5 things Interior Designers get asked all the time | Vellum Interiors | Sydney Interior Designer and Decorator

5 things Interior Designers get asked all the time

  1. What do you actually do?

Almost every time I meet someone new and tell them what I do they say something like “that must be so fun!!”. And yes, parts of my job are really fun. But it is also hard work! In a sentence, we turn virtually any residential space into something more functional, beautiful and liveable. This is quite an involved process and each day looks different, but here is a basic list of the things we do:

  • Meeting with or chatting to clients about what they want for their home
  • Defining an overall concept for my client’s spaces
  • Visiting showrooms to source basically anything that goes in a house — from tiles, fabrics, furniture, wallpaper, rugs and artwork to taps and toilets
  • Drawing and creating 3D versions of my designs
  • Arranging quotes and negotiating with trades people
  • Financial admin like managing my client’s budgets, purchasing and tracking orders
  • Styling a space for the ‘client reveal’ (the exciting part when the client comes home to the finished product!)
  • Preparing for a photoshoot in one of our completed projects
  • Working with builders and trades to sort out any problems or deficiencies along the way of a project
  • (and…. the occasional couples counselling)


  1. You must love watching The Block?

I get asked this a lot and I think people are surprised when I answer. I don’t watch the Block (or Reno Rumble or that other reno show). I appreciate the finished product, but it’s also given people mis-informed ideas about design, trends and how long a renovation project actually takes. I think most designers agree with me!


  1. Are you going to tell me to get rid of everything I know?

Ummmm…. Maybe?? Kidding! It’s your home, you have to live in it so we won’t ever tell you to get rid of anything you really love and want to keep. Often we’ve been able to find a new home for a family heirloom or antique piece. And I do think it’s very important for your house to be a reflection of the people who live there (not a furniture showroom), so I love putting clients’ history and personalities in a space.

In saying that, you’ll always get an honest, informed opinion from me, with your best interests (and your best home) in mind. And if you do want to start fresh and get rid of everything you own, we can help there as well!


  1. How much do you charge?

There are 3 main ways interior designers charge — hourly, flat fee and percentage of build costs.

At Vellum Interiors, we charge a flat fee for consultations ($600), then hourly at $220/hr, and a lower rate for admin tasks like invoicing suppliers, purchasing and tracking orders. We can usually give a good idea of how many hours a project will take after the initial meeting, and this increases if there’s anything added in.


  1. Can’t most people just do this themselves?

Look, absolutely some people can (and do) do this themselves. But many of these people are surprised at how long it all takes, and how many itty-bitty decisions have to be made along the way, not to mention all the people involved and issues that arise. It can be pretty tiring!

I’ve even had clients come to me at the end of a renovation, when they’ve done a beautiful job of it themselves, but they’ve run out of puff at the end to make decisions on the furniture and finishing touches, which are just as important in putting a home together.

So yes, this is something that people can do themselves — like building a website or fixing a blocked toilet. The people who engage me realise they don’t have the time (or will) to be selecting pieces, dealing with tradesmen and organising multiple furniture deliveries. And these are the people I love to work with, because I take something that was a burden and make it easy and fun!

If it sounds like you could use some help on your renovation, we’d love to hear from you!

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