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  • Olivia Hartley

Who would hire an Interior designer?

Well hopefully…you! But it may or may not be something you have considered before. Why? Because the industry is shrouded in this glittery voile of secrecy and misunderstanding of what an interior designer is, or what they do...and perhaps most importantly, what they charge?


Well I hope by the end of reading this blog post, you will a) not have nodded off. b) understand what the term interior designer means and c).can feel more confident that it is not a service saved only for high rolling city types with plenty of moolah to throw at their crocodile skin covered walls.


Let’s start with what an Interior designer does. It’s really piggy in the middle between Interior Architect and Interior Decorator. A good Interior Designer has a sound knowledge and understanding of a buildings structure and major services which helps when dealing with the trades believe me, but we tend to stop short at actually re-designing the structure. Where serious renovations are underway we would call in the experts such as Architects and Structural engineers. An Interior Decorator has a knack for fabric, soft furnishings and choosing colour schemes, something a good Interior Designer has in spades also. So what bridges the gap? An interior designer is as good at the aesthetic and loveliness but also thinks of the practical workings of the room and will plan your space so that the furniture and personal belongings actually work for you. They will project manage the installation, if you need that, and introduce you to trusted tradespeople that can complete bespoke aspects of your rooms such as cabinetry and joinery.

They will create visuals for you to see your new home design before it is installed. Create furniture layouts to make sure that you don’t bash your knees on the coffee table every time you get up, or that the dining room chairs have got space to be pulled out from under the table with room to move around, or the window doesn’t reflect on the TV so much you have to put a picnic blanket over the curtains to shut the light out (I kid you not, these things happen when people make impulse decisions and here at HartleyCox we are glad to have been able to help these poor unfortunates).


More than that we want to uncover what it is you want and need from your space, eg. it’s not just a ‘living room’ it’s a space for playing cars on the carpet, for a family game of ‘Uno’ on a Friday night, a movie theatre, a social space for sipping G+T’s and gossiping with your girlfriends. It’s not a show-home, another aspect of Interior design that is often misunderstood. We don’t want to impose a cookie cutter design scheme on every home we visit – how boring! Yes your home could be aspirational if you like (and the best show homes are aspirational but also show character) but it’s your home, it can reflect your personality, or not. Your choice. Interior designers do all have their own personal style and tastes, but believe it or not, these are not to be enforced on you. Oh no, HartleyCox are capable of creating a myriad of styles and working in harmony or juxtaposition with a range of building styles and spaces, that’s why we bloody love our job – it’s the variety! Oh and BTW, that casually thrown together, bohemian style that’s all over Instagram? That’s one of the styles that has to be most carefully curated to stop your home from looking like the store room at the local charity shop.


Finally – the fees. (Blushes at talk of money, how crass). Yes, the powerhouse Interior design studios prefer to discuss their fees privately with their clients, but that’s because their clients tend to be high net worth individuals who pay a percentage of their total project budget, rather than a set fee, and when the budgets of some houses in Belgravia and Chelsea come in over the 50 million mark you can see why the average human would have palpitations at the thought of employing ‘a flouncy, flighty interior designer type’. However, If you are a high net worth individual reading this blog post, then I would really like a Ferrari for Christmas so please get in touch.


The thing is, our mission at HartleyCox is to create beautiful homes for all. We work in real homes, to make them beautiful and liveable and hopefully exciting to be in. We understand that it’s the secrecy behind the costs that put people off even contacting an interior designer(and the thought that were going to impose on you some hideously over-priced impractical furnishings that would look better in a modern art gallery, another misconception).


We have devised a set of simple packages where there are fixed costs applied at the offset. No hidden surprises. We also try and cater for those that don’t need the full process, you may simply contact us you are looking for a piece of furniture/artwork/cushions that will make your snooty next door neighbour well jel. We aim to please, so we will bespoke any of our packages where needs be. Look out for a range of these being added to the website soon.

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Ta ta for now – hopefully hear from you soon

Olivia Hartley

Chief Karate-chopper of cushions and Interior Designer



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