What is the difference between an Interior Decorator and an Interior Designer?

You may have occasionally heard the terms for interior decorator and interior designer interchanged. However, there is a difference between the two titles. An interior decorator generally refers to someone who deals with finishes, surfaces, furniture, and wall coverings. Also, an interior decorator may work in a variety of venues from a design showroom to a remodeling retail store.

An interior designer is a more specialized career field, requiring a certain combined level of education, work experience, and licensing. An interior designer may create spaces for the inside of a commercial office building, design the lighting for a restaurant, or select the furnishings of a home. An interior designer may also deal with issues of safety like accessibility and building codes.

Why do I need an Interior Designer?

Whether you need a little help or a lot, from answers to a few questions on color selection or furniture layout to help on planning and completing a complicated remodel or new construction project, the advice and guidance of an Interior Designer is invaluable.

Having a professional Interior Designer on your team who has the knowledge and experience of countless similar projects as well as the information and expertise for finding the exact products and trades-people you need to get the best result for your project is priceless. Working with an Interior Designer will help you to move seamlessly and efficiently through the project, as well as help you prevent costly mistakes or side-steps along the way.

When do I need an Interior Designer?

While a good designer can help you at any stage of the design, it is most advantageous for you to begin your work with a designer at the earliest stages of the design. As with almost any process, a good plan in place as early as possible is the best route to success. Pink Door Designs can take your project from the initial point of gathering information on the requirements and needs that you have for your space, throughout conception, development, construction, purchasing and installation for every detail of your project – all the way to completion, the final result that shows the great result of a plan well thought out and well executed from the initial ideas to the final details.

What should I have at our first meeting for my project?

  • Collect clippings from magazines and photos of items and decors that appeal to you. Or the link to your Pinterest Boards of your ideas
  • Think about colors, styles and effects you like.
  • Know what you want to accomplish, what the room or house should do for you when finished.
  • Should it be formal or casual, traditional or contemporary?
  • Know your objective and lifestyle needs.
  • Establish a time frame in which you would like to work
  • Have a budget in mind and be honest about it with your designer. Having a ball park figure is a good start.

What happens at the first consultation?

Our initial consultation brings you a highly qualified interior designer to your home or office for an in-depth interview to identify your design objectives and outline the steps needed to accomplish them. This first meeting usually lasts one to two hours.

At the first meeting we will:

  • Measure and photograph areas to be designed.
  • Create a room by room list of necessary construction, furniture, colors and accessory needs.
  • Compile client’s existing materials that will not change.

What should I budget?

  • Letting the designer know what you can afford will help achieve what you want to meet your budget.  Barb will try to get a beautiful look for you for as little as possible.
  • For a new (empty) house or condominium you should calculate about 25% of its total purchase price.
  • For existing space, consult an interior designer for a fair budget estimate.

Why should I pay for a designer when some retail and builder supply stores offer “free design assistance?”

While it is true that many retail establishments may offer “free” advice and assistance, and that sometimes, though not always, those consultants may be very good at what they do, it is also true that although the advice they offer you is “free,” they definitely are not working for “free” and their primary allegiance and obligation is to their employer.

Why do you have a design fee and purchasing fee on the product?

The design fee is for design concepts, solutions to the problems, and advice on any purchases. When a product is ordered through the designer, there is a great deal of time spent on producing purchase orders, ordering cuttings of fabrics, and wall-coverings from current stock for approval. Our procurement fee is 20-25% plus the cost of goods sold.

As professionals we have access to wholesale vendors from whom we have built a relationship with over time to ensure over quality control of your purchased items before they arrive to you.

Additionally, time is spent on coordinating deliveries and generally ensuring that the whole process runs smoothly until the item is delivered to the client. The purchasing fee covers this entire process and assures the clients’ peace of mind. In addition, to having insider accesses to products you still save with designer discount and are typically not subject to full retail costs.

Freight and Delivery Fees?

Freight and delivery fees apply when ordering furnishings, fabrics and or accents. These fees are passed on to the client at no additional markup. Freight fees are billed by the weight and typically run on average .80-.95 cents per lbs.  For example if you are ordering whole a living room set with sofa, loveseat,  end tables, ottoman, entrainment center etc. expect to pay about $750.00 in freight. FYI- Retailers roll this cost into your purchase of your items and make it seam as if they giving you something for free when they really aren’t.

Delivery for the day of reveal or just getting your items sent to your home and allowing you to set up yourself. Typical hourly rate for this can be about $90 | hr. and can take anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the size of the job.

What are the next steps after hiring an interior designer?

Once you have made the decision to hire an interior designer, the following steps usually take place:

  • Letter of agreement: A contract is signed between the interior designer and the client stating what is to be completed and the fee schedule.
  • In-depth interview by interior designer with the client to determine lifestyle needs.
  • Meeting with architect, if using one for this project
  • Room by room list of items to be completed both for furniture and construction. Approval of list.
  • Measure and photograph the room (or rooms).
  • Design and drawing of floor plans showing new furniture with sizes; design custom pieces. Approval of plans
  • Design and drawing of new cabinets for kitchen, bathroom, entertainment, closet, construction plans. Approval of plans.
  • Lighting plan showing new lighting with specifications for contractor.
  • If construction is a part of the plan, selection of all items that will be needed – floors, counters, faucets, fixtures, lights, doors, etc.
  • Give construction plans to contractors for bids, if needed. (May be done by our designer).
  • Review bids and assist in choosing a contractor. (May be done by our designer).
  • Begin construction.
  • Observation of construction.
  • Interior designer shops for non-construction items – furniture, fabrics, rugs, wall coverings, and any other items that need to be purchased for the project.
  • Presentation of furniture ideas, fabrics, and accessories to client.
  • Shopping trip to see the furniture.
  • Paint selection to go with the flooring and fabrics that have been selected.
  • Approval of furniture, fabric, wallpaper, draperies, blinds, and prices, etc.
  • Purchase items agreed upon
  • Completion of work by contractors
  • Carpet, furniture delivery, drapery installations, etc.
  • Accessories added with approvals.

What are the Final Selections?

The Final Selections are color, furniture, lighting, flooring, wall coverings, window treatments, accessories, brings all of these elements together, with your finalized plan, with an extensive supply of resources from around the world, we select the materials and finishes that best represent you.The work does not end when the last piece of furniture has been placed. The final walk through with you to check for any deviations in the plans, and a follow-up after the project is over. Have specified products held up well? Does the lighting fit your needs? Are you happy with the completion of the project?

What does Implementation mean?

As soon as we have your approval, we prepare purchase orders for required items and services. We select the best price from a variety of reputable sources. Although your interior was designed for construction efficiency, it’s no secret that building projects can be time-consuming and stressful. As your concept comes to life, count on us to assist you in managing contractors, architects and building officials. On your behalf, we’ll work with all parties to ensure that your design is executed with the least amount of stress and hassles.

What cities do you work in?

Autograph works primarily in Mumbai. But we do have large engagements PAN India. On the books currently are projects in Ahmadabad, Jaipur, Udaipur, Nagpur, Thane, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Indore, Navi Mumbai, Lonavala, Daman , Bhopal & Jamshedpur.

Do we need to use your contractor or architect?

No. We will work with your builder, or tradespeople. We are more than happy to refer you to those who can help as well. You will not pay us for construction related labor, that is between you and your contractor.

Do I have to make purchases through you?

No. You are welcome to make any purchases on your own. Most clients do purchase through us, because of the discount we pass along.

Can I see samples of your work?

The Portfolio page on this site has a sampling of our design work. Feel free to contact Autograph to see more images of other projects.  And please consider following us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

What is your style?

We don’t have a style that we stick to. Our clients preferences, the essence of the space and its natural surroundings, and also the budget will dictate the interior’s style direction. Autograph seeks to bring out her client’s personality and best self in each space.

What will our project cost?

It depends on the level you wish to take your project. If you have a specific design fee budget in mind, we are more than happy to prepare a proposal, stating what we can offer, keeping within your budget.