When it is time to do some upgrading to your house who do you call? Well that answer really depends on what your needs are and what your budget is.
When it comes to creating the dream home, one that is both beautiful and organised while also being functional at the same time, hiring both an interior designer and professional organiser can really help. In my last article, I broke down what professional organisers really do and how they can help but in this article I will discuss the differences between the two professions and which professional to go to for your home project.
1. Functional vs Decorative Purposes
One of the biggest differences between professional organisers and interior designers is that professional organisers are present to work with the client to introduce systems that keep a home organised while also guiding the client to develop good organising habits. Interior designers on the other hand, work with the client to create their dream home, which often focuses more on the aesthetics based on how the client should function in the space.
While some interior designers do provide a range of storage solutions for the client, much of the arrangement depends on the client’s own present judgment of their anticipated needs. For example, a client may wish to install a top to bottom storage cabinet with equal sized shelves anticipating that they would need the space to store whatever items that they may come to possess in the next five to ten years. A professional organiser who works with the client five years after they have lived in the apartment may have a different recommendation for the storage cabinets having examined the variety of items the client now owns. In summary, much of what an interior designer can value add to the overall design and function of the place is highly dependent on the client’s own judgment and testimony.
2. As-Is vs The Dream Home
This brings me to point number two. An interior designer would move forward to design a space from the ground up, looking at the big picture of what the client wants (and often what they aspire to) and may not necessarily focus on the specific needs or items of the client like where to keep the kitchen towels or if they should be placed with the laundry. On the flip side, a professional organiser often works with clients who have already lived in the space. A professional organiser works according to the client’s current spatial arrangements, having a good idea of the things a client actually owns and then makes incremental changes so that the space becomes more functional to keep organised.
3. Routine adjustments vs Major Overhaul
Another point when deciding between the two is to take note of the type of upgrades that is needed in a client’s home. It is especially useful to hire an interior designer when a client’s house is in need of a major upgrade. For example, if the water heater in the bathroom is now defunct and the tiles on the wall have started to fall off and there are some major pluming issues along with the rest of the twenty-year old house, then it may be time for a renovation.
But calling for a renovation doesn’t necessarily resolve anything if the real issue is one of clutter. Working with a professional organiser not only helps with keeping a client’s house organised (while also maintaining their sanity) but can also address more importantly the habits that are preventing the client from keeping organised. Think of a professional organiser as a coach, someone who inspires a client to keep organised while also checking in on them to ensure that they continue to do so.
4. Range of services
The next case when deciding which professional to hire is by taking a look at the services they provide. A professional organiser assists with clutter and organisation depending on what a client needs at different life stages. A range of services a professional organiser may provide include help with organising a house with children, helping to pack for a move or vice versa, or helping a busy professional couple prepare for the arrival of a new baby or even helping to de-clutter after the loss of a loved one or in the event of a divorce. Whatever the case is, a professional organiser is useful when a client finds themselves in a situation where the clutter or finding the time to organise becomes overwhelming and the client looks forward to seeking the help of a third-party professional to help with their situation. A professional organiser would also work with minor contractors like wardrobe specialists or carpenters for minor upgrades in a client’s home.
An interior designer in contrast is a licensed professional who in Singapore must be certified in things like building codes and structural considerations when designing a space. They are also the ones who would liaise with different governmental authorities and professionals like contractors and architects to ensure that a client’s space are not only beautifully designed but also structurally sound.
5. What’s your budget?
The final factor when determining which professional to hire for a home project is the client’s budget. If a client’s house is in need of some minor upgrades with a clutter situation, a professional organiser would be the one to call. Professional organisers like interior designers also work hand in hand with other professionals to help arrange for minor upgrades to be done.
But if a client’s home is in need of major upgrades that extend beyond just the aesthetics of the place and if the client is looking to invest in the design of their space then an interior designer is the person to call. Hiring an interior designer is often more costly and can range from $25k to $120k per project depending on apartment size. In contrast, hiring a professional organiser for minor upgrades is only a fraction of the cost starting from $600 to $6k for a few sessions depending on the areas of a client’s home and the time needed to do that.
One distinct way to think about the differences between professional organisers and interior designers is to think of the former as aestheticians and the latter as dermatologists. A professional organiser like an aesthetician can help to spruce up the look of a space by clearing the clutter out of the way and re-arranging the space while working with the client to introduce new routines to help them keep organised. Some professional organisers also have an interest in interior decoration and can help to transform the aesthetics of the space. But like dermatologists, hiring an interior designer or contractor is when you have major repairs and upgrades in a client’s home that needs fixing and with that also a brand new look.
While I have listed here the five major differences between a professional organiser and an interior designer, these two professions share huge similarities as well – that is, it is ideal for homeowners who do not have the luxury of time to coordinate with multiple vendors or even have the energy to do so. Hiring these two types of professionals can also help clients save on resources like poorly selected items that did not manage to solve a clutter-related problem or issue. Lastly, both types of professionals would help clients to optimise their living space, after all we are here to ensure that you get the best life you can have right now without breaking a sweat. Working with both an interior designer and professional organiser can dramatically transform the space you live in while also improving the way you live on a day-to-day basis.