Time to DIY or hire a professional?
Why hire a professional architect, designer or colour consultant?
If you are planning to undertake more than cosmetic changes, professional architects and designers can add an extra dimension to your project through their knowledge of building materials and processes and their unique combination of design and project management skills.
An experienced colour consultant can help you explore broader colour options with confidence and bring together your favourite colour options into a harmonious palette. While colour consultancy professionals will not generally assist in the technical aspects of the project they will often team with other design professionals to give a holistic service if the customer requests this.
The right design professional will provide:
More importantly, by combining all of the above skills, the right design professional will minimise stress by helping you to achieve your desired result. One of the most important functions of a design professional is their objectivity - literally their ability to sit back and objectively discuss your project with you. When you are planning changes to your home, it is easy to become too focused on the smaller details of the project rather than seeing the big picture. The design professional will be a useful 'sounding board' for your ideas and ensure that all elements of the design work cohesively together.
To get the best quality job you need to hire the best people. Make sure the design professionals who work on your home are experienced professionals by checking their references and other projects they have completed.
Get involved and stay involved
Of course, they also need the technical and creative skills to complete your project. Ask friends, family and neighbours for personal recommendations or contact professional societies for recommendations. Once you have reduced the potential candidates to a shortlist of 3-4 design professionals, arrange a meeting with each so that you can choose the right design professional for you. Check the references of any design professionals you are interested in and arrange to view their portfolio and/or visit other projects they have completed that are similar to yours. If possible, seek a second opinion from a trusted source who has recently employed the professional.
The initial meeting with the design professional should include all those in your household involved in the project. This is your opportunity to table all of your collective ideas and minimises confusion and disappointment later. Often two partners will have different views of the project that may only come to light when agreeing on the scope of the project with the design professional.
The design professional you hire will have a major impact on the final result you achieve, so take the time to choose the right person.
Get a quote
Request initial sketch plans to give you an insight into how the design professional views your project. This will assist you to assess their suitability for your project.
Don't be afraid to question. Good design professionals will outline their plans for the project. Question anything you do not understand, otherwise you may be agreeing to, and potentially paying for, unnecessary and undesired features.
Get it in writing
This is just the beginning
Remember, the work does not stop once you have selected your design professional. The more you put into your project, the more likely the design professional will be able to translate your dreams into three dimensional reality.
Feedback is also an important part of the design process. Each project you undertake will be a learning curve not only for you, but also for your design professional. Debriefing the project is important, particularly if you plan to undertake more design projects in the future.
A note on architects