Frequently asked questions
How are you different from services offering online design packages?
In 2006, I started crafting design packages based on a quiz and pictures of rooms that need redesigning. But, after years of experience and listening to my clients, I realize that there is also a need for the one-on-one human connection where people can ask design suggesstions on the go.
video consultations, I scan your home and chat to hear about your design challenges. I discuss your budget and guide on where to save and invest. I see the furniture you want to keep and check on the storage solutions that befit you best.
And as I don't think there is a one fits all formula, I created 30-minute one-on-one design slots. This affords the possibility to work on a step by step basis. Thus, you decide what works best for you without feeling trapped in a full-on design package you may or may not like.
How do I define my design budget?
Being offered a gorgeous design concept is great. Yet senseless if the suggested furniture is above your budget.
Determining your budget is a vital step in designing your home. Unless you’re a designer and pass through the endless retailer's choices daily, knowing what the typical prices for home furnishings are, where to save, and where to splurge is a tall order.
To give you a better understanding of the average prices. I created a list of every possible furniture piece in 4 different categories:
This way, you get a crystal clear view and you can make informed budget decisions.
How many hours of consulting do I need?
The time required depends on your design project's scope and how much work you prefer to do alone. It will hinge on whether you have a few quick questions, need my help planning your design from scratch, or want coherent guidelines; and do a lot or little of the labor yourself.
You decide on the level of hands-on participation. Maybe you yearn help on how to get started, my full assistance/ merely advice on some design tasks, or a precise guide and tools to do it yourself.
This is also why I curated the 30-minute consultation slots option at an affordable fee. This way, you don't feel stuck in a full design package and can call me, even for a quick consultation.
What is the lead time for furniture?
Just like with budget defining, it is hard for most people to have an idea on the time it takes to have selected items delivered. There is a somewhat general rule; most economic, budget friendly and mid market furniture are available to be delivered within 7 to 10 days. Larger items can take a bit longer so make sure to check the delivery time. If you are in a hurry and want pieces that can be delivered sooner rather than later, let me know and we will make sure to keep that in mind when selecting your furnishings. Luxurious, customized pieces can take from 6 to 12 weeks to be delivered.
Are shipping fees included in the budget?
Some vendors offer free shipping and others don’t, Having an idea on the shipping cost is important. You don’t want to end up sticker shocked with a shopping cart full of nice items to eventually abandon the cart because the shipping charges are so much higher than you had expected.
When selecting your furniture together, this is definitely something we will take into account. As you can see, many things to think about when you design your home but it’s important to think about those things beforehand so that you know what to expect.
Do I really need a floor plan / funiture layout?
If you have a few design questions here and there or need immediate help while in the midst of painting, choosing window treatments or moving existing furniture around, I can help you on the spot.
However if we are going to look for new furniture, it is crucial to have a floor plan so that we can be rest assured that the furniture we select will fit in your space, and will be in balance with the rest of your overall design.
It would be unfortunate to spend money on a sofa that doesn’t fit in your space, or get a table that is so big that you can’t pull up your chairs. This is also why I ask that you take the dimensions of your doors, windows, small passage ways etc….to make sure your new pieces can get delivered without any hassle. If you need help with dimensions, I can help you with that during our online video chat.
Can I design multiple rooms at a time?
You can but personally I think it is better to do one room at a time and do it right, all the while keeping an overall consistent design for your home in mind. Once one room is done, it will be easier to play off of it for the creation of the next one
How do you feel about ordering furniture online?
I am all for it! Shopping online for furniture is so convenient and in terms of selection, the internet offers an endless array of choices. With just a few clicks, you basically have every store and style you can dream of at your disposal. It might not be possible to test out a couch yourself, but you can check out the reviews and find places that have showrooms where you can test that sofa that you have your eye on. I also love that you can find the exact pieces you want, from crazy affordable to super luxurious, narrowed down by your favorite color and style all from the comfort of your home.
Nowadays online furniture stores make it so easy for you and so to order with confidence, I always check what their return policy and protocol is, how the furniture is being shipped and whether or not it requires to be set up or if that is done by the company and at what extra charge.
Can I keep existing furniture ?
Absolutely! This is also one of the reasons why I like to meet with you via video conference. That way I can see exactly how your existing furniture looks in your space and in comparison with the rest of the elements that you already own.
What's included in the one-on-one video consultations?
Budget understanding, allocation and control
“What’s your budget” it’s the one question that all interior designers ask, yet most people have no friggin clue of what home furnishings cost and end up spending too much money on that door they love all the while they could have used that money to implement highly needed storage solutions. Together we will go over a detailed budget chart, listing all home furnishings and its average prices in 4 different categories (economic, budget friendly, mid way and luxury) so I can advise you where to save and where to invest.
Together, we will analyse the common themes and colors that keep on coming back and how we can keep consistency throughout your style preferences all the while creating a unique setting that represent your personality
Existing architecture and environment analysis
We will analyse the elements that you don’t want to or can’t change and explore how we can design a space that embraces its existing environment (a rustic fireplace, existing tile floor, wooden beams, those beautiful Pink tiles (yup! happened to me...and many Brooklyn renters I guess), stucco walls and ceilings (aka cottage cheese walls), Plaster crowns…..
Existing furniture incorporation
We will go over your existing furniture, what you would like to keep and how it will best complement your overall design. If you are open to editing some of your existing pieces ( adding updating knobs, changing the color,....), we will discuss that as well..
New furniture selections
I will help you select new items that can easily be mixed and matched with your existing pieces and fit within your space, your style, the durability you are looking for and (!) your budget.
Measurements & proportions
The size of the furniture you choose for your house can either make your room look stuffed or spacious. You want to make sure that the size of the furniture fits within the dimensions of the room that you are putting it in. I will walk you through the measuring process, taking the dimensions of any doors, windows, alcoves or other recessed elements into account and explain. I will explain how to draw a floor plan or you can order my layout planning service. You do not want to purchase a piece of furniture only to discover that it doesn’t fit in your space.
Balance is very important when arranging furniture and other items. I will help you create the right equilibrium between the large and small pieces so to create the right traffic flow throughout your home.
Lighting is a vital aspect of any room, style and mood. You probably don’t want a bright led light hanging over your head while you are cuddling with your loved one but you do want to see what you are doing when you are preparing a meal in your kitchen. Lighting has the power to completely transform a space, make it feel larger or smaller and help create an ideal atmosphere. The most appealing rooms have just the right balance between a mix of accent, task and ambient lighting. Together we can go over your existing light fixtures and see how we can incorporate new selections to the mix.
Whether you live in a mansion or a studio, there really is no such thing as too much storage. I know many people dislike the word “decluttering” but that is really where it starts when you want to beautify and optimize your living space. It makes no sense to invest in nice furniture or art if your home is overcrowded with stuff all of the time. With the right tools and guidance the job can get done and you’ll feel so light the next time you come home and you don’t have to crawl over 10 pairs of kid shoes in the hallway to get to the next room. I will help you create the right system with designated spots in which to store your items so that they are easily accessible and you never again have to stress looking for things or waste money buying the same items several times because you couldn’t find what you were looking for.
Color palette analysis
With so many options out there, choosing a color scheme can be a daunting task. I will give you expert advice on how to choose the right colors for your home. We will go over the purpose of your room, the existing pieces you want to keep, the mood you want to create in your space and analyse both its natural and artificial lighting in choosing a color palette that fits your home and your personality.
Whether you choose to make your own art, get pieces on Etsy or invest in a unique painting, art is what gives your home its character, it's what helps define the personality of your space. Depending on your style preferences, the mood you want to create and the purpose of the room, we will go over the different options on how to give your space the cachet it deserves.
Just like with budget defining, it is hard for most people to have an idea on the time it takes to have selected items delivered and the amount that is required for renovations and construction . Together we will walk through the timeline so that you can decide which pieces you want immediately and for which you are willing to wait.
How often can I contact you?
As often as you like! I have created affordable 30 minute video consultation slots so you can reach out to me for expert advice whenever you want. Even if you only have a few questions.
Can you create a floor plan / furniture layout for me?
Absolutely! I can either walk you through the measuring process during our one-on-one video consultation or you can send me a sketch with dimensions of your room so that I can create a furniture layout for you.
Can I order from vendors directly?
Absolutely! You have full control over the purchasing process, delivery and returns. HomeRefiner's business model is based on giving you affordable one-on-one expert advice,
How long does it take to get my designs?
I offer immediate answers and personalized, easy to follow directions for everything you can do on your own such as ordering. For example, I help you narrow down your shopping list looking for the best furnishings yet you place the orders whenever is suitable for you. With a clear how-to plan, you can do loads of the work yourself, at your own pace and according to your budget.
Instead of creating a full design package that you may or may not like, we work together, step by step.
Below are question examples you may have which I’ll reply on the spot:
Which curtains should I get?
What rug size should I purchase?
Which lighting I should i choose?
I hate my existing floor, can you guide me?.
I own an old cabinet, how shall I use it?
I have stuff everywhere. Help!
Can you help me in picking the right wall colour?
Can you advise me on kitchen tiles?
Can you show me how to place my furniture?
I want a new bed, but I'm overwhelmed with all the choice
If you would like addtional design services for your project, the average lead times are:
1 week for a 2D furniture layout
You may want to get that if you are looking to by several new pieces and you want to know how they will look in comparisson with each other
3 weeks for a 3D bird view with 4 different angles of the entire room
This is more when you want to go all out and show off. Real estate brokers love this option as it gives them the opportunity to show how a home will look like.
1 week for a click through shopping list
You may want to get that service if you are completely redesigning from scratch.
Bear in mind that for the behind-the-scenes jobs, we must first meet via video consultations so I can get an inkling of what you're looking for.
Do you create a click-through shopping list?
An essential part of the design process is selecting new furniture that functions well with your existing furnishings, the environment, your budget, and your lifestyle.
However that doesn't mean we need to put a whole shopping list together as you may only need a few pieces and I can help you with that on the spot where we can look together, and you'll have a direct link to the vendors.
If you need thorough research and you need me to select items for you, or you want me to narrow down your existing list of choices, you'll receive a clickable shopping list via email that will contain all suggested products with direct links to click and purchase.
You will still have full control over the ordering process.
Do you buy the items suggested on the shopping list for me?
HomeRefiner is a design consultation service only. The fee paid caters to design and research. You're, therefore, responsible for purchasing any furnishings you pick out. This way, you have complete control over purchasing, delivery, and eventual returns.
What happens if I don't like something I purchased?
Following up with the retailer from which you obtained the furnishings you wish to return and/or exchange is your responsibility. Each company has its policies. From many reviews gathered online, we discovered that most clients prefer to order from the vendors directly instead of going through middlemen
How do I know what size sofa, rug, dresser... to buy?
The recommended sizes depend on your space, existing furniture, and how each element plays off one other. If you want a few pieces, I’ll advise you while you walk me through your space during your online video consultation. If you need several pieces, I may have to create a furniture layout.
Do you give ideas for bedding?
Definitely! Bedding is such a significant part of your design!
How do I receive the designer discounts?
Every retailer has different discount options. I’ll provide you with the needed discount information when we look for furniture pieces during your online video consulttion or I will add them on your personalized shopping list
What is your design style?
Some people opt to employ a designer's services because of his specific style, while others prefer to consult with designers to find their unique style. Having worked on several home makeover TV shows, my extensive expertise comes in handy in designing homes that meet my customer's individual needs. Which is why I love meeting online over video so I can have a thorough understanding of what you are looking for in terms of style, organizational needs as well as colour preferences.