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If you decide to hire a professional for decorating your house, make sure you understand what services you need. An interior decorator specializes in finding the right furnishings for your home, while an interior designer focuses more on the planning and functionality of furnishing a room. What also sets them apart is their knowledge. Decorators know about color swatches, furniture resources and creating your ideal room. Designers, on the other hand, take into consideration additional features like acoustics, lighting, temperature and so forth. Depending on what you want for your home, be sure to choose the design professional who matches your needs.
No one likes sticking to a budget, but you need to have one. Agree on one ahead of time and make sure they stick to it. Research more than one in the area to see what their prices are. You don't want an interior designer or decorator who far exceeds your furnishings budget with their ideas rather than yours. Most homeowners report spending between $1,839 and $8,842 on home decorating and home designing services.
A number of basic design styles apply to everything from furniture to interior and exterior home design. Here are some general guidelines for some popular design styles:
Traditional is more formal and elegant. Raised panel cabinet doors or clear glass panels separated by thin strips of wood are often seen. Rich wood finishes or painted white wood may be accented with sparkle from brass or brass-tone hardware.
Craftsman bungalow houses usually have low-pitched gable roofs with large overhangs and exposed rafters. Under the gables are often decorative beams or braces. A craftsman bungalow commonly has a generous front porch with a roof is carried on square, tapered columns. Stone or brick frequently is used for the porch's base or columns. Masonry may also be used for a tapered chimney on one side of the house
Country features light stain or distressed-color finish, simple cabinet and door styles and unpretentious wood or ceramic knobs and handles.
Colonial style homes take advantage of classic architectural elements, notably symmetry, columns and formally framed doors and windows. These residences, often elaborate, typically have large front and rear porches, providing an opportunity for cross ventilation in sultry climates.
Victorian styles often reflect the romance of the 19th century with contemporary convenience. Common cabinet woods are oak or cherry and with the right color scheme, even white can be used. Many different types of hardware will work, from hammered iron to antique pewter.
High-tech design areas feature stainless steel, metal tubing, chrome and black accents. Kitchens often feature an industrial look with sleek metallic appliances and storage cabinets. Glass block or curving transparent window glass may be set in a wall.
Southwestern homes, with their stucco or adobe exterior and orange or red tile roofs, are gaining in popularity these days, especially in the west. Likewise, log homes, which today include construction techniques that may or may not use whole logs to yield a house that looks like it's built with logs, have a solid, somewhat romantic and secure ambiance that attracts many people.
French country design is more of a style than a set of specifics. The rural homes of France that provide the basis for French country style are diverse in all but their charm. One common trait is the multi-paned windows extending to the floor, which are called French windows and that are used like doors, inside and out. The kitchen is enormous and comfortable, with exposed, sturdy beams and tiled floors. The living room is also large, often with a fireplace.
Mediterranean style favors stucco as it weathers well, especially in damp or sea-side areas), as well as bay windows or narrow, deep windows and doors flanked by slat-board shutters and painted vividly. Ceramic tile flooring, airy, large open living areas are also hallmarks of Mediterranean design.
Mistakes that could cost you money
Not researching your designer and checking them out thoroughly could put you in a bad situation. Be sure to verify their qualifications and previous work. Be clear about your expectations and have an understanding of what you want. Also having a proper contract or letter of agreement will make the difference in how your room turns out, either according to your wants or theirs. Watch out for decorators who offer free services. These can actually be a manufacturer's representative that pushes certain products. Besides narrowing your options, you may pay more in the long run. A flat-fee decorator might look like a great bargain on the outset, but make sure that this person won't insist on acting as your exclusive buying agent. They may steer you toward products that are marked up or for which they get a commission. Always check prices you get from your decorator against retail. Hiring an hourly professional might sound more expensive, but the per-hour arrangement lets you dissolve your relationship at any time and gives you more freedom and control. With a flat-fee decorator, you pay for the entire job, even if you part ways early on. A decorator might charge you to shop for samples (paint chips, plumbing fixtures, fabric samples, carpet squares) or do research. Keep that in mind when getting your bids.
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