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Glow Up Your Home with an Interior Designer

By: Lee Meyer
BR Nelson Design

Interior design by BR Nelson DesignsCourtesy Blanchette Nelson

Redesigning your space can be an exciting and daunting task, and you may want to call upon the talents and skills of an interior designer to help you realize your vision. Blanchett Nelson of B R Nelson Designs, LLC, talks about how to go about giving your home the glow-up it deserves.

Talk with the designer to see if they’re a good fit for your needs. “I think one of the most important things is ensuring that the designer that you’re looking at has a similar design aesthetic to your own. Granted, designers can design in just about any design aesthetic, but as a client, if you find that designer has a similar aesthetic, the collaboration is even better because now you have a lot that’s the same. I think that’s important. When they are talking to designers, they want to get an understanding of how the designer works. For me, it’s all about collaboration because my clients need to love the space that they are in, so I want to make sure that I am not designing for myself, but I’m designing for them. It’s important that the client gets that feel when they are talking to the designer.”

Plan ahead if you are redesigning the entire home. “What I always recommend is, if the intent is to redo the entire home, start with the entire home. You might not have to purchase everything at the same time because you could purchase in phases, but when you’re talking to the designer, I think you should go in with the understanding that, yes, you want to do the entire home, but you want to do it in phases because then the design can be a little bit more harmonious. If you plan everything at the same time, even if you do it in phases because you can decide that, maybe we need to take down a wall, and if you take down a wall, maybe we’re not going to do it in phase one, maybe we do it in phase two, but let’s design the rooms with that in mind. I think it’s best if the plan is to, at some point, redo the entire house, it’s just to go in with that in mind, and then you can purchase or do it in phases, but at least you have the design concept down and know how you want to move forward.”

Bathrooms can be both beautiful and functional. “First, think of how you want to use the space. Having a standalone bathtub is a luxury item, but are you really going to use it? If a larger shower is more important and feel that’s really what you’re going to use, then do a larger shower that’s going to have all the bells and whistles because you will really enjoy that bathroom more if it has the pieces that you’re going to be using a lot.”

Think about how you’re planning to use a room. “It boils down to how you’re going to use the space. I think clients should step back a bit, sit back in the home and just envision how they see the family or if they entertain, exactly how they actually see that space being used. Just sit back and just envision, or if I’m entertaining, how it is that I want the rooms to flow into each other, or how it is that I want my guests to interact with each other and maybe a TV is not supposed to be in that room. Again, it all depends on how you are going to use the space because the space should be designed not to be a museum. The space should be designed based on how you live. If how you live is that’s the room you were living in, therefore it probably should have a TV. If you have more than one space, you have a formal living room and you have a family room, I say in the formal living room, don’t put a TV because it’s not going to get used that much. That would be a room more for conversation, so you need to design the furniture pieces a little bit differently. The sofa is going to have a different feel and a different look than a sofa that you would put in a media room or a family room. A sofa in a theater room or family room is going to be more laid back, more casual, probably a little bit softer. In that room, then you could put a TV.”

If you’re coming to Long Island from the city, there’s so much space! “You will find that on Long Island you probably have a separate living room and a media room. In the city, that room is everything, so you have to design accordingly. Again, the environment plays a lot in how you design a space. On Long Island, it’s out in the water, you want to design a space to really take advantage of that view if it’s out on the water, versus in the city, you might want to disguise something because your view is the building, a brick wall next door. Therefore, that’s not what I really want to design about. Designing is based on the environment, it’s based on the architectural features and how the rooms flow into each other. I find that, yes, the design is a little bit different. The aesthetic might be the same, but based on how you design the room is a little bit different because of the environment and what it is that you’re trying to highlight or disguise.”

Good interior design takes time. “You have to take into consideration the lead time and everything that goes into the furniture that the client is selecting. I also think that clients think that designers tend to give them the most expensive items so that they could get a higher commission off of the item that they’re selling, which is not necessarily true. As designers, what we think about is, how do we curate that space so it feels special to that client? If it means bringing in a piece that is a good investment, we’re going to bring in and introduce that piece that’s a good investment because it’s going to make your space different. Not everybody wants their home to look like a showroom. Some people do. Some people walk into a store and say, ‘I want exactly this room.’ Most clients don’t want that. They want it to feel special. They don’t want when someone else walks into their space, they’re like, ‘Oh, I have that sofa.’ No, you want to feel special.”

Price matters! “The designer needs to be very transparent about how they charge because that is typically a sticking point with clients — transparent about how they charge and also how they work with clients.”

Learn more about Blanchett Nelson’s work at brnelsondesigns.com.