I am so excited to introduce you all to our newest guest columnists, Caitlin and Caitlin. As much as I love interior design myself, I though it was time we brought in the professionals to teach us a thing or two about creating chic, livable spaces. Caitlin McCarthy and Caitlin Murray make up the young, fresh Los Angeles based interior design firm, Caitlin & Caitlin. The two of them met in design school years ago, and after realizing they were style soul sisters (who also happen to share the same name!), they promised they’d start a business together one day. Now, they’re living out that dream.
Caitlin and Caitlin here! For the first post, we wanted to talk about the perks of working with a designer and why it’s a luxury even the average person can afford—hopefully we can sprinkle some inspiration onto readers and make their dreams of living lovelier come true, too! One of the biggest myths about interior design is that it’s a service reserved for the elite. Yes, you have to be willing to spend a little money on new pieces and materials—otherwise there is no design to be had—but hiring a designer allows the process to be much more streamlined and affordable than if you go at it alone. Here’s why:
1. Hiring a designer doesn’t always add to the cost of your project. Designers get 15-35% off on almost everything we buy, and we pass those discounts on to you. One of the most common ways to bill a client is with the “cost-plus” method, meaning our fee is a percentage of everything that goes into the project. But the thing is, our fee is about the same as the designer discount we get from vendors and fabricators, so you end up just paying retail prices once our fee is included. Essentially, you are getting a full design service including renderings, furniture plans, color schemes and project management for the same amount of money you would spend on your own with no assistance or direction. And with no one to handle all the pesky sourcing, accounting, ordering and installing (also included in our fee!).
2. It’s in our best interest to find you deals. After the above fee structure explanation, you might think that designers would be inclined to pick pricier pieces for a project in order to make a bigger cut. For the large majority of professionals, this is absolutely not true. Most projects have a budget, and in order to maximize the end result, we spend a lot of time hunting down the best steals and most affordable solutions. Sometimes that means a trip to the flea market to make a coffee table happen, otherwise our design can’t come together in all it’s glory. It’s our baby just as much as yours!
3. You’ll save money in the long run. By having a plan going into the design process, you avoid buying pieces that don’t fit, don’t make sense or that won’t stand the test of time. Some people chose to build their décor slowly with one element here and there. This works when you have an edited, eclectic taste, but that instinct doesn’t come naturally to most. Designers can see the big picture objectively and give you a road map that will help you avoid feeling regretful about the bulky bedside tables not complementing your mid-century modern credenza.
4. We know about all of the best resources. It can be overwhelming just trying to find the perfect upholstered headboard at the right price, not to mention going through that hunt for each piece in your entire home. In fact, sorting through the endless options is literally a full time job…that’s why we have our careers! Designers have go-to sources for everything from custom furniture to funky accessories and are constantly expanding the list. We have relationships with trade-only showrooms, vintage dealers and subcontractors who keep us up to date on the latest lines and give us insane discounts on our orders. It’s a win-win for everyone!