Smart Design Consultant Helps Consumers Avoid Home Decorating Land Mines

When ASID certified designer Kelly Stieff speaks up on home design, savvy consumers with decorating ideas should pay attention.

Here’s why: Experience speaks. Good advice from the voice of Kelly Stieff, a design trade professional with volumes of experience, is practically guaranteed to result in cost savings and gratification versus frustration. Stieff emphatically states, “We live in a culture where everyone likes to ‘do it yourself.’ While there is nothing wrong with this notion, interior design has many aspects that are not nearly as simple as they appear.”

Years of experience representing demanding A-List clients within the metro D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas attest to her design portfolio in homes within the 500k to 2 Million dollar range.

Currently a design consultant with Ethan Allen, a premier home furnishings retailer, her education foundation commenced at UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina and set the stage for her dynamic career.

Early on,  she found herself frequently on location in High Point during “furniture markets galore” cutting her teeth on home furnishing options while learning about customers.

Later, employment as a designer sales consultant with top furniture retailers served to vet Stieff’s experience with intelligent recommendations “direct-to-the consumer”. She says, “Most of my design experiences, including my solo design business and now with Ethan Allen, combine home space planning as well a selection of furniture and accessories.”

Partnering with her customers and helping to educate them before they make mistakes is just “business as usual” for Stieff. Her philosophy includes a “pre-emptive strike” on these “home decorating land mines” that do not serve the customer in the long run.

Here She Shares Some “Sure Fire Tips” that are guaranteed to minimize decorating blow ups:

l. Bring the designer into the equation early on in the process. Do not wait and visit the designer after a $4,000 investment has been made into a sofa that doesn’t fit the room or ghastly paint colors applied that require an entire work around. These mistakes will prove to be expensive.

2. Make sure that the designer is the “right” designer for you. Check the designers’ portfolios, referrals and seek the “best fit” for you. After making a decision, give the designer enough information so that she can make a presentation to your liking. Furthermore, do not expect the designer to be a mind reader. If you hate the color blue, then simply say so.

3. Don’t second guess your designer’s choice. After you are sure you have the right person “trust her/him”. Don’t ask your sister and neighbor, 5-year-old, mother, HVAC repairman (yes, this reportedly happened) their opinion. Everybody will have a different one, and this will only serve to create doubt after the designer’s selection process is fait accompli.

4. Be realistic in planning and appropriating a design budget. The web allows tremendous opportunities for consumers to play “home furnishings sleuth”. One should have a realistic idea as to what items cost at retail so that an appropriate budget is allocated. While one may not be able to decorate an entire room for $5,000.00, there is an opportunity to implement the plan in stages. Alternatively, one may elect to complete the plan with attractive home furnishings retailer financing.

5. Create a plan and work the plan created. Regardless of whether the room is furnished all at once or not, the “pre-emptive” plan needs to be in place so that the person knows what is going to work. For example, one knows that the sofa and chairs are going to work because prior to selecting them the rug and paint colors were previously made. In other words, a “theme” anchors the room and then it is simply a matter of completing the project or executing the plan in phases.

6. Finally, have fun learning with your chosen designer and enjoy the process. After all, this is the place called “home” and should feel like a sanctuary that allows rest, relaxation and restoration for mind, body and spirit.

To learn more about Kelly Stieff and her design ingenuity, see the article link on “The Littlest Ski Lodge” featured in the Washington Post.

Contact Kelly at Ethan Allen in the Sterling, Virginia location:

Kelly Stieff, ASID
Design Consultant
45460 Dulles Crossing Plaza 
Sterling, VA 20166
703-433-9001  Ext. 17

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