.
Another critical reason to use Edinburgh designers and decorators versus, say, Essex professionals, is cost. You want to be advised where best in Edinburgh to source the materials and contractors you require, and your local professionals will know best.
Most people don’t mind spending on importing materials and goods for bespoke items that are shipped in from far away, but the costs become almost prohibitively expensive should you not stipulate the need to source them locally.
Designers will assess your internal space and can do the following:
· Draw up floor plans, layout drawings and interior scale models
· Solve functional, quality-related and safety-related challenges regarding interior spaces
· Execute interior renovations, and source building supplies
· Advise as to any required building and planning permission, sign off forms and have them submitted
An interior decorator is able to:
· Accessorise and decorate your internal space to give it a particular ambience as per the requests in your brief
· Advise as to the choice of décor materials available that will best match your lifestyle and pets
· Have customised furniture and finishes manufactured and delivered
As designers are structural technicians in their own right, formal study is required. There is no one method of obtaining accreditation in Edinburgh, but an affiliation to the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) is a solid start, although this is not mandatory.
Your Edinburgh designer should be able to furnish you with one of the following:
· A qualification in Interior Design, Interior Architecture or Spatial Design from a university or college that’s recognized by the government, for example:
o BA in Interior Design from University of Edinburgh
o Interior Design HND courses at Edinburgh College
o BA Interior Design from the Glasgow School of Art
o Interior and Spatial Design from Edinburgh Napier university.
· A course in a design discipline (as distinct from interior decorating) that’s been obtained from an independent contractor. This must be approved by a leading college or university.
· A certificate or diploma as accredited by the British Accreditation Council, the Open and Long Distance Learning Quality Council, or another proper accrediting body, for example, an accreditation by The Society of British and International Design (SBID). To achieve accreditation by the latter, candidates are subjected to a stringent approval process.
· No formal qualification is required, but usually a decorator would have a high school diploma, followed by a diploma from a vocational college and, preferably, a successfully completed apprenticeship at a home décor company.
· As with all contractors, give your décor consultant as clear a brief as possible, inform them of expected deadlines and make sure you all agree on budgetary boundaries.
Your designer should point out exactly when consent and planning permission is required from the City of Edinburgh Council. The requirements are detailed, with many of them pertaining to vertical or horizontal sub-division of principal spaces unless prior approval has been granted. Any new additions or renovations should also not constitute a fire or safety hazard.
According to the BIID, there are no set fee parameters for decorators or designers.
Bear in mind though that the scope of the project, the degree of difficulty required and the degree of professional seniority or experience of your consultant will push fees upwards.
Some professional ask for per hour or per day retainers. Others will ask for remuneration per milestone and yet others are happy to work on a project fee basis. If you’re a first-time renovator or builder, paying someone on a project fee basis will help you know exactly how much to budget for. It may not necessarily amount to less but you won’t be uncertain about the final amount.
The investment in a designer is always worth it – you don’t want to renovate only to have the Council reject permission.