Investing in a Designer: Why Paying a Design Fee Seems Costly

By Blog, Renovation Resources

We have all slid our precious credit cards to pay doctors we trust to help keep our bodies healthy. Some of us have had to use the services of a lawyer. We have even seen commercials advertising free consult appointments. You get to talk with this professional, tell your story and maybe get some feedback for free. That sounds like a good deal. It is like going to a store to look without having to purchase. That is how we like to shop for things we need. So, why when shopping for an interior designer, do we have to pay a design fee?

The designer you hire is helping you achieve the look you present to your customers. Think of the design fee this way. A designer will meet with you, talk about your ideas and needs, much like a lawyer will meet with a potential client to hear their story. The lawyer may disclose some information regarding the situation as far as set-in-stone laws go. The lawyer will not offer advice and start working on your case though. You will have to sign agreements for payment and usually pay an amount to get that process started. A designer will meet with you, put all your ideas on paper, and come up with a design, which entails a substantial amount of work and time. Most designers will charge a fee which covers the first presentation of their work and your ideas mashed together to get the ambience and look you desire. So, in the long run, the designer is charging a fee based on the work that has been done already and will be done.

The budget is, a lot of times, the basis for the design fee, which can be upwards 25% of the total budget. The designer is charging for their time, expertise, experience and reputation. Much like a lawyer or doctor, a designer is a professional who is spending a lot of time and resources working to get you the best result. You can shop around for a designer who will go above and beyond your expectations. The design fee is a way to make sure the designer gets paid for their expertise and time because the total budget often gets solely spent on  labor and materials.

Contact us to learn more.

The Prepared Client. The Inspired Designer.

By Blog, Renovation Resources

You finally bought that restaurant or signed the lease on the retail space to launch your successful online enterprise into a brick and mortar establishment. Congratulations! The next step of designing your retail space to fully express your brand is crucial. You can try to do it alone, but hiring an interior designer will make your space pop with a unique and professional look while also saving you money. However, as with any consultation it is good to come prepared so you don’t fumble in the dark indecisively. Your interior designer can work the best for you when you know what you want, transforming your ideas into refined perfection.


Do not underestimate the inspirational power of design magazines in print. There is power in feeling the paper between your fingers as you peruse the different concepts presented. Dog-ear the pages with the color schemes that you adore, or combine two environments that you believe would go harmoniously together. Something as accessible as Better Homes and Gardens is easy to grab on your way out of the grocery store and can give you some ‘food for thought’ beyond what you bought for dinner that night. Or, check out some fine examples of luxury design at LuxeSource to get your imagination going. Magazines are excellent materials to bring to a consultation with your designer because they require no log-in to access and are readily accessible.


Pinterest reigns as queen of digital inspiration, hosting ideas from seasoned designers and novices with natural talent. You are going to get a wider variety of designs due to the unpredictable level of expertise abound. This factor however makes Pinterest designs part grass-roots with a hungry creative edge that is unique to the online community. The unfiltered creativity of Pinterest’s ideas makes sifting through countless images an adventure. Finding that one design that pops out at you is worth the search: pin it and bring it to your future consultation!

Tour successful retail spaces

Sometimes it is a good idea to stretch your legs and tour some successful retail spaces to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Take a short drive to the mall or dine at a trendy restaurant. Ask yourself, “What do I like about this place? What works?” Jot down the notes and bring them to your designer. Do you like the bright lights of Forever21 and the bold displays of hot items that lure you in to the front of the store? Or, does the perfume-filled air and shadowy ambiance of Hollister immerse you in another world? Does theApple Store’s simplicity and basic layout appeal to the kind of product you want to showcase, or do you prefer the retail hiking trail IKEA takes its customers on that finishes with the reward of Swedish meatballs? Bring all your thoughts and likes to your designer’s table and he or she can professionally integrate your preferences into your personal brand.

For whatever concepts you want to apply to your future business, you can be confident that a professional interior designer will be able to take your ideas and breathe life into them. Remember that a designer can work much more efficiently with clients who are prepared with even a few ideas. Ready to start you own design journey? Contact us to partner with us today and we can take you through the whole design process.

Renovation Tips for Your Next Business Renovation: Why You Should Hire an Interior Designer?

By Blog, Renovation Resources

When people think of the word “interior designer,” they think of a designer for their home renovation. However, did you know that you should hire an interior designer for your next business renovation? In this blog post, we’re going to discuss why this is so, and also give you some renovation tips and tricks for your next business renovation!

  • Interior designers save you money. Yes, you’ll have to expend money on the interior designer in the first place in order to do the job, but in the long run, hiring an interior designer for your next renovation project will save you money because s/he will get the job done right, the first time, on time and on/under budget.
  • Interior designers work with a series of different vendors, so that they can save you additional money in the long run. Because an interior designer has a trusted network of professionals who provide a wide variety of services for a fraction of the price of more traditional vendors, interior designers will be able to pass the savings onto you!
  • Finally, but certainly no less importantly, interior designers are able to bring a professional touch to your store that you, as a non-professional, won’t be able to do. Wouldn’t you want your store to look its absolute best, so you can attract many first-time and returning customers?

We provide a wide variety of design services for business and commercial clients. For more information about us and our services, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

Home Sweet Office: 3 Office Design Trends to Transform Your Space

By Blog, Renovation Resources No Comments

Your office is so much more than bare bones and cubicles. It is a blank canvas meant to be painted upon with vivid colors, exciting trends and bold beauty that speaks to who you are as a company. In fact, studies have shown that an esthetically curated office can boost creativity, skyrocket performance and keep your employees better focused on the job at hand. From gentle greys combined with bold hues to unexpected elements of home, let these 3 office design trends inspire you to get off that conference call and get on your way to a bright, new beautiful office space…

Gorgeous Grayscale

Muted greys are catching fire across the office scene when combined with unexpected pops of color like sunny mustard yellows, look-at-me teals and deep, delightful plums. Grey is a great choice for an office space because you can completely re-make it again in a couple of years without having to completely rethink your color scheme. Grey is a favorite among offices for this very reason. Neutral and inviting, grey lends itself well to entryways perfect for welcoming clients into an atmosphere that is both professional and on-trend. This simple but statement-making design is perfectly suited for an office lobby.

Eclectic Chic

You don’t need to make everything perfectly matched to make your office and design a match made in heaven. Eclectic is bigger than ever this year and a great way to welcome this trend into your office is to mix and match pretty chairs to help personalize desk stations and make your color scheme pop off the page. Other eclectic ideas? Go for bold, bright framing of licensures and creatively posed company portraits. A great example of an eclectic office? This Google set-up with has a fresh and current vibe that is exactly what you would expect from this innovative technology giant.


Homey Ambiance

You just may be selling yourself short if you are failing to see your office for nothing more than an office. If your employees commute, they likely spend more time at the office than they do at their own homes. Creating a homey atmosphere in the office can work if you mix these down-home additions with professional musts. Think unexpected fireplaces in your waiting area mixed with perfect storage space that keeps everything you need handy and organized but still thoughtfully well-hidden. Consider a “family wall” where each employee can display a family photo. This beautiful business space shows home-esque design done right.


Your office is your home away from home and your client’s first impression of who you are and what you do. Whether you are new to office design or a seasoned pro looking for something current and on trend for your space, contact us today to find out how we can help you rethink your office space, transforming it into a place where creativity is fostered.

Renovation Tips: 5 Questions to Ask your Designer Before You Get Started

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Renovating your home or business is a huge undertaking. Not only is it time-consuming but it is expensive as well. For this reason, there are some questions you will definitely want the answers to before your interior designer gets started.

What Happens if There is a Problem?

Issues are almost guaranteed to occur during the course of your renovation. For example, you may find that a particular wall can’t be moved as expected or the tile you chose is no longer an option. Understanding how these issues will be addressed is important.

How Close to Budget do you Expect Us to Be?

You should always have a little room in your budget for surprises that may surface throughout the renovation. Knowing where you stand at the beginning will help you determine how close you can expect to be when everything is said and done.

What Do You See as the Biggest Challenge?

Knowing where your designer sees the most potential for issues can help prompt you to think about any changes you may need to make. In the end, this will help you anticipate certain issues and have a plan in place to attack the problem head-on.

What Does the Schedule Look Like?

Scheduling is an important part of getting the project finished on time. When you understand the schedule, you will be able to know when to expect completion as well as whether the project has fallen behind.

What if there are Questions?

Communication is always important and you will want to know how to contact your designer when you have questions. On the flip side, they will also need to know how to contact you if they have questions for you to answer.

These are a few of the questions you should ask before you get started with your renovation. Learning their answers will help give you peace of mind that your project is running smoothly and on schedule. To learn more about the renovation process, contact us today.

Designer Cost for Renovating a Restaurant

By Blog, Renovation Resources

What is the designer cost? A restaurant renovation requires careful planning, budgeting, execution. A restaurant renovation is based on the brand. The designer putting ideas and must-haves together has to know the brand inside and out to produce the wanted product. The design process can take a few pressing weeks to a year to complete.

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Coworking Space and Office Renovation for Startups

By Blog, Renovation Resources

In the market for office renovation for startups, shared office space (named coworking space) can sometimes be the key to economical and innovative work environment in the entrepreneur’s office.  What are the keys to designing successful coworking space?  One company answers three questions in their designs.

  1.  “How can the design of a space encourage collaboration and innovation?”
  2.  “How is the community mapped and visually represented in the space?”
  3.  “How can the design of space promote autonomous behavior from its members?”

Not only does the space have to work for a single entrepreneur, it needs to be functional for a group of entrepreneurs working for different startups.  One of the keys to adapting to the needs of the employees is to allow an ever-evolving room for change in the space.

The key in coworking design is to build office space that influences behavior.  To encourage collaboration among workers, sometimes the space can be divided into work areas by merely adapting lighting and heights of ceilings to form ‘rooms’ in an open area.  Innovation can be encouraged by the changeable nature of the space.  For instance, one group might use a white wall as a projection screen, while another might want to post graphics on a wall.  Making the space ones own and innovating within the office environment can encourage creativity and establish ownership of space.

In conclusion, the most important key in coworking space is that entrepreneurs need to adapt space to their own needs.  While design is important to forming certain positive behavior trends in an office, the state of constant flux itself enables an innovative work environment.  According to the same design team,

…Openness provides room for members to take control of shaping and hosting their environment which in turn helps to engender a more collaborative and sharing culture within the space.

For more information on office design for startups, contact us.

Terrific reasons to hire interior designer or a design firm now

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Many persons are unaware of it:  However the name of the game, nowadays, is transparency.  The proficient designer is very adept at bringing the concept of transparency into his or her client’s space–whether that space is residential or corporate.

The uniqueness of providing the client with transparency is the number one reason, persons are wise to make the choice of having a design team create and reorganize their respective spaces:  The idea of bringing the great out-of-doors inside, nowadays, appears rather literal.  The bringing of the outside environment, inside, makes the entire concept of design much more refined.

Residents and corporate personnel function with greater levels of efficiency and well-being when the great out-of-doors or beautiful landscapes are made part of the inside environment.  The space may have been once enclosed; however, is now opened up. The idea of hiring a designer, then, is so the corporate client or the residential consumer may make the best possible use of the idea of transparency.

Opacity and transparency is used in way of making a small space, whether residential or a work environment feel more spacious.  Transparency provides access to a larger space, such as a vineyard or woods that is not part of the inside arrangement.  In example, a wine country residential dweller is able to properly appreciate the mass acreage of his or her vineyard.  The owner of the space is a second generation wine maker.  The design applied makes sense:  since the element of bringing the great out-of-doors vineyard into his or her living arrangement is relative.  Producing wine is what the preceding residential dweller is all about:  a second generation winemaker.  This individual has a strong connection to his or her land and is an agricultural enthusiast.  The person is not a person that requires window coverings or window treatments.  He or she wishes to awaken each morning and look upon his or her vineyards.  A good designer partners with the proper persons and brings the vineyard into the winemaker’s inside space.

Aside from the out-of-doors thinking, an enhancement, used by knowledgeable designers, makes it possible for the end-user to appreciate various interesting items at turning points inside:  Items or art objects are placed at the end of a hallway or somewhere in-between.  The idea is to make the persons traveling by foot, to take notice and pause at these areas, appreciating the items on exhibit.  The slight pause, psychologically, causes the person to move forward down the hallway.  It creates the sense that there are items further along the pathway, causing that individual to feel intrigued.

The designer is well-aware of advances in various materials:  The knowledgeable designer is well-aware of material advances with respect to glass, fabrics and plastics.  The advanced materials allow designers to create something spectacular relative to the end-users inside environment.

There are certain states which limit how much artificial light is allowable in a space:  The designer is adept in making clever use of natural lighting.  He or she makes certain, the natural lighting is used properly, minimizing the natural light used and assuring that the consumer is afforded the proper level of privacy.

In summary, terrific reasons to hire a design expert include:

  • Rediscovery of the great out-of-doors or bringing the outside inside of the interior space;
  • Placing interesting objects in unexpected places, in order that the passer-by wishes to pause, and with a sense of inspiration, continues his or her journey to the point of destination.
  • The expert designer makes use of advanced materials, which he or she is fully aware, in order to create and intensify the elements associated with good design;
  • The qualified design team of today, additionally, makes the best use of natural light.  The preceding reason is yet another good reason to hire the services of an expert designer.  In other words, it is just not about painting a room, and finding the right furniture, it is so much more.

In order that the interested consumer gets the ball rolling, in order to find out his or her best, most unique design options; he or she is encouraged to contact us.

We make it a point, to provide our clients with transparency; function, and aesthetically pleasing environments.  It is, nowadays, very beneficial to embrace the idea of: hire interior designer.

Designing the Office Renovation for Startups

By Blog, Renovation Resources

When engaging in office renovation for startups, different factors come in to play than in other fields of design.  Not only does the startup sector come with different needs in office space, it also demands an entirely different business model.  Success in this sector relies on meeting demands in both of these area.  According to one design company,

“The industry standard is to take almost every client over budget … (our) whole idea is that when you’re not working on commission, your incentive is to get the best deal for your client.”

A pricing model that lets businesses know what they are paying for and holds to a contract’s time and rate guarantees presents an attractive option for startups.  Because their design space can be so novel, a transparent contract becomes almost necessary to acquiring startup business.

The design for a startup can be almost oppositional to a traditional work space.  Often times, designs try to mimic a home-like environment in order to encourage employees to spend as much time at work as possible.  This doesn’t necessarily focus on the traditional types of work space such as desks and office units, instead incorporating relaxing environments.  It’s not atypical to see a design incorporate couches, rest space, and music rooms into the structure of an office.

In terms of work space, designs usually take into account the group work nature of the modern startup.  Meeting and breakout rooms form the bones of the office, but can also be accompanied by large living-type rooms and drink bars for socializing.  The latest craze is inserting hidden rooms behind bookcases or closets for resting.

In the competition for the most qualified employees, office design can swing the weight in the favor of ‘cool’ office space.  Combined with a straightforward pricing model, design companies have the key to recruiting the modern startup.

To learn more about designing for startups, contact us.

Eco-Friendly Interior Design: Tips & Tricks Before You Meet with a Green Designer!

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Eco-friendly, also known as “green,” interior design is an emerging interior design trend that takes the environmental impact of the redesign into account. As more people become conscious of their so-called “carbon footprint,” eco-friendly/green design is becoming more popular. So, what are some things you should keep in mind before you meet with your green interior designer?

  • Think of some things you can “upcycle,” or re-use in a different way. For example, do you want your interior designer to redesign your couch? Some cotton fabric processes can be toxic, so if you have an old set of curtains that could be put to good use, turn them over to your interior designer to have them re-dyed and re-hemmed to fit the couch!
  • Your floor will, most likely, be the first thing that has to get an overhaul. This is especially true if you have carpeting, which is a harbinger for diseases and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Some “green” flooring options include, but are not limited to, reclaimed wood, bamboo, and cork. You can also get an area rug for these new floors made of hemp or wool, which is much more environmentally friendly than wall-to-wall cotton carpeting.
  • Whenever possible, shop locally. Even though you may think you’re paying more for local materials, the reality is, you’re saving money — and the planet — by not paying for transportation costs, such as fuel and oil.

openUU is an interdisciplinary design studio founded in 2011. We encourage people to create within our unique space, and we can even integrate “green design” into the space that works for you. For more information about us and our services, contact us today.