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But isn't a Designer going to be expensive??

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

I wanted to give a different perspective on this view, since it actually isn't always true. There are factors, some obvious and some hidden, that can really make a difference and actually save you $$.

Any Designer worth their salt will bring value, good design, and help you make the right decisions for your goals and needs. At first glance design fees can seem like it isn't worth that bit of extra expense, but looking broadly at all the other aspects of your renovation or new-build can put the fees into perspective. Plus, what a designer brings to your project are more than just monetary.

Monetary benefits:

1. Avoid mistakes: There are so many ways this can play out--basic ways are the wrong paint colour. More serious mistakes can involve building code infractions or failure of the materials because they were not meant to be used in the way you used them. (think of really slippery tiles at an entrance--major hazard!)

2. Your budget: Contrary to popular thought, most designers actually aren't hoping to spend all of your hard-earned money on your project. Not all of us get into the exact pricing of every single material, product, labour, etc. as that is the realm of contractors, but we do have the knowledge to steer you away from choices that will not fit into your budget. We are wanting to work with your budget and we can help you stay in line, so to speak. We can also advise if your budget is unrealistic to what you are hoping to achieve and speak to alternate solutions or phasing your project.

Snippet of a Budget Worksheet

3. ROI: This can apply to so many areas, but I want to use it for the value of your home. When you are renovating with the intention of selling within a few years, there are decisions that are good and will raise the value, and ones that will lower the value of your home. Not every thing you do in a renovation will raise the value, but being strategic with your decisions and design will make a difference.

4. Discounts: Now not every designer will pass on discounts to you, depending on their business model...and if they don't they should be transparent about that. Premise Design does pass on retail discounts and typically a portion of to-the-trade only to cover admin/business time involved with it. We had one project where our clients saved all of our design fees through the retail discounts they received.

5. Contacts: Do you get nervous hiring a General Contractor whom you haven't worked with? I get it. We have a list of trusted Contractors who have proven to work with integrity, honesty, and do good work. The list does change based on feedback from clients and our own experiences with them. Getting someone who has a trusted track record will save you money through the process.

6. Save time: Not everyone thinks of putting a value on their time, but when you think of each hour of your day as having a value to it, that can put the hours of time you're spending trying to design our home on your own. Designers have the training and experience to be efficient and will be a lot quicker at design and selections than you will be, with fewer mistakes. 7. Health: Not every Designer will focus on this, though in my opinion I think they should. Basically, having a well-designed home or office actually promotes health, productivity, lower stress, better indoor air quality, and better function. Good design does affect health in a positive way and can help your life and health. Having your space work the way you need it to will help you live better, function better, work better, and feel less stressed. Certain materials will emit VOC's (volatile organic compounds) or other hormone and endocrine disruptors. These will accumulate indoors and can compound existing health issues or create new ones. We spend so much time indoors, so shouldn't we consider how to make those spaces work for us, not against us?

Dining Room: Full renovation design

The projects we have had where they did go over budget typically involved lack of clarity and honesty about budget, multiple changes of scope, or indecisiveness.

There are certain things that no one can foresee, like supply chain issues we all experienced through the pandemic, discontinued products, trade shortages, or delays with permitting. Having a contingency of 10-30% of your budget for unknowns or a little splurge means you'll be set up for a successful outcome and possibly some leftover in the end because of the professional expertise you received by bringing a Designer in.

The non-monetary benefits are harder to quantify, but feedback from clients over the years are:

1. Less stress! Need I say more?

2. Support. Sometimes you need an advocate when problems arise and having a Designer who can help untangle messes with suppliers, contractors, or your own family can be so helpful during a renovation.

3. It all works together. There are many moving pieces in a renovation or home update. Making sure the end result actually coordinates, works with your lifestyle, looks good, and that you like takes training, experience, and skill. Designers have that.

The key in all of this is to make sure you are a good fit with your Designer so that there is mutual trust and respect. Being open and honest about your goals, needs, budget, timelines, and functionality will mean the Designer can design well for you so you get all the benefits described here.

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