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Your Personal Design Style

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What is the first source for information when people are looking for home design ideas? Magazines? Networks that specialize in home improvement and interior designing methods? Or do most people go with their own instincts? Hopefully, our own instincts and tastes come first and other resources are filtered through what we already have in our mind's eye. Even if creating a new bedroom design or choosing new colors for the den is overwhelming and you decide to employ the services of an interior designer, you will still want to have a solid foundation your designer can build on. An excellent designer enhances the surroundings and draws upon the homeowner's energy for inspiration. This is especially important since you will have to carefully select the designer who can envision your dream room and design it so that it's a true reflection of your energy and personality.

An interior designer must consider factors on many levels, including building regulations, engineering blueprints on the structure, fire codes, and other local ordinances. Usually, a designer is just a part of a larger project with various players including contractors and representatives from local governments. Opportunities are beginning to open up for those designers who wish to have a hand in the more permanent aspects of a home or business, including the home’s layout prior to construction, locations of built-in storage areas and bookcases and even walkways and other aesthetic aspects outside the home. The designer, especially during new-home construction, will often take an inventory of those who will be living in the home and will seek information such as number of children in the home, age of the homeowners (this plays a part in determining things such as room for a nursery if the couple is in child-bearing years), and the lifestyles of the homeowners. Whether the homeowners entertain guests, travel a lot, or are anticipating elderly parents to move in at some point are but a few of the considerations designers keep in mind.

Educational requirements vary from one region of the country to another. Many interior-design firms require a working knowledge of CAD (computer-aided drafting). CAD was once available exclusively to engineers and drafters, but now those in the design field have realized the benefits of using CAD for their own businesses. Often, a bachelor’s degree is preferred, if not required. There are many varying apprenticeships some choose to participate in before striking out on their own. Data from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design has over 250 accredited schools within its database. Those choosing positions in this field usually remain in their chosen careers through retirement.

So what are the latest trends? Where do you even start when you look at a room you wish to renovate? Consider the room’s purpose. If you’re wishing to update your kitchen, decide if the update will include new appliances; will there be minor updates, or major renovations, with perhaps a new wall or the removal of a wall? Once you’ve decided the extent of the renovation, you’re better prepared to move forward.

If you simply want to update a stale look, most likely you’ll choose a new color scheme and perhaps new window treatments. Don’t forget the power in simplicity. A crisp and clean look might mean shades of butter for the cabinets with a pure white as the base. Curtains might provide the color to bring the new look alive. You might consider the same pale yellow, but with accent colors such as red (think cherry red) or maybe a brisk blue that is only slightly muted. New hardware is also a great way to update your kitchen without spending a lot of money. New drawer and cabinet pulls add just enough to change the entire feel of your kitchen. Remember the details—floor kicks and molding shouldn’t be left out.

A den or living area can have new life breathed into it with a new area rug or a new piece of furniture. New slip covers are still popular as well. What if you could change the feel of a room with less than twenty dollars? Sound impossible? Consider this: change the wattage in your light bulbs. Many people prefer the look of well-placed lamps versus overhead lighting options. If this is you, consider using lower wattage bulbs in your lamps. This invites guests to get comfortable. It provides a cozy feeling that’s both welcoming and relaxing. And if you see something in a magazine, look for ways you can incorporate the look into your own home. If you see a particularly pleasing color combination, tear the page out and place it in a folder with other ideas you’ve come across. Should you choose to hire a decorator, this folder will provide insight for your designer.

Whether you’re searching for a credible and experienced interior designer or you’re considering this as a career choice, the possibilities are endless and the market for talented designers is wide open.
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