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How to Work with an Interior Designer

How to Work with an Interior Designer


When most people think about partnering with an interior designer, they almost always default to the aesthetics: choosing the right colors, rug selection, custom window treatments, etc. But, that’s just scratching the surface of what a designer can do for your space.

We sat down with Joy Lynskey of Jewel Toned Interiors in Fort Lauderdale & she reminded us that hiring a designer is literally inviting another person into your life. And, as with any relationship, clear communication can go a long way in making for a successful collaboration. We asked Joy to reflect on her most successful projects, and share with us tips on turning a design dream into reality.

What advice would you give someone who’s trying to hire an interior designer for the first time?

If you are wondering how to choose an interior designer, one of the most important factors is that the designer actively listens to you.  Although clients come to us for our skillset and aesthetic style, I always tell clients that after the pretty pictures are taken, they are the ones that have to live with the space.  I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I thought my staff or I had forced a concept onto a client.  On the flip-side, candidness is equally important.  You want a designer that will share their ideas openly with you and let you know if you suggest something that isn’t right for the project.  This honesty extends to all communications you have with the designer.  You will want your designer to offer transparency with all billing matters as there are a variety of ways that designers can profit from a project and all of those details must be very clear to you.

What do interior designers generally want to know about their clients?

We have an in-depth survey that we have clients fill out prior to a proposal being prepared.  This survey asks about their lifestyle and their vision for the space.  It is key that a client has an established budget for a project of any size as that is the only way that we can make sure we select the appropriate finishes and furnishings to work within those financial constraints.  On the inspiration side, it is great to know where people enjoy traveling and where they find serenity.  If a client finds refuge in hiking mountains instead of time on the beach we will look at the selections very differently.  This can be helpful for us in choosing a color and materials palette as we would go in very different directions based on this feedback.

When you’re starting a project from scratch, what are the first things you consider?

The first thing to consider is whether the budget is feasible for the client’s expectations.  After that we look at the floorplan to determine if any significant changes to the floorplan would support the client’s lifestyle in a way that their current space does not.  Our goal is to truly transform a client’s interior space and many times that includes some architectural changes.  We have architects that we collaborate with if permit drawings are required as most of our projects require this level of revisions.

Jewel Toned Interiors

What are the key elements you gravitate towards when designing a living room?

The windows are key in designing a living room as you want to consider sun and privacy control, optimizing viewpoints to both the exterior and the TV and allowing the furniture to be placed in a way that supports these aspects.  The sofa selection is many times the second most important factor as many people want a stylish look but not at the sacrifice of comfort. 

Looking back on your career, what two things do you wish everyone knew before they partnered with an interior designer?

I wish everyone understood what is the difference between an Interior Designer and a Decorator. The number one thing is that there is a clear and distinct difference between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators.  Many people think they want an Interior Designer when a Decorator will suffice.  Decorators are not required to attend an accredited program or undergo state licensing whereas Interior Designers are duty bound to respect public welfare and design spaces that are universally accessible.

What design trend are you currently obsessing about?

I personally love the bohemian chic look that is very on trend right now.  The mix of worldly patterns and small scale textures paired with a mostly black and white backdrop.  For me it is the new transitional, where clean and modern lines meet friendly textures and I think it will continue to be a top trend for interior design for 2018.

If you have to boil it down, what’s your top 3 tips about designing a harmonious space?

Here are my top 3 tips for interior design. First, the balance of both color and materials must be considered from all viewpoints within a space. Second, the use of scale and proportion is crucial from overall architectural movements down to the size and shape of each accessory within the space. Finally, and most critical, a proper lighting strategy is key in transforming an interior.

-- Joy Lynskey founded Jewel Toned Interiors,  a licensed interior design boutique  in 2013.  Jewel Toned Interiors serves national clients as well as clients in South Florida with a focus on the Fort Lauderdale area. They provide an exceptional level of creative and professional service in the interior design of stunning spaces.  An active member of the design industry and in her community, Joy thrives on collaborations with her clients, vendors and colleagues.

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