Touch is a powerful sense. The perceived feel of a material or surface alone can dictate how we experience a space. Think about it – when browsing through interior design magazines or online publications, we can almost feel the plush carpet between our toes or imagine gliding our hands over the sleek marble countertop. The visual cues and millisecond experiences send signals to the brain that immediately affect how a space affects us. And that is the power of texture.
When designing an interior space, the effects that obvious foundational elements – color, shape, pattern – have on oneself are easier to articulate. For example, in the image below, the dark colors immediately tell us this dining room is bold, edgy. At the same time, the pattern of the rug and natural tones from the wood and leather chairs soften the overall appearance.
But more is affecting how you perceive this room. It can't be defined by color or pattern. It's texture – another foundation to interior design. Observe the "wood" elements. The console table is sleek and reflective while the dining table has grooves like natural wood. The two pieces give a different perceived feel and style which adds to the experience of the room. This space was designed for a couple who had two different styles: modern and boho chic. With that in mind, see if you can point out how texture draws out both of our clients' unique styles.
To understand how to incorporate texture in design, one must, first, be able to define it. Merriam-Webster defines texture as "the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something." Often times, people understand texture only in the obvious form, such as velvet couches or geometric wall art. In truth, everything has texture, which means one has to decide how the textures of a space will interact with one another (or the relationship between textures in a space).
Have you ever walked into a space and thought, "This room is heavy (or bulky)," or, "Why does this room seem flat?" That's typically the result of overusing a certain type of texture. In general, you always want some interior design elements to pop — make a statement — while others support the space. It's all about balance. Just like a movie or play, you can't have a coherent story with a bunch of leading roles and no supporting characters, or vise versa. So you have know how to properly add elements to your space that will say something about you and your style.
How you decide to orchestrate texture in your space is entirely up to you and the scope of your interior design project. When remodeling or undergoing a new build, you can incorporate eye-catching texture in the elements of your space, such as 3D tiles in the wall or matte finishes on the cabinetry. If your existing space seems loud and crowded, think about removing some elements or replacing them with softer, less blaring textures. Remember, it's all about a balanced space, and louder textures weigh more than subtler ones.
When it comes to modern design, the constant desire to have only sleek lines can oftentimes create a flat experience. In this case, adding bold textures can really liven a space. If you want to keep the colder (and we say this in the nicest way possible!), more chic look, try adding sculptural elements, such as art or wall finishes. For those who enjoy their modern spaces but love some pizzazz, one can never go wrong with adding some fluff, like a luxurious rug or throw or possibly a furry pillow or chair.
What textures you use in your interior design project will greatly determine how others experience your space and, most importantly, how you experience your space. If you feel like this is still something you need help with, we're always here for you!
Choosing the right interior designer is no simple task. Many factors come into play that will shape the experience and overall outcome of the design. Additionally, depending on the scope of your project, you could be working with your designer for months, possibly years. That's why we believe it's important you find someone right for you. In order to do that, you need to know how interior designers differentiate themselves in terms of service and style. To help you feel confident about your choice, here are some things to consider when hiring your interior designer.
First and foremost, you want an interior designer who can give you a design that matches your aesthetic (or your business’s brand, for you commercial clients). Even if you don’t know your style, per se, you can easily determine if a designer’s style matches yours by looking at their portfolio. If their work speaks to you, add them to your list! You want someone who’s skilled in designing your aesthetic so they can personalize their design to you.
Another factor to consider is the level of service you’d like your interior designer to perform. For example, we at Beyond Interior Design are a full-service design firm. Therefore, simply put, when we take over a project, we handle everything — from design to build-out and everything in between. If you don’t have the know-how and time to put together a cohesive space, full-service design is a great option for you.
On the other hand, you may want a designer to consult on your space, giving you ideas that you can later execute. Or you could, like many people, lie in the in-between and want a designer to create the design while you make the purchases and take over the build-out. No matter the level of service you’re looking for, there are designers out there for you. You just need to know what level of service fits your needs.
To further hone in on a designer that’s right for your project, consider what special interests or design goals you have and compare them to those of the designers you're considering. Are you someone who wants a connected house, aesthetically and wirelessly? If so, perhaps you want a designer experienced in incorporating smart-home technology into their designs. Do you live a natural and holistic life? Maybe you'd benefit from a designer who has biophilic and sustainable design principles at their core. The more aligned you are with your designer, the easier it is for them to create a space personalized to you. Even if they don't advertise their specialty, ask them more about what inspires them. The discovery process is a two-way street so take advantage of it!
When considering the cost of design, you must take into account the designer's fees as well as the implementation of the design. Still, understanding the cost of design can be tricky because numerous factors come into play. A designer's vendors (i.e. sources for furnishings, finishes, etc.) will heavily impact the overall cost, as will the level of service. With some services, such as e-design or consultation packages, the design cost is stated upfront, and you have more control over the vendors you purchase from. Therefore, the total cost of design is easier to grasp. For full-service design firms, it’s more complex, as a designer simply can’t provide an accurate project quote until after the products are sourced and the design is complete.
Don’t worry, there are still ways for you to understand if your budget matches the cost of a designer. For one, you can tell them the scope and desired budget of your project and ask if that's accomplishable by their firm. You could also determine if the designer has a project minimum and what that minimum is. We’ll use ourselves in another example. Because we typically design custom kitchens, we average at least $60-$100K for kitchen remodels. Additionally, we have a $50K project minimum. If those numbers are not in your budget this time around, that’s totally ok! But it’s helpful to understand that early on so you can make the right decision when selecting a designer.
THINGS TO ASK YOUR DESIGNER
Some interior design firms hire general contractors to oversee the build-out of a design while other designers have the credentials (i.e. contractor’s license) to manage the project themselves. Many benefits come from hiring a designer who will also project manage the buildout, including streamlined communication, accurate implementation, and shared industry discounts.
Most designers offer two types of fee structures, hourly or flat-fee, both of which are pretty straightforward. A designer either bills the clients for hours worked or creates a flat-fee based on estimated hours worked. Some clients really love the flat-fee because they know the number upfront. It’s important to understand that flat-fees are typically derived from estimated total hours plus hours for unforeseen issues or design edits. In other words, clients might pay for more hours than actually worked. Other people enjoying an hourly fee structure because they only pay for hours worked. They just don’t know the total cost of design fees until after services are complete.
Transparency is key, especially for hourly-fee firms, because you should know where your money is going. One thing we do at Beyond Interior Design is offer monthly invoices with detailed descriptions of all hours logged.
Now that you know what factors to consider when selecting your interior designer, you can confidently hire someone who will excel at your project. If that interior designer happens to be us, wonderful! We can't wait to speak with you more and start our journey together.