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Myths About Working with an Interior Designer

Entry way from our Modern Transitional Whole Home Project by Houston residential interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Stereotypes exist about any profession, and the advent of channels like HGTV have supported some of those (and debunked a few as well), about those of us in the interior design industry. There are always exceptions to the rule, but there are a few I have noticed through my own experiences, as well as conversations with designer friends in the same boat.

If you're curious, keep on scrolling!

Black and white kitchen from our Modern Texas Transitional Whole Home Renovation by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.jpg

Myth: Designers will only select the most expensive pieces.

Truth: 'Expensive' is relative to your budget and your lifestyle, and you, as the client, are in charge of how the budget gets allocated.

I can't tell you how often clients won't be completely upfront about their budget, thinking that if they tell me they have $50,000 set aside for this, that means I have $50,000 and then some to spend. Nothing could be further from the truth - we do ask about your full budget in your initial intake form, then again during our initial phone conversation. Then, if we decide to meet in person to review your project and discuss working together on a long term basis, you will receive you get a furniture budget breakdown before our consultation meeting so you're not taken aback by how much things actually cost in the current market.

You might only want to spend $500 on a sofa, but as buyers of furniture on a daily basis, we are prepared to explain spending hundreds instead of thousands on a sofa will result in poor quality and a rebuy in less than a couple of years. There are plenty of other places to reallocate funds, and that's why you have us here to guide you to precisely where that can be safely done without sacrificing quality. But it's also important to be realistic, and if that means you step back and save up for a little longer, so be it! There's nothing wrong with that at all!

Concept design board for our Colorado Modern Mountain Vacation Retreat Project by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.jpg

Myth: You're going to save money shopping retail.

Truth: You may save dollars, but you're signing up for headaches.

At my age #early50sandlovingit, hitting the easy button is the way to go. If I wasn't doing this for a living, I know I personally wouldn't want to be on the phone trying to track down a sofa that didn't show up on the right day. Or funnel through my fourth customer service person having to tell me whole story over and over again.

We have long term relationships with our trade vendors and reps that have been around for a long time, and that truly is priceless for the logistics side of interior design. This built-in trust makes the process so much easier if something does go wrong, and I will always choose seamless problem solving and efficient time management over saving a few dollars on an item, perceived monetary savings that is...when you purchase mass produced goods that are cheaply made there is often more maintenance required and a shorter shelf life. What does this mean? You'll undoubtedly be replacing the item sooner than you'd bargained for.

Interior design studio office of and by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.jpg

Myth: A designer would make my house look like a catalog threw up.

Truth: Good designers will select from multiple sources, and work in personal touches that really reflect you and your family.

We put a high priority on getting to know you and your family from the beginning of every project, because I know how important my own home is to me, and I know that yours is equally important to you. That's why we have an extensive discovery call and plenty of questions in the beginning! We work together for 4-6 months at minimum on full service projects, so the more you can share with me upfront, the more we can personalize your home, and be on the lookout in all situations for items that would be perfect for you and your home!

This is also why I personally prioritize visiting different nationwide markets every year - you truly never know what you'll find. These sourcing trips are also high priority because I want to re-evaluate our current vendors as well, to make sure their quality standards have been maintained year to year.

Scan-Asian inspired kitchen in our Modern Contemporary Renovation by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors .jpg

Myth: Being an interior designer is glamorous.

Truth: You'll be visiting construction sites in dusty sneakers more than you think!

This may just come down to personal style, but you're not going to find me in lush colorful dresses or sparkly high heels during the work week. Comfortable shoes and sneakers help a lot with our frequent construction site visits (you don't want nails poking through cute sandals or heels). State secret: it truly is 20% design and 80% business if I were to evaluate how my time is spent throughout a typical week.

You as the designer are almost always the first call when a problem comes up - not the contractor, not the electrician, etc. Some times it's appropriate, often times its not. Nevertheless, we are constantly problem solving and communicating and juggling. Of course, we all love picking out the furniture and fabrics, the hard surface selections like tile, and all of the beautiful lighting, but the math to figure out exact placement, the angled cuts for those tiles, and what fabrics have the right amount of performance characteristics all come into play as well.

Modern Texas Transitional Whole Home Renovation by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.jpg

Myth: Hiring a designer will blow my budget out of the water.

Truth: In many instances, hiring a designer can save you thousands in costly mistakes.

Believe me when I say hire a designer before you need a designer! I'm telling you - you'll end up reselecting so many things once you realize that what the contractors chose was meant to fit their budget concerns, rather than your preferred aesthetics, as well as your family's lifestyle and daily activities. Rework is the greatest culprit of any project that goes out of budget, so nip it in the bud from the beginning! You've heard it here before and I'll say it again: develop a great design plan then work the plan.

Do you have any interior design myths you'd like to dive into more? Let me know in the comments below! And if you're ready to tackle your project with NLI, please complete our initial questionnaire and tell us about your goals for your next project!


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