FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WORKING WITH AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

There are a number of questions that you may have when it comes to working with an interior designer. We have created this page to hopefully address some of those questions and any concerns you may have. At V A Heritage our intention is to make sure every client receives a personalised service that is tailored to your requirements whilst enjoying the journey.

If you still have questions or would like to start your interior designer journey please get in touch, we would love to have a chat and see how we can help turn your dreams into a reality. 

 

  1. Is it expensive to hire an interior designer?

  2. Are interior designers only for people with large properties or who want to change their entire home?

  3. I am worried that I won’t be listened to. Will I be forced down a design route I don’t like?

  4. I’ve seen programmes where they go over budget, should I be worried this will happen to me?

  5. Are there any hidden fees or last-minute costs?

  6. How do you make sure it is my tastes that are reflected in the rooms and not yours as the interior designer?

  7. How does an interior designer save me time?

  8. How does an interior designer save me money?

  9. Do I have to buy my products from my interior designer?

  10. Will you make my home look like a show home?

  11. Is it worth hiring an interior designer?

  12. I already have my own sense of style, how can an interior designer help me?

  13. What kind of work does an interior designer do?

  14. Will my interiors look dated after a short period of time?

  15. Do I need to have an old/listed building to work with you?

  16. Is it a time-consuming process working with an interior designer?

  17. I am worried that I will be forced to make a decision quickly or that what I say at the start of the process will dictate the outcome and I might want to change my mind. Is that the case when you work with an interior designer?

  18. I don’t follow the trends and I am worried that I will be given something that doesn’t reflect me. Will I be forced down a design route I don’t like?

  19. Will you rush me into making a decision before I am ready?

  20. I don’t have the time to start a project so what is the point of starting a project on my interiors?

  21. How much involvement does the interior designer have in the project?

 

 

1. Is it expensive to hire an interior designer?

 

There is definitely a perception that interior designers are expensive. You potentially might consider us expensive, but like so many things in life the long term value you receive far outweighs the cost.

We provide complete transparency when it comes to our fees. There are no hidden costs or charges. We do not work on a commission basis which means our design fees may initially be considered higher than others, but this is because we pass on our trade discount directly to you, our customer. We also ensure that all the products recommended are suited to you and not based on an affiliation with a particular retailer or supplier. We are entirely independent.

 

Often, an interior designer will waive their design fees or offers them at a lower rate, but this usually may mean that you have to purchase all the products through them. This is of course an option, and there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is simply that at V A Heritage that is not the way we choose to work.

 

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Warren Buffett.

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2. Are interior designers only for people with large properties or who want to change their entire home?

 

Absolutely not. It is true that programmes like Grand Designs make it appear that this is the case but we believe that interior designers are for everyone and for every property. We can work on your entire property or on specific rooms. There is no minimum or maximum for us when it comes to the spaces we work on. Your property does not need to be residential either. We can help you if you are looking at converting an outbuilding into an office, you have a commercial project such as a B&B, restaurant etc. or you are looking at changing a pub into a bakery and coffee shop downstairs and flats upstairs. We will get to know you and your target market to ensure your interiors reflects your business, your brand and appeals to your end client.

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3. I am worried that I won’t be listened to. Will I be forced down a design route I don’t like?

 

This is an understandable concern. Everyone’s tastes are personal and we value this. We listen to you. We get to know you and the property to ensure that our design concepts are tailored to you and your requirements. It is important to ensure that whatever we recommend complements your personality, your property and any existing furniture and elements that are to remain. They must all blend beautifully and we would never force you into something you are not truly comfortable with. We provide one round of free revisions when developing design concepts in case there are any elements you would like to change when we go through them with you. Our aim is to always ensure it is an enjoyable experience working with us which means we encourage feedback and for you to voice your opinion.

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4. I’ve seen programmes where they go over budget, should I be worried this will happen to me?

 

It is true that projects can go over budget. Partly this may be to make the programme more interesting but an element of this can also be attributed to not exploring the required work and budget fully prior to commencing a project. So many things can come out of the woodwork if a detailed assessment is not carried out prior to starting work. Making sure there is a realistic amount set aside as a contingency to cover unexpected events from happening and potential price increases etc. is key. It is important to have clarity on the project objectives, have detailed designs, actual not estimated costs involved and realistic timescales so that a project plan can be produced. It is also important to be honest about what you are looking to achieve based on the resources available so that you avoid being swept along by the romance of the project.

 

By having all the information documented it will help you to validate that the project is achievable before committing to it avoiding what you have seen on TV. It is also important to ensure that you include between 10-20% contingency of the total budget for any unforeseen circumstances such as products no longer being available and replacements having to be sought, unexpected work etc. If your building is more complicated or listed, then the contingency % should be increased to reflect this.

 

This approach should always be applied, whether there is an element of construction work or not.

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5. Are there any hidden fees or last minute costs?

 

We pride ourselves on producing detailed and transparent fee proposals. We outline the costs involved based on your requirements which are broken down into stages. If we recommend a product and our trade discount provides the best value we will pass this discount on to you directly. We offer bolt on services such as ordering products for you, managing the project to see the work through to completion and dressing the room and these can either be incorporated into the proposal at the outset or added on at a later date and will be driven by your needs.

 

We do not recommend products based on a set list of suppliers. Our detailed shopping list (FF&E) allows you to purchase all the products yourself and there is no mark-up added to these. We also account for delivery fees from suppliers which often get overlooked and can impact on your budget if not factored in at the outset.

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6. How do you make sure it is my tastes that are reflected in the rooms and not yours as the interior designer?

 

We listen. It is such a basic skill but something we pride ourselves on. We ask questions, a lot of questions, to get to know you. We want to know what you like and what you don’t like in terms of design styles, fabrics, textures, colours etc. We also want to know what your hobbies and interests are, what you are looking to achieve both in terms of the tangible elements and also how you want the space to feel like. By getting to know you we can ensure that the space is very personal. It reflects your tastes whilst giving you something special and something that you would not have come up with yourself.

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7. How does an interior designer save me time?

 

Irrespective of whether you are tackling one room or a number of rooms the amount of work to get your home looking the way you want it to can seem daunting, especially when you are juggling work, running a household etc.  We save you time by creating design concepts for you, whether that is one room or for your entire house. We will not only identify the products required but the suppliers, lead times and costs so that you can budget accordingly and order items in time to meet your project deadline. We can also include our project management service where we will order all the items on your behalf, manage the deliveries and receive the goods checking for damages etc. We can coordinate the trades on your behalf and manage the schedules of work and also dress the rooms so that when you return the room is ready for you to use.

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8. How does an interior designer save me money?

 

By employing an interior designer, you are getting detailed design concepts and a shopping list (FF&E) which will outline the exact cost for the recommended products. This will allow you to determine whether your budget has been realistic and if you want to substitute any products before spending a penny or committing to the designs. By having a clear understanding of your final scheme you will also not run the risk of buying products piecemeal and then not creating the look you are trying to achieve or buying endless amounts of paint and wasting time, money and energy looking at samples and visiting DIY shops.

 

Once you are happy with the products recommended, if we are able to obtain them via our trade accounts and they are deemed the best value for money we will pass our trade discount directly on to you and all you need to pay is a fixed fee for our time for ordering the products on your behalf.

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9. Do I have to buy my products from an interior designer?

 

Not when you work with V A Heritage. We start by making sure that we understand what you are looking to achieve. Then we want to know what existing furniture and accessories etc. that you wish to keep, we get to know your personality and that of your property and then we combine all this information and identify which suppliers and retailers are most suitable for you and your project. It may be that these come from high street retailers or it may be that we recommend using our trade discounts because it offers you the best value for money, or a combination of both. If we recommend using our trade account we will pass the full discount directly on to you. You would only be required to purchase items directly through our design practice if our trade discounts are being used, otherwise you are free to purchase the items directly from the retailer as and when it suits you. If you would prefer, we can purchase everything on your behalf and monitor the delivery schedule, accept deliveries and assess for damages if our project management service is used, in which case we would only charge a fixed fee for this work.

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10. Will you make my home look like a show home?

 

No. We believe that a home should reflect the client and for us that means it has to look lived in and reflect your personality and tastes. That is not to say it cannot look elegant and opulent but there is a balance between function and form. Very few people can live in a home that is as neat and tidy as a show home, and it can make you wonder if they have a secret cupboard for all their clutter, especially if they have pets and children. All of this is taken into consideration when developing designs so that the way you live is factored into it.

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11. Is it worth hiring an interior designer?

 

By working with an interior designer you can save time, money and hassle. Whilst you pay a fee for an interior designer, they will produce design concepts which reflect your personality, are respectful of the property and should be timeless. It also means that you get to understand your designs before you have purchased products that may not be suitable. No more paint swatches painted on your wall or wasted tins of paint, non-refundable products etc.

 

It may also save you numerous arguments potentially where you and your partner, family etc. cannot agree and you feel like your tastes and ideas are not being listened to, being steamrolled into something you don’t like. Nobody wants that. An interior designer will be completely impartial and their goal will be to listen to everyone’s point of view and pull all of this together into something that looks amazing and caters for everyone’s tastes and needs. Whilst also presenting you with something you may not have thought of.

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12. I already have my own sense of style, how can an interior designer help me?

 

If you have your own sense of style that is great. We can work with you to source products if you have a specific item in mind but are struggling to source it. You may have a vision but do not have the time to dedicate to your project and need support in implementing it or it may be that you have purchased an investment property and would like something different for it.

We can support you in any way you need to ensure your project is delivered in line with your expectations.

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13. What kind of work does an interior designer do?

 

This very much depends on the design practice. At V A Heritage we offer a complete service tailored to your needs. We can help you with the following:

 

  • Design consultation

  • Design concepts and presentation boards

  • Spatial planning

  • Feasibility studies

  • Technical drawings

  • 2D and 3D visualisations

  • Research into period or listed properties

  • Product selection and sourcing

  • Project management

  • Staging

  • Planning permissions

  • Budget management

  • Installation supervision

  • Lighting design

 

Your project can include any combination of these as we believe in offering you the best level of service based on your needs.

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14. Will my interiors look dated after a short period of time?

 

No. V A Heritage is an interior design practice which uses the past as a reference point combined with understanding you and your property. So much of what we see today has been influenced by earlier design periods and we feel that by introducing these design styles in the right context and in the right way will provide you with a timeless look. We do not believe in following trends, but we do believe in good design.

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15. Do I need to have an old/listed building to work with you?

 

No. It is true that our passion is older properties, but we love to work on any kind of property. Whether that is a period or listed building (Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II) or a more contemporary building that would benefit from the influence of period design styles to create harmony and interest. We follow the same approach when it comes to commercial properties; hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, offices etc. or even more unique properties such as windmills.

 

We are happy to work on any property which requires our help to bring out what makes it special and blend this with your personality, or that of your target market when it is a commercial property, to create something uniquely different.

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16. Is it a time-consuming process working with an interior designer?

 

No, it shouldn’t be, and that is one of the benefits in hiring an interior designer. There is an initial time commitment from you at the start of the project for us to obtain information from you about what it is you are trying to achieve and for us to get to know you so that we can work out your design style. From there the level of commitment lessens as we do the work for you. We create design concepts that we believe are what you are looking for, even if you are not entirely sure what you are looking for.

 

If time is a real issue for you then we can add on our project management service where we will purchase the products on your behalf, liaise with any trades and even dress the rooms for you if you want a completely hands-off experience. The only time we require from you is to review the proposed design concepts and provide feedback.

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17. I am worried that I will be forced to make a decision quickly or that what I say at the start of the process will dictate the outcome and I might want to change my mind. Is that the case when you work with an interior designer?

 

Our proposals are packaged in such a way that you can pause and reflect so that you can make a decision at a speed you are comfortable with. We will never force you to make a decision. We also include one round of free revisions when developing design concepts so that even if you said you liked something at the start of your journey working with us if you have changed your mind that is not a problem. Our aim is to always ensure it is an enjoyable experience working with us so if you need time to think that is not a problem.

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18. I don’t follow the trends and I am worried that I will be given something that doesn’t reflect me. Will I be forced down a design route I don’t like?

 

We do not believe in following trends either. We believe in creating design concepts that reflect your personality and that of the property and blending the two to create something that is unique to you and timeless. If a space matches your personality then it will never be “on trend” or “off trend”.

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19. Will you rush me into making a decision before I am ready?

 

No. Our intention is to make working with us an enjoyable experience. We stage our work into phases which means that you can take as much time as you see fit to make a decision.

 

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20. I don’t have the time to start a project so what is the point of hiring an interior designer?

 

It is understandable why you would be cautious to start a project and we encourage you to assess how much time you can dedicate to a project. The way that we work is to gather as much information from you at the outset, so there is an element of time commitment we need from you but after that we do all the hard work and then present you with recommendations which can be implemented on your behalf by adding on our project management and turnkey service to your package.

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21. How much involvement does the interior designer have in the project?

 

This very much depends on you and what support you are looking for. We tailor our services to you and your project goals. If all you need is guidance on what to do with your property and a sense of your design style so that you have the confidence to make the changes yourself, we can give you that. If you would like help in spatial planning and making sure the rooms are in the optimum location and you have the right sort of rooms to support your lifestyle we can do that for you. This can be extended to planning your furniture layout, lighting plan, radiator plan etc. if you require. We can give you an overall look and feel for your property so that you get a sense of the style you should give your property and then you source the products that you feel fit this style or we can give you detailed design concepts along with a shopping list (FF&E). You can then use this to either do the work yourselves, commission trades or if you prefer we can project manage it for you. We can also offer a full turnkey service where we will dress the rooms ready for your return.

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Contact us:

Email: studio@vaheritage.co.uk  

Phone: 0777 635 8475

Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire 

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