QUESTION: I've always been told that I have good taste, and I enjoy decorating, but I'm somewhat intimidated by the thought of doing my whole new home. I know I need help but I don't want a "decorated" look. How do I find appropriate help?
ANSWER: An interior designer can, of course, create the "look" of a room based entirely on his or her unique vision and talent. But it is an unfortunate stereotype that interior designers will dictate that look regardless of the client's wishes.
On the contrary, an interior designer will begin a project with a thorough consideration of each client's special needs, interests and particularly that client's own taste in colors, furniture, accessories and art.
An interior designer is not only a creative artist, but by training and experience he or she is also prepared to handle all the complexities of coordinating the choosing, ordering and installation of the paint, wallpaper, window coverings, floor coverings, lighting, furnishings and myriad other details, whether of a whole house or a single room.
In my own practice, I have often found that a client whose taste and interest in decorating are highly developed makes a wonderful collaborator in the creation of a beautiful space.
With those less articulate, I sometimes use magazines or books to elicit their likes and dislikes but the key word here is collaborative.
In creating a living space, an interior designer brings to the project creative talent and skills in administering the project's details. The client also brings a contribution, which is key to the project, namely his or her own likes and dislikes.
As in any collaboration, it is important to work with a compatible person. In looking for a professional interior designer to work with, you should interview several people, based perhaps on referrals from a professional association, such as the International Society of Interior Designers or the American Society of Interior Designers or on the referral of friends.
ANDREW ZEFF, ISID