- What does an interior decorator do?
- When do I need an interior decorator?
- Why do I need an interior decorator?
- How involved will I be in the design process?
- How do I prepare for our initial conversation?
- Do I have to use your contractors?
- How long until I have a completed home, or project?
- And what about Gated Communities? And why would I need an interior decorator for this?
- Do I need a budget?
- What are backorders? And how do they affect me?
- What areas does NLI consult in and service?
- How does Nikki Levy Interiors charge for services?
- Who pays suppliers?
- Do I have to pay commission on all items purchased through the design process?
- How do returns work?
- What are the Freight and Delivery Fees?
What does an interior decorator do?
- An interior decorator’s main function is to take your dream space and make it into a reality. By understanding your lifestyle, and using that knowledge, an interior decorator will create a space that is both practical and beautiful. An interior decorator weaves a home together, within budget, time restrictions, practical considerations – all while pursuing beauty.
- Identifies, selects and sources the appropriate products and interior design elements by understanding your needs, knowing what’s available, and where to source from.
- Directly communicates with suppliers, design studios, showrooms, specialty stores and trade-only vendors to source the best quality and most suited design elements that best reflect your vision.
- Transforms your vision, preferences and designs into tangible layouts, colors, products and services, which all combine for the greatest effect and the most beautiful result.
Optimizes interior design elements and products to maximize your budget based on your preferences and style.
When do I need an interior decorator?
- The earlier the better!
- For a new construction, make contact with an interior decorator to discuss your interior design vision, as soon as you’ve chosen your home-site, before any design element selections are made.
- For remodelling, as soon as you start thinking of reconfiguring. Whether it’s your kitchen, or bathroom or any room in your home or office, make contact with an interior decorator to help you think through the interior design and layout – well before any cabinets or floors are even chosen.
- If you’re looking at redecorating, an interior decorator can look at which pieces need to be changed, and which can be maintained, modified or repurposed.
- For new construction in Gated Community projects, as soon as the contract is signed. A decorator well versed in dealing with developers will help you make selections and ensure your budget is being used wisely.
Why do I need an interior decorator?
- In using a skilled interior decorator, the end result will be a home that tells a story, where each space relates to the next, and where the home is looked at as a whole, rather than each room in isolation. The overwhelming stress of selections within a home can be daunting in itself, so it helps to have a professional there, who pieces together each item as part of a whole.
- Makes the entire process more enjoyable, fun and creative. (“My happy place is surrounded by wallpaper and fabrics, and I have converted so many!” – Nikki Levy)
- Maximises the beauty or theme or look of the space needing a makeover. For some people, it may be difficult to look at a home in a three dimensional way. As a person who is not exposed to the possibilities, it is very hard for people to see all the options available to them. Sometimes just moving a piece of furniture changes a room completely.
- You’ll keep within your budget because an experienced interior decorator can envisage the end-game, and pre-empt costs, as well as communicate any possible surprises that may pop up along the way.
- Gives professional advice on style definition and clarity of interior design preferences.
- Assists in refinement of a color palette.
- Gives focus and will guide a client on the selection of all interior design facets: furniture, lighting, wallpaper, taps, cabinets, window treatments, art … just to name a few.
- Finds unique décor elements for your project because they have insight into industry-only products best suited to your home or office, and a network of suppliers to source from.
- Makes the most of the space available because of their specialised skills and training on how to optimise the use of space, in order to balance form and function.
- Saves you time and removes stress because you don’t need to oversee contractor and vendor scheduling.
How involved will I be in the design process?
- As much or as little as you want!
- Some people prefer less involvement when it comes to the task of remodelling and redecorating, while others want to work closely with an interior designer or home décor specialist.
- An experienced interior decorator should guide you in the right direction based on your level of involvement and end-goal, doing as much or as little as you would like.
How do I prepare for our initial conversation?
- Bring clippings from magazines and photos of items and décor you find appealing. Pinterest and Houzz are great places to start. But even photos on your phone, or torn out magazine pages are great sources of inspiration.
- Bring color swatches, styles or effects you like.
- Know your objective and lifestyle or corporate needs.
- Know what you want to accomplish, what the room or house should do for you when finished. For example, should it be formal, casual, traditional or contemporary?
- Establish a time frame.
- Determine a budget and be honest. A ball-park figure is a great start.
Do I have to use your contractors?
- One of the many benefits of using an experienced decorator is that it is often recommended to use contractors from a preferred list. These are usually contractors that the designer has worked with for years and has a great working relationship. These contractors have already proven their reliability and ability to deliver. Sometimes though, new emerging contractors are worth introducing to clients.
- It is up to the client ultimately to decide on who to contract with for contractor services, however most decorators will only work with their own vendors and contractors, this ensures that the project goes smoothly and is of a certain quality.
- As an example, NLI uses specific vendors for soft goods (drapery, wallpaper), cabinetry, and cabinet refinishing.
How long until I have a completed home, or project?
To answer this question, multiple aspects of the design process must be considered:
- What is the scope of the project? Does the project involve construction and remodelling of the interior of the home? Is it a refresh of furniture and drapery?
- What are the elements involved?
- A kitchen and bathroom will take between 6-14 weeks to manufacture and install, taking into account the manufacture of cabinets, fabrication of stone tops, plumbing, tile install, and cabinetry install.
- New floors can take between 1-4 weeks depending on the material used. Some questions that impact timing are: Is it a stock order or special order? Is demolition of the current floor required or are we laying on top of the current floor?
- Furniture and drapery can take between 6-12 weeks from order.
- In order to ensure that the completed end result is perfect, it is important to be patient. While many people want instant gratification, interior design projects that are nurtured into fruition are always a truer reflection of the essence of the families that live there, or the people that work there.
And what about Gated Communities? And why would I need an interior decorator for this?
- To keep up with the increase in gated community developments, developers buy land and sell off-plan. This means new home-owners are faced with a long list of interior design decisions, where all elements need to be reviewed, considered and selected by the new home owner.
- This detailed and extensive process includes: choice of developer models (4-6 house designs), layout and architecture, and Design Centre selections which include fixtures, fittings, pools, kitchens, baths, flooring, doors, paint and so on.
- NLI offers a comprehensive gated community solution to assist new home owners in the often stressful and overwhelming decision-making process. NLI’s services include guiding, advising and selecting everything that will go into the new home – including the electrical plan.
- Because of NLI’s extensive experience with some of Florida’s largest developers, she advises new home owners on what should and should not be done through the developers, identifying areas of cost savings, and in other instances, where it is prudent to go with the developers.
Do I need a budget?
- Yes, Yes…YES
- Often a budget will dictate what can be done within a home. If a client does not have any budget to provide a decorator, they may be sorely disappointed when a beautiful design is presented, but completely over the client’s price-point.
- There is an extensive range of pricing for interior design and home décor products – from the practical and utilitarian to the artistic and avant-garde.
- Because prices vary widely an experienced interior decorator should strive to allocate your budget so that it is spent wisely.
- Knowing the bounds of your financial budget enables an experienced decorator to work most effectively for you.
- Time is saved, because re-selections are time consuming.
What are backorders? And how do they affect me?
- This basically means you may need to wait longer for your item because the supplier is out of stock.
- Usually vendors from which an interior decorator sources will communicate the expected delivery windows and order status.
- On occasion, some items may be backordered and this can impact the timing and completion of the project.
- An interior decorator cannot control this, but should keep a client informed of the interior design options available to them (such as re-selecting items, or possibly terminating the order – subject to the policies of the vendor).
What areas does NLI consult in and service:
- The South Florida area: Boca Raton, Highland Beach, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach.
How does Nikki Levy Interiors charge for services?
Engagement Fee, which includes:
- 3D design layout
- Coordinating contractors for detailed specifications for the project
- Sample selection (furniture, finishes, paints, draperies, tiles, etc.)
- Gathering costs from vendors and contractors
- Liaising between contractors/vendors and clients
This fee is due when you sign the interior design agreement and with any new order which includes an Initial Concept Fee
- NLI charges a commission. This is a percentage of the cost of a physical item purchased and/or on construction services.
- If NLI receives a Trade Discount, it is passed on to the client. However, in some cases, the right selection is only available at retail price. In this case, NLI’s commission will be based on the retail price.
- Our commission is always based on what the client pays for the item (whether discounted or retail).
- All discounts or rebates are passed on to the client.
Fee on Products and Services:
- NLI charges a 20% commission on all fixtures, furniture and other all design elements purchased.
- NLI charges a 12.5% fee on all construction services.
Who pays suppliers?
- The vendor/supplier invoices out the client directly, and the client pays the vendor/supplier directly for the product or service.
- NLI will invoice the client separately for NLI’s commission on purchased products.
- As you are purchasing the products or services directly from each vendor (including without limitation, furniture, drapery, fixtures and fittings) NLI is not responsible for these products or services, or any warranty claims or their performance.
- In an effort to secure the best prices for you, NLI has accounts with certain manufacturers that do not sell directly to consumers. These manufacturers will only accept payments from NLI. In such situations, you are required to pay NLI in advance for the full amount of the goods or services. NLI will, of course, provide you with proof of the paid manufacturer invoice.
Do I have to pay commission on all items purchased through the design process?
- All items sourced through NLI are commissionable, which includes fittings, fixtures, furniture and other items, and items clients find during the design process requiring NLI’s specialised advice.
- Our work with clients is together and separately, on the execution of design concepts and ideas. We achieve the best results for clients when there is a mutual understanding that collaboration is key for a beautiful and successful project outcome.
How do returns work?
- Returns are based on the policies of the vendor from which you purchased the product or service. NLI has no ability to change or modify these policies.
- All custom orders placed with vendors are typically non-returnable.
What are the Freight and Delivery Fees?
- This is vendor dependent, but if there is a freight or delivery fee, it is usually specified on the invoice when you make the purchase.
- Certain vendors cannot confirm the cost of shipping beforehand. For example, when it is product and weight dependent (shear fabric vs leather drapery), the weight of the fabric cannot be determined at the time of purchase. The cost of fabric and wallpapers etc. are usually minimal.
- NLI does not charge any commission on delivery and freight. And NLI does not mark-up the delivery fee. The delivery is a separate line item that stands alone.
- Client is responsible for the payment of all freight and delivery fees.
- NLI have some relationships where the vendor does not charge, or may even discount the freight and delivery fee. In such cases we pass this full cost saving to the client. NLI would sometimes be able to communicate this in advance.
- As is standard in the industry, items are often purchased directly from the manufacturer. Manufacturers will only deliver to receiving warehouses, which accept the goods, inspect them and then store them until client is ready for the delivery. This is a separate cost from shipping.
- A good rule of thumb to estimate shipping and delivery is 10-15% of the cost of the goods.