What is Full Service Design?

May 16, 2014

In my business I have many clients that want full service interior design, which is a true turnkey experience.  What exactly does full service design mean?  It’s about letting the designer handle all the details from research, product selection, purchasing and project management of all the logistics to complete your project.  They provide custom design, to-the-trade products and a team of tradesmen to do the work so that you don’t have to worry about any of the specifics.

First of all, they meet with you, the client, in person and spend a great deal of time getting to know your likes, needs, budget, lifestyle and desires.  Their designs will reflect your personality as each home should be unique to the people who live there.  It’s their job to create a design that expresses the distinct qualities of the client while balancing form with function. The designer will work with you on a one-on-one basis to create a new living space that is customized for you, and an experienced designer will have the knowledge to create a design plan for you that will not only take your style into account but also function, safety and sustainability issues.

They will do all the research to source all the finishes, furnishings and fixtures needed for your design. They will often custom design some of the items for your new space rather than ordering something manufactured by a retailer, in order to create a unique look for you.  Then they will order all the other items they have specified for your project and handle all the details to follow-up on their delivery.  They’ll put together a team of craftsman and contractors who are all specialists in their fields to work on your project.  This may include everyone from tile installers and plumbers to a drapery workroom and a cabinet/furniture maker.   With full service design, your design team will oversee these tradespeople and their work throughout the project.  They will provide detailed drawings to them explaining the design specifications.  They will provide samples or swatches to them to make sure that the tradespeople know what to expect when the product arrives, so there are no mistakes.  They will also make regular site visits or workroom visits to check on their progress and handle any issues that might come up.  Often, they will avoid issues by catching them before they arise.  If they aren’t able to catch it quickly enough, they will certainly handle it, and make sure it gets corrected.  This is one of the biggest advantages of having a designer involved on a remodeling project.  Because of their experience and knowledge of the process, they can frequently circumvent things from going wrong that could turn into costly mistakes.  You may pay more for full service interior design up front, but in the long run, it can save you a lot of money and/or stress. One thing is for sure; they will not walk away and leave you hanging with a partial remodel.  I’ve seen this happen to some people when the process was not going well and their contractor walked out on them.  That’s when they call a designer to step in and pick up the pieces.  Sure, there are some contractors that have a good sense of design and will tell you that they can do it all for you; that a designer is not necessary.  The question you need to ask yourself is: Can your contractor design your home as well as a trained professional?  You wouldn’t have your contractor represent you in court or clean your teeth,  just like you wouldn’t want your interior designer to install drywall or fix your computer.  A good contractor and a good interior designer will work together to achieve the best results.

All said and done, with a talented full service interior designer you will get an experience that is as stress-free as possible, considering it’s a remodel and you have construction going on around you for a period of time. You will save time, money and avoid making embarrassing or costly mistakes.  You will also have access to resources that are tried and true, and finally your home should end up as comfortable to live in as it is beautiful to look at.

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