Do Interior Designers Alway Buy Expensive Stuff?

Do you have 5* taste and a 2* budget? People often have the perception that interior designers will go for the most expensive products. This really isn’t true (although there are charlatans in every industry). We always go for the product that we feel best fits the design and requirements of the client – if we are designing for a holiday home that is rarely used, we’ll look at less hardwearing fixtures, fittings and furniture. This perception usually stems from the fact our customers have never shopped for most of the products we regularly purchase, and therefor don’t really know the correct market price.

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A client recently said to us “I think the bathroom you are putting in is too Gaggenau – everything is too high quality, we’d like more Miele. Good middle of the range.”

The problem with that statement, is we really weren’t going for high end, by any stretch. We were going for solid middle-of-the-market stock, from an established brand. We won’t get the super cheap things from eBay for you, as we can’t guarantee their longevity. If we’re putting in a beautiful floor for you, we want to make sure we’re not then installing taps which will leak in their first year and require the floor to be taken up! The industry average bathroom sink tap set costs £320. Anything above that is high end. Anyone who has bought a toilet knows you buy them in parts. You might think that price is attached to the whole thing, but generally it’s just for the bowl. You’ll need to also purchase the cistern, seat, flush plate, waste pipe, connector etc. Because most people haven’t ever bought a shower, or taps, they just don’t really know where the standard value line lies, and it’s never fun to spend lots of money on the less “fun” aspect of a design, like shower glass or a toilet.

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You might, for example see a bath you like advertised on TV for something like £400. You show us a picture or send us a link and we included something similar in our design for £1000. At first, this looks like we’ve just encouraged you to spend more, but the real reason is probable more to do with the fact the advertised bath was just a bath. We’ve had to add a plug, taps, drainage, delivery and VAT. Then the one in the advert might have been cast iron, which would be too heavy for your 1st floor, and the cost of reinforcing the floorboards would send costs through the roof. We could have gone for plastic, but you like using bath bombs and salts, and they eat away at the surface, making the bath very difficult to clean in the future, so we’ve gone for the look you wanted in enamel, which is a little bit more expensive, but better suits your lifestyle and will save you time and money in the long run. We’ve also probably purchased it from a more reputable supplier who we know will replace it hassle free if there is a problem – after care is very important to us with all of our projects. We also tend to get trade discounts, which we pass on, which makes the more established brands more affordable.

Some designs can be scaled down, and you can achieve a similar look at a substantially cheaper price. But there are other costs to consider. In the next post, we’ll look at how you can get the look you want for less.

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