Entrusting Your Furniture to a Professional: Part I – The Selection Process

When asked why furniture selection and bidding should be included in the architect/interior designers contract, I often find myself speechless. Most often, I hold back my natural response, “Why wouldn’t you?” and try not to overwhelm the person with reason after reason for why it’s the only way I would do it.

You might say, “Well you’re an interior designer, of course you want us to include furniture in your contract.”

Consider this: in new construction, the construction of the building is going to be your largest expense. Your second largest expense is going to be furnishing the building. Why would you want to take on this massive project and expense rather than allowing a professional handle it for you?

Often times, when furniture is bid, any costs you incur in hiring a professional will be offset by the savings found through the competitive bid, and you will achieve a better result. The benefit you have in hiring someone who is intimately familiar with the project is that they know all the details for why decisions were made and the goals that were set forth early on in the project. 

During this three part series, we are going to look at several facets of why entrusting your furniture to an interior designer can have tremendous benefit. First off in our series, we will take a look at the selection process from the very beginning.

The experience

Furniture contributes to how people experience a building as much as, if not more than, any other element in the design. Think about it this way: when you go to a fancy restaurant, would you feel comfortable sitting through a 5 course meal in a hard metal folding chair? Of course not. You would also likely not be willing to pay the same amount of money for that meal because you didn’t experience the level of luxury you were expecting. Although this may be an extreme example, furniture really does affect how a person will experience a space and will influence whether or not his or her impression of the space is positive or negative. 

The importance of selections

Furniture selection and finishes are key to a holistic design for a building. After all, it is the part of the room we experience – not only through sight, but also through touch. It becomes one of the  most important tools for using a space. When a building is designed, each space is planned with a certain function in  mind. Those functions generally have a specific requirement to fulfill its intended purpose. Doesn’t it then make sense that someone with an intimate knowledge of the design would be most capable of selecting furniture that fits the space? Not only will the furniture function better, but it will also coincide with the design of the room much more seamlessly. Furniture should not fight the building design; it should contribute. Think of it as the icing on the cake. 

The process of selection

I always recommend that the client be integrally involved in the selection of the furniture and make an effort to understand the specific reasons why one option may be better for them than another. The best way to really understand the options is to take a trip to a dealer with your designer. Most times, a variety of furniture styles and quality levels can be discussed at the same place.