Why Hiring a Commercial Interior Designer is Worth The Investment

I know, your first thought is probably, “Well, if this isn’t a self-promoting post, I don’t know what is!” Yes, I am indeed an interior designer, so I know that my perspective may be a bit biased.

That’s why, rather than only giving you my perspective on why hiring a commercial interior designer is worth the investment, I’ve reached out directly to our clients and asked for their insight as well.

There were definitely some parallels to my personal and professional thoughts on why hiring a commercial interior designer is the way to go. But some answers were pleasantly surprising, too.

Here’s what our clients came up with:

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One: You’ll save time, freeing you up to focus on the work that only you can do

As designers, we have our process down to a “T.” Tasks that take non-designers days or weeks to complete are a cinch for us because we’ve streamlined our work into an effective and efficient process. Transforming a space can be an incredibly stressful event. When you put the work into the hands of a skilled and trusted expert, you can turn a hectic experience into a fun, easy and creative journey!

From Our Client:

“The undertaking of a new restaurant project is far more than just the construction. In the midst of demolition, we were creating a menu, hiring and training staff, purchasing all of our start-up stock, getting insurance and so much more. Having to do this along with the management of our project would have been an unnecessary stress that would have distracted us from the type of necessary work that only we could accomplish.”

 

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Two: A designer will optimize your space to its fullest potential

One of the first exercises we work through with our clients is calculating how many “butts in seats” they need in order to turn a profit. Once we have that number, we work our space-planning magic to maximize the area to its fullest potential. Space planning is not limited to chairs and tables – it also includes point of sale (POS) locations, size of kitchen, staff workflow, guest path of travel and more.

From Our Client:

“We were excited to bring in an interior designer, partly due to the size of the space! We already had a layout in mind, but by incorporating an architect and designer into the project, it gave us the needed boost to optimize the 3,500 square feet in a way that would help us reach our sales goals.”

 

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Three: A designer will find décor and furniture you’ve never seen

Finding inspirational Instagram accounts is fun for everyone, but sourcing the featured pieces is a professional skill. We are design detectives and have a knack for finding one-of-a-kind items from reliable trade-only sources, which can result in a significant cost-savings.

We’re also fans of one-of-a-kind found objects, which we dig up on scavenger hunts through some of our favorite antique shops and flea markets. Hunting for these unique gems takes time and commitment, and incorporating them can take your project from great to awesome. So, it’s 100 percent worth the effort.

Designers have access to small shops, makers and builders that craft specialty items you won’t find in stores. By working with a commercial designer, you’ll gain access to these products, which positions your brand as a truly unique experience. This sets the bar high and gives you an advantage over competitors.

From Our Client:

“Among the most valuable resources FJI provided were the custom manufacturers of our banquet benches and dining tables. They highlight the space in such an exquisite way; our patrons immediately gravitate to those areas of the restaurant rather than just sitting at the bar.”

 

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Four: You’ll end up with a space that is truly unique to your brand

Carbon-copying an inspiration image found in magazines or on Pinterest sounds great in theory, but oftentimes it leaves you with a space that is not reflective of your brand’s personality. Rather than just following trends, it’s better to choose concepts, ideas and items that are congruent with your brand, and most importantly, make you happy the moment you see them.

From Our Client:

“We get asked about our custom dining tables all the time. It’s amazing to see our patrons notice the details and subtleties infused throughout our space. I guess it’s because they’ve never seen anything like it!”

 

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Five: Access to an expert-level of technical knowledge

Commercial interior designers are generally known for their sense of creativity, color balancing skills, and knowledge in materials and finishes. While the aesthetics are definitely a big factor, we also know a lot about building codes and construction processes. This understanding means that our solutions keep regulations in mind – a major benefit for our clients.

Another useful skill is project management and concise communication. Without a system of processes, a project’s timeline can be compromised. These skills are vital in ensuring the work being performed is precisely what our client is anticipating and that it’s all getting done on time.

From Our Client:

“We were obviously aware that an interior designer could create a vision of the space that was beyond our scope, but the level of technical knowledge FJI had pertaining to plan design; contracting; furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) sourcing; and inspections was a pleasant surprise.”

 

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Six: You’re less likely to make expensive mistakes

There are so many design-related choices out there and it can be hard to know what is best. As professional commercial designers, we’re able to pull from previous experience and current market knowledge to guide you to the right choices.

It’s a common misconception that taking the DIY route will automatically save you money. As professionals, we know a lot of distributors and manufacturers. We know where to go to find the best things and the best deal for every project. We are insiders who can often secure our client certain industry discounts.

This doesn’t mean that hiring a designer won’t come at a (worthwhile) cost. We just mean to say that it takes a great deal more time and effort to curate and build a space by yourself. If it brings you joy and satisfaction, then it’s definitely something you should take on. But if spending a full day hunting for the perfect community table doesn’t thrill you, then hand the task over to someone who loves the challenge.

From Our Client:

“We opened our first bar ourselves, and curated, built and purchased items for every corner of the space. Our second bar was a much bigger undertaking and we knew that our resources, as well as our time, would be limited due to other obligations. It made sense, from a monetary perspective, to hand the reins to an expert who we trusted to design a space and source items within our predetermined budget.”

 

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Seven: A sincere and mutually-beneficial partnership

Our love for food and beverage is a true, deep-rooted passion. We’re not looking for the next portfolio piece. We’re looking for an opportunity to contribute to our client’s success – to create a true partnership that goes beyond a signed service agreement. When we work with a client, we’re committed to their success for the long-term.

From Our Client:

“The most valuable deliverable that came from the project was the friendship that we developed with FJI. We had zero relationship with FJI prior to working with them, so our eyes were wide open. There is not one single individual outside of Dala that meant more to us during this venture. When we are in the space, we see the love and inspiration that she and her team put into our bar and restaurant. We also hear about it every day from the patrons who walk through our doors.”


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About the author:

This post was written by Dala Al-Fuwaires, principal of FJI, a hospitality interior design firm with a sweet spot for food & beverage interiors. To view her portfolio of select projects, click here.