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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, B17 8DL

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Why use an Interior Designer...and why now?

As growth in the economy is at best sluggish, austerity measures continue to bite, and energy companies seem determined to suck us all dry, surely now is the time to sit tight and do nothing? Well, actually no. Although the housing market is at last beginning to improve, and it’s still not the easiest time to sell a house, it is however exactly the right time to improve what you already have.

Not only will a well thought out and stylish interior add perceived value to your property and make it easier to sell should that be your future intention, more importantly it will almost certainly change and brighten your whole outlook – and goodness knows we could all do with a dose of that from time to time ! A fresh, well designed and often de-cluttered interior will make coming home a real pleasure. For you, this could mean livening up a tired living room, bringing back a romantic feel to a bedroom, or perhaps even re-inventing a dining room that has long been gathering dust (a constant bleat of mine I know, but I reckon if I bang on about it often enough someone’s bound to listen).

So where do we start? A trip to the local DIY shed that now sells everything from wallcoverings to widgets? Rooting through 40,000 copies of every magazine from Elle Decoration to 105 Beautiful Dog Kennels? Endless hours in front of a computer screen trawling various websites for inspiration? All are possibilities of course, but you may well end up totally confused, or with a room exactly like your friend’s, or worse still like the neighbours or the house down the road ! What about using an interior designer? Oh no, you may say, that’s far too expensive! Well, in reality, not only does it not need to cost the earth, but it could be a very expensive mistake not to use one. Some interior designers work on a fee basis, and will charge you for all the time they spend on your project, while other designers will be happy to make their living on purely what they supply to you.

A good and experienced interior designer will help you achieve the results you are looking for. They will spend time with you, ask the right questions and most importantly listen to you and value your input. The role of a good designer is not to impose their tastes on you, or to turn your home into a sterile fashion statement, but to extract your own vision from your mind, and turn it into a reality. As my design mentor, the now long deceased and as regular readers will know oft quoted Walter Walker, design director of Alfred Allen, once said to me, “John, the day you think you’re the arbiter of good taste you might as well pack up and go home”. And this is so true – although being an interior designer is probably one of the loveliest jobs in the world, it’s most certainly not an ego trip.

Most people, when left to their own devices will tend to play safe, which bearing in mind the investment involved and the potential to get it wrong is not surprising. Strangely enough, this is particularly true in periods of economic uncertainty. An experienced designer knows exactly how to interpret your ideas and then tweak them slightly, to push the boundaries, and add that certain something that will make all the difference. Your home will reflect your character, and exude style.

So, what else can you expect from a good interior designer? Well, they will most certainly have access to a wide range of beautiful fabrics, papers, rugs and accessories that are simply not available on the high street. They will have an extensive library of pattern books, probably displayed in a well appointed showroom, so that rather than just looking at a one dimensional picture on a website, you can see the beauty and colour of an actual sample of wallpaper, and feel the sumptuous texture and drape of a good quality fabric. We’ve just completed a total refurbishment of our showroom in Edgbaston, and it’s now fully stocked with all the new and exciting fabrics and papers I’ve been talking about for the last few months.

The final, and possibly the most important part of the jigsaw is service – the very first product a good interior designer should sell you, and one that will continue through to the very end of your project. They will have an army of skilled craftsmen and women at their disposal, and will supervise and co-ordinate all work undertaken at your house. From builders, electricians and decorators through to specialist joiners, curtain makers and fitters, they will ensure that all work undertaken is of the highest quality.

From the moment you first make contact, the role of a good interior designer is to ensure that the experience of transforming your home – whether it’s a single room or the whole shebang – is not only successful, but enjoyable.

At John Charles Interiors that’s what we’ve been doing for the last thirty years, and it’s not only our business, but our pleasure.

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - June 2013