Making a Plan
What do you need?
Decorating help that's quick and decisive. You're not necessarily interested in the latest decorating trends, or planning to spend a lot of money. But you want your home to function better, look more attractive and be more comfortable.
Maybe you are combining two households or moving or downsizing, and you're not sure what to keep and what to toss. Or maybe you're planning a special party (or expecting your in-laws) and are in need of a one-day makeover.
Who can help?
An "interior refiner" may fill the bill. The trademarked term was coined by Lauri Ward, a New York designer who started her use-what-you-have business in 1981. She recognized there was a market for design advice that could be accomplished quickly, relying mostly on furnishings the clients already owned. Her 1998 book "Use What You Have Decorating" is a consistent top seller at Amazon.com. Refiners take a five-day certification class in New York or complete classes online. There are more than 300 active members, including about a dozen in this area. The use-what-you-have approach has been adapted by many practitioners who specialize in one-day or per-hour consultations.
What w ill they do?
Refiners visit clients' homes and work alongside them to improve the function and style of a room within hours. They move sofas and chairs, swap lamps and arrange bookshelves. They leave a written plan of action for each room, sometimes suggesting future purchases. They also will shop with or for their clients. Some will consult specifically on paint colors; on displaying art and accessories; or on readying a house for resale.
What won't they do?
Don't confuse done-in-a-day refiners with organizers, declutterers or cleaning services. They are distinguished from many redesigners and restagers because they work while the client is on-site.
How much will it cost?
Members of Interior Refiners charge a flat per-room fee ranging from $250 to $350 for rooms less than 19 feet long; more for larger spaces. Other quick-fix decorators usually charge either per-room or by the hour.
How to find one?
To find an Interior Refiner in your area, see http:/