Why - BringPeaceToDesign


Illustration by Beth ThayerWritten by Ela Lindsay

Illustrated by Beth Thayer

“The most expensive design decisions are the ones homeowners make that are wrong,” says interior designer Pamela Sandall, owner of Pamela Sandall Designs.
She tells the story of a couple who purchased an expensive 96-inch sofa for a small room where a poker table was already set to go. The room couldn’t accommodate both pieces, resulting in a costly error, says Sandall, local chapter president of the national Interior Design Society and a member of the Conejo Association of Professional Interior Designers (CAPID).
“Brought in early to a project, a designer can help prevent you from making costly mistakes,” said Wendy Weiner from Westlake Village’s Wendy Weiner Interior
Designs, Inc. “(Also), designers know reputable resources that will offer fair pricing and quality workmanship to stay within your budget.”
“It’s prudent to call a professional when there’s equivocation,” says Sandall. “Like when someone says, ‘I don’t know what to do with this space’ or, ‘what color should I paint?’ It’s like anything else in life. I don’t know how to rewire a lamp, so I’ll call in a professional to do the job for me.”
Interior designers have access to thousands of products and lines the typical consumer does not, and they can whittle down options to a manageable number for the homeowner to consider. That can save a person time, energy and money.
They are also trained to work with other professionals, such as architects and contractors.
“There are different ways that a designer can deliver design,” says Sandall. “Full service means someone comes out and takes measurements and talks about wants, needs and goals.” Then the designer takes it from there.
On the other hand, homeowners can also utilize just a portion of an interior designer’s services, such as simple room rearrangements or a color consultation. “We can work with what the homeowner already has,” says  Sandall. “It’s amazing how far some fresh paint will go toward creating a whole new look.”

quote "It’s amazing how far some fresh paint will go toward creating a whole new look."

 Most homeowners don’t even think about some of the basic decisions interior designers are trained to make. A perfect example, designer Pamela Sandall says, is the couple who renovated a huge living room with hardwood floors, “but they didn’t think of putting in electrical receptacles in the floor. Now they have this great, beautiful space—with cords all over the place.” These are the kinds of details interior designers pay attention to. “We are trained to measure and design spaces from the walls in.” And when it comes to cost, there are plans to suit most budgets.
Designers can charge by the hour or by the project. Some offer cost-plus, meaning the designer charges an hourly fee and then passes on a portion of their professional discount on products to the client, explains Sandall.
Homeowners can contact CAPID for referrals to experienced, vetted interior designers. Clients can also research a designer’s level of certification.
Another option and one of the newest trends in interior design is e-decorating. Perfect for hands-on homeowners on a budget, everything is done over the phone and the Internet. Homeowners take measurements and fill out documents about their particular style and goals and a designer responds with suggestions, including where to shop for items.
The end result of any job should be “a feeling of harmony and balance,” says Weiner. That applies to the finished project as well as to the process involved in arriving there. Using an interior designer can help keep homeowners feeling less stressed throughout the project.
“We can keep homeowners focused on the goal,” Sandall says.
Another advantage of hiring a designer, Weiner says, is they may have ideas that you have not considered. “A good designer will be interested in learning about your lifestyle to help make your home one you will be happy in for years.”

Written by Ela Lindsay
Illustrated by Beth Thayer