As an interior decorator, you know a great deal about furniture placement, painting, and accessorizing (just to name a few!). And when it comes to home renovation, clients depend on you to completely overhaul their space. Since these projects require careful planning, clients will typically pay quite a bit of money for this service.
So what should you keep in mind while renovating for your clients? Follow these 4 tips for a smooth and organized reno!
1. Know the scope of work
For any interior décor job, it’s vital to understand what will be involved. In the first meetings with your client, take careful notes on why they want to renovate a space, what they hope it will look like, and how they hope to use it after the renovation.
Next, delve into the budget. Encourage your clients to go window shopping so they have a realistic sense of what things cost before committing to a renovation. This will also inspire them! It’s also important to get labour estimates as soon as possible so clients know what everything will cost well in advance.
Renovations are already stressful enough – you don’t want to surprise them at any point with hidden costs!
Create a timeline for yourself (and for your client). Knowing exactly what’s expected of you as the interior decorator will help you manage your client’s expectations. Renovations take a long time, and there are so many small, yet incredibly important details involved. Put everything down on paper before you do any work and you’ll be much better off.
2. Prep carefully
Before starting any renovation work, be sure to take the time to help your clients protect their belongings. A great way to protect furniture is by taping plastic on it or using drop cloths. Protect electronics these plastic or move them to other rooms entirely.
If possible, help clients remove their valuables and put it in storage or at a friend or family member’s home for safe keeping. This will give them peace of mind throughout the renovation – your clients won’t have to worry about their personal belongings while work is being done!
Renovations are also an excellent time for your clients to get organized and declutter! If they’re deciding which items to protect during a renovation, they’ll likely start thinking about their space in a different way. Encourage them to organize different rooms, and help put systems in place to make sure they stay organized after their renovations.
3. Be safe
Your job is to recognize the potential of a space and oversee the renovations. You want the finished room to be to exactly what your client wants. However, you also have a responsibility to create a safe environment for your clients. While it goes without saying that safety is paramount when working on a home decorating project, it’s especially important when it comes to home renovations.
Flying debris and dust are just two highly dangerous things that will occur when a home is undergoing an overhaul. Renovations turn a living space into a construction zone, and it’s often easier for a family to live somewhere else for the duration of the reno.
Suggest a hotel, or that they stay with family or friends. If your client does decide to take their family and go elsewhere, be sure to keep in close contact with them about the status of their home. They’ll want to know when they can plan to return, and will want to be kept in the loop about any changes or delays to the work timeline you agreed on.
When being mindful about safety, don’t forget to count yourself in! You’ll be highly involved in the work being done, so be sure to take precautions when you’re in the workspace, like wearing a hard hat or safety glasses.
4. Stay positive!
Renovations can be incredibly stressful. Homes become a noisy, dusty, and messy work area and having displaced homeowners can create serious chaos.
As the designer, adopting a positive, calm attitude throughout the project will rub off on your clients. You’ll be working closely with them, so it’s important not to show any stress. By not sweating the small stuff (although it may not be “small stuff” at all!), you’ll build a strong relationship with your clients that is centered on trust and respect. They’ll know their home is in good hands – you’re not frazzled about the project, and they’ll be more likely to hire you again as a result.
Interior decorators face challenging situations on a daily basis. Showing your client that you can take everything in stride and stay stress-free will go a long way – and hopefully gain you some referrals!
If you want to succeed as an interior decorator, don’t miss these best practices for good client communication!