Looking for an Interior designer for your new home in Bangalore? Read on to know what you should expect from your interior designer and how you can ensure that the designer engagement delivers the value you seek.

When working with an interior designer, home makers usually expect just good woodwork and carpentry. The Q&A below discusses why customers should expect more from their designers and why that is not only good for the project but also for the Home Maker – Designer engagement.
In addition good interior design can be life changing for the occupants and helps in creating a living culture that stays with the family throughout their life

Some time back a journalist with one of the newspapers had send me the interview questionnaire below for an article she was doing on what home owners should keep in mind as they look for an interior designer for their home. Excerpts of this interview did appear in the publication but as with all press articles, edited and misquoted, a number of key points we had discussed got missed out. I found this questionnaire in my computer while cleaning up and felt that with so many new homes in Bangalore coming up for possession, this information is something that most readers of this blog would need and appreciate.

As always will welcome your feedback and comments

Cheers

Nandita

PS: If there is a question you would like to ask then please click on “Leave a comment” on the left pane of this blog post. I go through each input that comes in from the readers and endeavour to respond within 24 hours.


1.   How can an interior designer help home owners decide on the best designs for their home?

Most customers often equate interior design to good looking furniture & carpentry. In reality good design incorporates 5 elements, namely – Furniture, Furnishing, Lighting, Painting and Décor. A good interior designer helps weave these 5 elements around the life and lifestyle of the owning family – things such as hobbies, presence of elderly at home, grocery buying schedules, guest movement etc. to create tailor made, cozy and warm living spaces for the family. Hence when working with a designer one should expect more than just good carpentry and looks.

2.   How crucial is the role of an interior designer while designing a home?

The crucial part really is the knowledge and skills that the designer brings in around the 5 elements described above and her capability to understand the lifestyle requirements of the family and build around it. In addition, since the interiors industry in India is still extremely unorganized with dearth of quality workmen, working with a designer helps as the designer brings in a qualified team of workmen, and a tested supply chain that minimizes chances of spurious material and work delays. That said, customers just looking for someone to execute pre-determined designs should avoid hiring a designer as the lack of creativity may lead to detachment of the designer resulting in poor quality work.

3.   What factors must a home owner take in before selecting the right designer for their home?

When evaluating Interior Designers for their home, customers tend to compare cost estimates first, however estimates can be misleading and built on completely different assumptions. My advice is to first look at whether your wavelength matches with that of the designer, whether in your initial meetings you get a feeling that the designer will be able to create the positive living space where you would love to spend the next 8 – 10 years of your life. Second would be to look at whether the designer has dedicated workmen and skills to deliver across the 5 elements – Furniture (Woodwork) Furnishing, Painting, Lighting & Decor. Third would be to check for the extent of personal involvement of the principal designer for your project. Last, but not the least, your home needs to reflect your taste and lifestyle hence it is best to avoid choosing designs based on a set catalog from the designer or from the internet.

4.   Where can home owners find the right interior designer? What are some of the essential research home owners must undertake before zeroing on the interior designer?

Profiles of nearly all designers are nowadays available on the Web, In addition there are aggregator websites like Houzz  where most good designers showcase their work. Go through past projects and any published literature on the designer on the internet and find the ones that align to your taste. Schedule an initial meeting with the designer to discuss the his/ her approach to interior design and determine whether there is a match of wavelength – something that we discussed above. Also check what material they will use to execute the work within your requirements and budget

5.   As collaboration is key in any field, how can the interior designer and the home owner work together to make the design come to life?

Absolutely, any turnkey interior project involving design and execution requires a fair amount of dedication and time from the designer and lifestyle inputs from each member of the home owning family. Keeping customers engaged during the design process helps in aligning their needs with the final outcome which ensures that there are no last minute surprises. Building a home is also a very personal experience and something that families do only once or twice in their lifetime, hence it is important that it comes out right for the family. It is therefore important that the designer interacts with the specific member of the family who would occupy a given space in the home, for example for the kids room it is important to talk to the kids to understand their hobbies, similarly for homes with live in parents a discussion with the elderly is necessary to discuss special needs due to their age or state of health.

6.   What are some of the first things that home owners must tell their interior designer before moving ahead with planning the designs?

In the first discussion it is important to communicate a clear budget one has planned for the interiors as that helps driving a focused discussion on the options and next steps. It is also important that the designer knows your lifestyle and tastes, hobbies, the kind of white goods that one plans to have at home etc. This is critical input that helps the designer tailor-make the home around your requirements. Lastly it is important to inform the designer one’s own visualisation and theme of the home, such as Whites – (Contemporary/ Straight Line Theme) , Browns (Victorian/ Classic Theme), Grey (Zen Theme), Blue (Aqua Theme), etc. so that the designer can build around it saving multiple design iterations and time.

7.   Similarly, is there anything that interior designers must inform home owners?

Yes, the designer needs to clearly articulate their own design style, the material that he/she plans to use for the interiors, the payment schedule, the milestones on which joint inspections would be done, how the designs will be shared – will these be in 3D or 2D and what input is expected at which stage from the customer

8.   How does the designing process go about?

Below is the typical design engagement procedure for a residential Interior Design project

Complete site measurement —> Detailed Requirements Gathering (Needs/ Taste/ Lifestyle) —> First level designs in 3D —> Design Walkthrough —> Second Level & Final Design —> Design sign-off —> Begin Execution.

9.   What are some of the misconceptions that people have about approaching an interior designer? How can it be overcome?

A) Most people believe that interior designers in Bangalore and elsewhere are expensive and that they will not be able to afford one. Given realistic budgets and expectations almost everyone can afford to get their home done by a designer. A designer also brings in explicit expertise to fine tune your thoughts and specialist workmen to ensure that those thoughts end up as matching output. Also the fact that you ride on the supply chain efficiencies of the designer will ensure genuine material, timely execution and lower cost

B) The second misconception that home makers have is that Interior designers do not take customer’s needs into account and force showcase designs on customers, not in line with the customer requirements: This has been a historical issue in the interior design industry where designers have sometimes gone overboard forcing their own taste and the desire to showcase their creativity against the needs of the customers. On the other hand, some customers prefer and more than happy to have their homes designed as a designer’s showcase. Customers hence need take a judgement call during the initial meeting and have an open discussion with their prospective designer and decide accordingly

C) One of the biggest misconceptions and something that has prevented good design going mainstream is the belief that Interior design is glorified carpentry and one can himself/ herself do the designs or copy designs from the internet and get these executed through a carpenter or give these to the designer to execute. Do not appoint a designer if you are looking just for execution of pre-determined designs, good designers need a fair amount of flexibility for the sake of the home makers’ own benefit as well as a creative giveback from each assignment.

D) Lastly with the Modular Furniture revolution in Bangalore, (you will find a modular kitchen shop nearly every 200 meters in Bangalore) a lot of folks believe that interior design is about modular furniture. As we discussed above, the field of Interior Design encompasses the five elements of Furniture, Furnishing, Painting, Lighting and Decor and good design requires deep understanding of the customers’ taste, lifestyle and needs to create warm, friendly & customised living spaces

10. How important is a well-thought out design for a home? Could you give some tips on how a good design can be made?

A well-designed home can be life changing for the residing family. Good design not only helps enhance the mood and positivity of a given space but also ensures that the occupants to live comfortably and safely. As an example, child friendly and elder friendly designs can help prevent injury and fall that, for the elderly, can cripple self-esteem and longevity. Good design helps create a certain living culture and a feel within the home that stays with the occupants throughout their life.

Planning to decorate your walls with Art – Here are some best practices

All walls are not built equal when it comes to hanging art frames, you need to choose your walls carefully when hanging art, as there is nothing more dampening than seeing great art on the wrong wall. So, how to choose? Follow these 5 simple steps…

This article comes to us from our partner Artburt. Artburt has been passionately promoting the cause of Digital Photography as an art form since the last few years. In a discussion with Sriharsha & Siri (Artburt’s founders) last week we briefly were talking about some of the best practices to follow when choosing the wall on which to hang the artwork and a week later I get this ping from Siri that Sriharsha has penned down a formal blog post on the topic. Do appreciate you taking the initiative to do this Sri…thank you. So without much ado…here goes.

Nandita

The 5 simple steps to choosing the right wall to hang your precious art

1. Direction of Light: A room filled with loads of natural light is obviously the best  for enjoying your art. That said its very important that we also consider the direction of the light entering the room with respect to your art frame. Its important we avoid walls which have windows or doors opposite our art work or placing art on walls which have windows and doors. Art with windows opposite them tend to reflect light on the glass frame thereby minimising its visibility. On the other hand if we hang art on walls with windows or doors then the bright daylight pouring into the room will compete with our art distracting our gaze and minimising its impact. In this regard the best walls are those which are lit sideways. Always ensure that you choose walls which have windows or doors either to the right or left side when viewing your art work.

2. Size of Wall and Room: The size of your wall indirectly dictates the size of your art installation. As a thumb rule ensure your artwork covers about 1/3 of  your available wall horizontally, (meaning your wall should be big enough to accommodate about 3 art works of the same dimensions side by side on the wall). Anything smaller runs the risk of not standing out well enough to grab the viewers attention, and a bigger art work can over power the setting. Another important factor to consider is the size of the room and the horizontal viewing distance available to view your art. The ideal horizontal viewing distance to apprise your art work is determined by multiplying the horizontal and vertical dimensions of your art. If for example you plan on having a 2ft x 3ft image then you need to ensure you have at least 6ft of viewing distance to appreciate the art as a whole. 

3. Orientation of your Wall: When choosing walls its also important to note the aspect ratio of the walls. Is the wall in portrait orientation or landscape orientation? Vertical frames suit walls which have a portrait orientation where the wall height is more than the width and similarly horizontal images look good on walls with a landscape orientation where the wall width is more than the height. While there is nothing that you can do here to change the aspect ratio of the wall, you can consciously decided on the frame orientation when choosing art for your walls.

4. Color of your wall: Any wall hosting your art should not overpower the art with bold colours and loud patterns. This is not restricted to just the wall hosting your art but the entire room which houses the art work.

5. Other wall decorations: For art to grow in our minds we need to give it room  in an un competing environment. Your walls therefore need to be devoid of all other embellishment and provide a clean uncluttered visual access to the work.

While these points are no rocket science, having an idea of the right “ART WALL” will go a long way in maximising your investment in art and ensuring you provide your visual statement pieces the maximum opportunity to uplift the mood of your decor.

PS: If there is a question you would like to ask then please click on “Leave a comment” on the left pane of this blog post. I go through each input that comes in from the readers and endeavour to respond within 24 hours.