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Design and Purchasing Pitfalls: What’s the Risk?

The time has come to furnish your home. You’ve chosen items, styles, colors, and patterns. You’re set; what can possibly go wrong? Here are some industry secrets I’ve learned as an experienced interior designer. Although preventing these mishaps isn’t always possible, preparing for them will minimize their impact. You don’t have to do this alone.

Ordering Furniture

Managing Custom Orders

Decorating your home takes time, especially when ordering custom or semi-custom furnishings. The manufacturer typically waits for all required materials to arrive before scheduling all ordered items. Once scheduled, items are prepared in the order the factory deems highest priority. Personnel also need to verify that the items use the fabrics, specific trims, and other materials requested in the order.

Determining Lead Time

Orders go through multiple channels and may get delayed. Therefore, add four weeks to the manufacturer’s shipping estimate. It will USUALLY take longer than you’re told.

Working with Restocking Charges and Cancellations

Custom orders cannot be returned, but non-custom orders may sometimes be returnable for a restocking fee. The factory bases this fee on the costs of readying and re-warehousing the item. This fee ranges from 10% to 60%, plus the return freight costs. Sometimes, a factory will also allow cancellations if the items have not been shipped.


Having a big party Is Not a Deadline

Parties do not make things happen sooner! The factory won’t make the furniture any faster for upcoming holidays. Plus, it’s crucial to allow sufficient time for error correction. Therefore, if you have an important event, such as a wedding, it’s best to start your project a year in advance. A project manager or designer can assist and give you realistic options. If there just isn’t enough time or resources, perhaps the project can be phased or scaled-down.

Understanding Back Orders

Factories and mills make a certain number of items on a schedule, so an item may be out of stock and on backorder. If this happens, there is no guarantee that the factory’s expected ship date will be accurate. Therefore, a designer will typically check stock and availability on a fabric before ordering it. That may minimize the possibility of a stock depletion but not be 100% assurance.


Plan for Variations in Dye

Factories keep a record of which color formula they use for each batch of fabric or yarn or tile, also called a dye lot. Even so, noticeable color changes may occur between dye lots. Therefore, if you need an exact color to match an existing order, it is prudent to cut a sample from the current stock for approval. This step adds time to the order but may prevent a major disappointment.

Colors and Samples

The colors of coordinating wallpaper and fabric seldom match exactly. Due to the difference between fabric and paper, colors print differently. Color also appears differently on the computer screen, therefore a real sample of fabric and wood is recommended. An experienced interior designer considers these factors when recommending product.

Expect Tile Imperfections

Porcelain, marble, or any natural stone has imperfections. To ensure that you have enough tile or material, add 20% of the amount you need per square foot.

Discerning Leather Finishes

There are many finishes on leather. The most expensive leathers are not treated, so they show marks, oil from hands, etc. This leather requires more care as it develops its patina.

What you can do

An experienced interior designer is familiar with these and many other potential pitfalls. The designer’s job is to provide an additional layer of protection and do their best to mitigate these problems. For professional guidance, call Dafna Adler 516-234-5425 or email or book a complimentary discovery call

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