How to Determine Your Budget

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Let’s not focus on what you “should” spend, but instead what you are comfortable with. I like to call it value engineering- we can mix higher end items with lower end items- it all depends on where you want to invest your money. For instance if you like to entertain people and often have movie nights, I would suggest putting more a focus on a comfortable sofa and seating arrangement and less on accessories or art- we can find some great options at a fraction of the cost. Or if you like to surround yourself with well curated accessories, we can put more focus on these items, and less on the furniture in the room.

Now what would you feel comfortable investing into the purchase of your sofa? $10,000? $6,500? $3,000?

*** go through each item in the room- keep a running budget list going. Once you have gone through all large items in a room, add up all items- this is now your rough budget.***



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Avoid Common Furniture Mistakes

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Here is a list of common mistakes I see clients (before they hire me) make:

- window drapes are too short

- window drapes are mounted too low on the wall

- too short or too tall nightstands

- too short lamps

- Artwork is mounted too high on the wall

- artwork is too small or too large

- too many accessories

- under utilization of storage options

- ceiling lighting is too small

- too trendy

the list goes on, but these are some of the most common mistakes I see clients making. If you would like to better understand how to avoid these mistakes, check out my e-book "Everything You Need to Know About Interior Design" on Amazon and you will get every little "secret" I have on making your home mistake-free! Click HERE for my e-book.     



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Is my designer charging me too much?

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I get this question a lot. And the short answer is it depends. It depends on the scope of your project, the size of your house, the location, the market, if you want project management included in the designers fee, the contractors needed, etc. all of these factors will affect your designers fee. There’s no set standard fee for a designers services because there is no one project that is identical to another.

That may not be the answer you are looking for, so to be a little more specific, consider that most designers charge anywhere from $75-$1500 an hour. That will depend on your location, the designers experience and the scope of their work. If you are working on a commercial project (restaurant, office, etc), often times designers will charge a flat rate that can vary from $3/sf-$20/sf. 

A healthy budget for product is usually around 10% of the cost of your home. For instance if you bought a $100,000 home, you should expect to pay $10,000 in home goods. So if your designer is budgeting for right around 10% of the market value of your home, they are probably right on target. This 10% budget is a good example for any middle class family who is looking for quality pieces mixed with affordable pieces. I would suggest not going any lower than this, or you will be replacing your furniture far too often since cheap furniture will break down at much faster rate than any quality piece. You could also increase this budget signifanctlly if you are looking to purchase only heirloom quality furniture and accessories. But 10% should give you a good starting point for product price ranges. 

Not to mention a designer also has to consider their profit margins. In order for a designer to stay in business, they must have a profit margin. Asking someone to adjust their profit margins for you and your project simply because you believe they should make less on your project than they would be is not only rude but could be considered insulting. Would you ask your doctor to lower their profit margins on the prescription drug they are going to give you simply because you have already paid a fee to see them? Most of us don’t even think twice about this, so why would a designer be willing to negotiate with you on this? 

So so if you are concerned that your designee is charging you too much, take a look at;

1. The designer. How many years experience do they have? What qualifications do they have? Do they have any designations (ASID, CID, etc)? How many clients have they had? Are the fees they are charging reflective of this information?

2. Your budget. How much are you willing to spend? I’ve given you an outline of what to expect on furnishings and the hourly rate you can expect from a designer listed above, so what are you ready to spend your budget on? 

Other options you have:

I’ve had clients who are willing to pay for my services by the hour, but want to purchase the furniture at a later date due to budget constraints. Some designers can be flexible like this and work with your budget over a period of time. 

Another option is to ask your designer to only shop retail locations and you can purchase their furniture on your own. Keep in mind, with retail stores, their furnishings are fashionable, and can often be discontinued, so don’t wait too long to get that perfect sofa or table lamp, because it could be gone next week.  

I now only offer clients retail shopping lists through my online design service package, this way my clients can purchase at their leisure, whenever the budget allows. I feel that this takes a lot of the pressure off of the client-designer relationship and puts the client in charge of their finances, which most clients seem to enjoy.  


Every designer has their own way of running their business, and unless you ask for a breakdown of services versus product, you may think their overall fee is very high, but in actuality, when you break everything down, their services and product fees are probably pretty accurate- that is if you have a good designer who understands what they are doing.  

Even if I am not the designer for you, I want you to be armed with all the knowledge I can share with you, so you can make the best decision for you and your home.  


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Get more for your vacation rental!

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If you have a vacation rental, or are considering renting your home out as a vacation rental, hiring a designer could help you get top dollar! 

A Designer will help layout your home so that it functions at its best and feels welcoming. Often times when we live in a space for a long period of time, we often overlook little details that a designer could point out that might make a guest feel unwelcome. For instance, family photos can add a touch of personality to a home, but it can also make a guest feel unwelcome- as if they are staying in a room that belongs to someone else. While this might literally be the case, you don't want a paying guest to feel as if they are staying in someone else's room.   

Designers are great at making a room feel pulled together, but also welcoming. Many designers offer design only services and paid-for advise (I do!), in which they will share their professional opinion on your room, so you can get top dollar!  


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New services are now available! I have been taking a break from client based services for several months so that I could focus on developing my education for my students, but I have completed the curriculum and have now opened the doors to new services! I am introducing two new services: Online Design and Decorating- so you can live anywhere in the U.S. and still get that "Krystin Krebs Interiors" signature style. I am also introducing "Design Advice" with me! You can shoot me an email and ask me all your burning questions about design, your space, colors, etc. and I will personally respond to you with all the knowledge, sources, and information that I have available.   


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You Think You Can Be A Designer?


Interior Designers might seem like their services are too expensive for what you are getting in return, but consider this, before dismissing an interior designers worth:

How much time would it take for you to measure your entire home? (Including the baseboards, window sill and trim, doors, door frames, distances from electrical outlets, switches, counter-top height, width, depth, floor length and width, stair riser height, etc.) Designers are pro's and they can do this in a matter or a couple hours or less depending on your home and designer's skill. 

How many phone calls are you willing to take during your work hour(s) or after from contractors, vendors, delivery personnel, etc? Do you know what to do if one of these people doesn't show up? Do you have someone else you can call to fill in for someone who may call out sick that day? Do you have someone who will be home when you are unable to be there to accept deliveries? Designers have all the resources they need, including people to receive packages when you can't be home. We all have busy lives, and adding one more responsibility to your plate might be a little too much.  

How much time do you have to track all your packages and follow up with vendors who don't follow through on their delivery dates? Designers often spend a good portion of their day tracking purchases for their clients, making sure all deliveries are on time, and if they are not, Designer's will handle the situation, often behind the scenes, so you don't even know what they are doing- creating more free time for you.  

Not only do designers do everything listed above, but they also have an education that helps them select the best materials for your home given your personal criteria. Got pets? No problem, designers can pick materials that will with-stand claws and paws. Got kids? No problem, designers will find stain resistant fabrics for you. Got antiques or family heirlooms? No problem, designers know what kind of window treatments you will need to keep them save and damage free (at least from the natural elements). 

This is why everyone needs a designer. Even if only for a few hours, be sure to make friends with your designer so you have someone to call in case you need some help! Don't be afraid, they wont bite you!  




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Home Design Mistakes : Downsizing

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The most common mistakes I see people make in their homes has to do with scale. I have seen countless clients downsizing and trying to bring their over-sized furniture with them, only to discover that none of it fits in their new home. When you downsize, you need to also downsize your furniture so that your space doesn't feel overwhelmed.

If you are considering downsizing make sure to measure your furniture and measure your new home before you start to move. There's nothing worse than carting an 11 foot sofa to your new home to find out it won't fit and it will have to sit outside until you can figure out what to do with it.

It might be worth the money to hire a designer to do this work for you as well. A designer should be able to measure your existing furniture and measure your new space and let you know what pieces you should take with you and what pieces you should sell or give away. 

Another rule of thumb is to only bring quality furniture with you. That table from IKEA should not come with you, there's no sense in keeping low quality furniture like this in your new home. When you downsize and move into a smaller home, the small details like the quality of furniture will become more apparent in your new home since there will be much more valuable real estate in a smaller floor-plan.       


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How to work with an Interior Designer Part 2

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Part 2: How Designers Charge

There are several ways that a designer might charge for their time, but there are generally two most common: by the hour, or by the project. This can get tricky because the hours a designer spends on your project will vary from project to project. I have seen some designers charge by the hour, but bill in "bundles".

For instance a designer might bill a client for 50 hours, and when these hours are around 40-45, the designer will let the client know how much time remains in their account. Should they want to purchase more time, they can buy an additional bundle.

Other designers might bill by the hour and send an invoice every week or every other week.

And then there are some designers who bill their clients based on the project. Most of the time, clients generally prefer this method so there are no "hidden" fees or questions about how many hours were spent on any particular part of a project. This method of billing is usually for the more seasoned designer as they will need to know how many hours they can allocate to the project, and must have a sense of what the client is expecting of them. 

Find out how your designer charges for their projects and see what is the best fit for you and your project. Be mindful of how long a project will take by asking a designer how much time they think your project will require. Also, be mindful of your own time. Do you want to spend 10 minutes talking with your designer on the phone about the exact shade of blue you want for your sofa? Or could that conversation wait and be combined with your other burning questions in a 30 minute meeting? 


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How to Work with an Interior Designer (when you have never worked with one before)

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What you will need in advance:

- idea of what you want to accomplish. For instance, is your goal to have more seating for those family get togethers? Or is your goal to have a tranquil place for you to relax and do yoga? Or maybe you want a space that just feels tied together. Whatever your goal is, know what you want to accomplish. 

- know what your budget is, or at least what you would feel comfortable spending. Is $15,000 too much for a sofa? Is $5,000? If you don't know what your budget is, your designer should be able to help you define that, but be prepared to have a conversation about budget and what you feel comfortable spending. 

- have an idea of what you are attracted to. Make a pinterest or houzz board and be prepared to share these boards with your designer. This will not only help your designer narrow down your options for you, but it will also help you get a better idea of what your personal style is, and what you are or are not attracted to.   


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Do You Need an Interior Designer?

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So you have a home project, and you are considering hiring an Interior Designer, but do you really need one? It will all depend on what your goals are for your home. Interior Designers Usually Offer the following services:

  • Site assessments & design programming
  • Space planning
  • Product & material research
  • Product & material selections
  • Appliance & equipment selections
  • Plumbing fixture selections
  • Project administration
  • Order management
  • Delivery & scheduling
  • White-glove installation
  • Coordination with Allied Professionals & Consultants
  • Exterior residential designs
  • Site plans (based off existing survey)
  • Permit plans (Existing & Proposed)
  • Partition & furniture plans
  • Detailed kitchen & bath plans
  • Construction & demolition plans
  • Power & communication plans
  • Reflected ceiling plan
  • Interior elevations
  • Detail & section plans
  • 3D perspectives in colour renditions
  • In-house shop drawings (a specialty)
  • Specifications

And often times designer will even offer smaller services like paint selection, etc. for a small fee. Each person has a different goal for their home, some people don't like making decisions like these, so they hire a designer to cover all aspects of their project.

Other people would like to be involved through the entire process and would even like some DIY projects. You will want to know at least how much you would like to be involved in the process prior to hiring a designer. Based on your desire to be involved will affect how much you need a designer. 


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How To Tell Your Interior Decorator or Designer NO

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The one question that I heard from so many people looking for an interior designer or decorator, is that they are afraid to hire a designer because they are afraid that a designer will take over their home and they won't know how to tell them no. I have one very simple answer, simply tell them how you feel.

If you feel a designer or decorator is taking over your home, and it no longer says "you", simply tell them that you feel they are not considering your needs and desires, and that your home no longer has your personality in it. A good designer will take this into account and adjust their approach. A not-so-good designer may not take this into account, in which case, feel free to fire them. Seriously- it may seem harsh, but there are plenty of other designers and decorators in the world, and your area that you can connect with. 

Working with a designer is like being in a relationship, when it's working, its great, but when it's not working, it's time to just cut the ties and let them go. So be sure to check in with yourself, and ask if the relationship you have with your designer or decorator is good for you. Becuase at the end of the day, YOU are the one who will have to live in your home, the designer simply gets to walk away from the project and move onto the next.     


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Drapes versus Curtains

So this might seem funny, but drapes are meant for windows, while curtains are meant for bath tub/ shower stalls. Drapes are usually made of softer fabrics like linens, silks, etc. Curtains usually are made of plastics, and other durable materials. 

Check out some of my favorite drapes and curtains below:




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What types of Artwork should you put in your Home

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There are many different types of artwork available for purchase from many different vendors including the following:

- Painting: Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor

- Photography

- Drawings: Pencil, Charcoal, Colored Pencils

- Print: Block Printing, Screen Printing,  

- Sculpture: Metal, Wood, Paper, - pretty much anything. 

Be sure to check out my previous blog posts:

My favorite places to shop for artwork!

The 5 Best Ways to Display Art

How to Use Art to Create a Color Pallete


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Whats the difference between a Barstool and a Counterstool?

I get asked this question alot, so let me first explain that the main difference between a barstool and a counterstool, is that barstools are taller than counterstools. Counterstools are meant for seating at a counter (often in the kitchen), barstools are meant for seating at a bartop which is higher than a countertop. 

 Devi Barstool

Devi Barstool

 Devi Counterstool

Devi Counterstool


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What are you paying a designer to do?

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What are you paying an interior designer to do?


Use their knowledge to design a room that functions at its best by Space planning

Make sure you furniture proportions are best for your space

Track shipments

Install and assemble furniture

Hire other professionals

Project management- they should have all the answers or know where to go to get them for you

Translator between you (the client) and the contractor or trades person.

Design your space to your liking by sourcing furniture that you like

Purchasing furniture while staying under budget


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How to pick the right finishes for your room

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Long gone are the days when bedrooms that were sold in matching sets were the most desirable look. Now, it often seems like it takes a professional (like me!) to pull together a room. 

Here are just a few helpful hints when selecting furniture:

Select three finishes that you enjoy. Do you like a high-gloss white lacquer? Or do you like dark walnut? If so, write a list of finishes you like. Now select three from this list and only purchase furniture in these finishes. Each room should have a mix of these finishes. If one room has more of one color, make the next room have more of one of the other two color options. 

If you aren't sure what finishes you like, go to a furniture store nearby and ask the sales person to tell you about the options they have available. I would suggest going to a store that will have more than one finish option for each item they show. For example Bassett Furniture, Restoration Hardware, sometimes Pottery Barn/West Elm/Macy's can have finish options. This should help give you an education on the types of finishes available in the market. From here, you will probably have a strong gut reaction either for or against each finish. Write these down, or keep a mental note about the ones you liked. 

For instance, were you drawn to oak finishes? Or did you not like the walnut options that you saw? Keep a list. 

From this list, note a light, medium, and dark option that you liked best. Use these as your three finishes to look for when shopping.     


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How to choose upholstered furniture


Let your lifestyle determine what colors and fabrics you choose. For example, I have a large, hyper dog constantly climbing on the furniture. If I brought home a white suede couch, it would be torn apart and stained in minutes. If you have kids or pets, stick with dark colors and stain-resistant tough fabrics like linen or tweed. 

Stick to neutral colors for your bigger and more expensive pieces. Save bold colors for décor pieces. 

If you like firm sofas, look for one with traditional coiled springs. If you want a softer feel, go with zigzag coils. Before you buy, take off the cushions and press down on the base of the sofa. The coils should push down and spring back into place immediately. 

Look for firm cushions with a removable cover matching on both sides. Firm cushions hold up better over time. Fully covered cushions cost a bit more than ones with the pattern on one side and a plain white or tan backing, but they’ll last longer and wear evenly if you can flip them over every few months. Find removable covers that are easily washable.



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How to know the difference between a cocktail table and a coffee table

Ever wondered what Designers or people in the furniture business are talking about when they say "It's not a coffee table, its a cocktail table"? It's really very simple. Cocktail Tables are round, and Coffee Tables are square or rectangular.

Here are just a few of my favorite cocktail tables:

And here are a few of my favorite coffee tables:

Want to know the best dimensions of a coffee (or cocktail) table?  See my blog post: Best Height for your Coffee Table for more info.    


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What to do with an extra closet

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Got an extra closet that you don't know what to do with?

Try these ideas:

Convert you closet into an office nook with a desk and chair. 

Closet by the entry door? Try a bench with a couple pillows and some storage including coat hangers on the wall. 

Guest Bedroom Closets can also make a great headboard nook. Try something that will wow your guest like a pop of color on the wall or wallpaper.

Turn it into a reading nook with a chair, side table and bookcase. 



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How to Organize and De-clutter Your Home Part 5

How to Organize Your Home:

You should have a designated space to keep Emergency Information as well as Personal Information. If something were to happen to you, and your family needed access to these types of documents, you don’t want them to have to dig around through your desk, spending hours of precious time looking for what they need. Here are some of the items I suggest you keep in a safe place:


  • Marriage Certificate

  • Birth Certificate

  • Adoption Papers

  • Citizenship Records

  • Divorce Papers

  • House Deed

  • Mortgage Papers

  • Death Certificate

  • Automobile Titles

  • Service Papers

  • Leases /Contracts

  • Will

  • Patents and Copyrights  

  • Passports

  • Life Insurance Policy

  • Health Insurance Card (s)

  • Copy of your License

  • Medical Directives (should you not be able to speak on your own behalf, a medical directive will ensure your decisions are followed)

  • Emergency Medical Contacts (primary physician’s phone number, etc)

  • Medical Information (blood type, allergies, etc)

  • Up to date photo of everyone in your family, including your pets (in case someone goes missing)

  • Finger Prints

  • Pet Insurance

If security is a concern of yours, then store these documents in a safe, locked drawer, or in a safety deposit box. Here are the items I suggest you store in a secured space.

That wraps up our 5 part series of how to Organize and Declutter Your Home! Now is the time to buy my e-book on Amazon for a copy of your own list of items to consider when trying to organize and declutter your home. 



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