A good home decorator will save you months of hunting down product samples and other research. He or she can do everything from simply acting as a sounding board for your ideas to undertaking more involved work, like ordering fabrics, scheduling an installation and even supervising the job. So begin by choosing a decorator who understands your taste and preferences and is competent to interpret your ideas into meaningful results. Here are some other essentials for working with a first class decorator.

Charges:      

Do some pre-screening by checking out the Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN), which educates and tests interior decorators. Then look out   for the charging methods each uses: flat-fee or hourly.  A flat-fee decorator looks like a good bargain but he/she often insists on acting as your exclusive buying agent, and may steer you toward products  for which she receives a commission. Take the case of one decorator who charged N500 per yard for drapes that was initially sold for only N300- an extra N200 for each yard. That is why you should always check prices you get from your decorator against retail.

Your safest bargain is an independent decorator who charges by the hour. You will usually pay per hour by the generally accepted market charges, the only difference would be dependent on the level of services provided. But the per-hour arrangement lets you severe your relationship at any time. With a flat-fee decorator, you pay for the entire job, even if you part ways in the middle of the project; hourly billing starts with the decorator’s first visit.

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Let them inspect your home:

Once you have settled for a few names among the numerous decorators, let prospective decorators walk through your home so they know your taste. Express your likes and dislikes and determine which ones are good listeners; this is essential for giving you what you really want.

Then be sure you hire a decorator before drawing out your plans. Things work out best when the decorator is brought in at the inception of the project. That is when the decorator’s input on how much wall space a window treatment needs or the window height required for a certain couch matters. Otherwise, a decorator can create cost overruns for alterations that often involve structural changes.

Trust their judgment and delivery:

A decorator should be able to tell you how specific products performed for past clients in terms of durability, ease of cleaning and warranty coverage, and how responsive the manufacturer was to complaints. They should also warn you of bad practices such as using absorbent carpet or cloth wallpaper in a bathroom; unwashable flat paint in a child’s room or glossy ceiling paint in a small room which makes the space look even smaller.

Document your requests:

Changes are inevitable once a job gets under way, so there must be a system for sharing and acknowledging your requests. Be sure anything you ask for is written on a change-order request form that is dated and signed by you and the decorator. If there are no official forms, print out some simple homemade samples from your computer. This would serve as a guideline to make the necessary changes in the original plans which will affect the decorator’s charges.

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