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  • Writer's pictureBre Oriolo

Consultation: 8 Different Ways

Updated: Mar 18

me with a client in the middle of a consultation

It's so hard to do a consultation justice when I'm describing how it can be used. There are so many ways you can do this service as it's truly tailored to the client and what they need! Because of this, each consultation might look a little different.

In general, a consultation is for you if:

  • You want to receive options, advice, and inspiration.

  • You want to implement ideas yourself (DIY).

  • You want someone to discuss ideas with.

Read ahead for 8 specific examples of how you can use my standalone 2 hour consulation.

1. The Paint Consultation

Have you ever struggled to choose paint colors for your home? It can be overwhelming to create a whole house paint color palette, one where the colors are cohesive and flow throughout your home. A paint consultation gives you peace of mind that you're choosing the colors most suited for you and your home.

designer's paint swatch kit

What this looks like: I bring my designer paint sample kits for both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint brands. These contain several paint decks and small paint color swatch cards. You show me your home and we get to work pulling colors, holding them up, pairing them with other colors. It's a true work session. We narrow choices down. I'm taking all the notes and keeping track of color likes and dislikes. Following the consultation, I send you a digital document of the whole house paint color palette we came up with. All the paint dollops in the document are linked so you have all of the information. In addition to this document, I order larger, 8x10 paint color swatches to be sent directly to your home. This way, you can hang up the larger sheets and analyze over the next few days in different lighting over various times of the day.

nix color sensor paint color sensor tool

My clients always feel more confident in their paint color choices after a paint consultation. I give you the tools and resources you need to succeed! I also got a new color tool that can help in paint consultations. It's a color sensor- when you put it up against a color it gives you the closest paint color match. You can even choose your preferred paint brand for the results. It can work with paint, but also help in matching colors to wallpapers, fabric, tile, you name it!

2. Play 20 Questions

Ever have a project going and end up with a list of random questions you don't know how to answer? I'll come over for a consultation and answer them! That's just what one couple did for a consultation.

They were remodeling their kitchen when a lot of questions kept popping up and they started to second guess some decisions. They invited me over and we tackled the list of questions! First, they showed me some of the material selections they had made for cabinets, etc. so I had a foundation for what they were about to ask me.

Here were some things they asked:

  • What finishes to use with white + navy cabinets?

  • What material/colors for the countertop?

  • How many pendants to put over the island? What should spacing look like?

  • Grout colors for the backsplash?

  • What colors/tones to use for wood flooring?

  • Help us pick a sink!

  • We want white walls. But WHICH white paint color do we choose?

  • The kitchen opens up to the family room. What color to paint that room?

After the consultation, I sent them a recap of our notes, some sketches of the island pendant light spacing, and this visual of all of our kitchen selections together.

kitchen moodboard of selections during consult

3. Window Treatment Guidance

Did you know I do virtual consultations? I have a client in California and our first one was a virtual paint consultation. You can actually see an image of her paint and wallcovering paint match consultation above (the one with the tropical wallcovering mural and paired pink paint colors). She came back for a second (virtual) consultation for help with window treatments. For local, full service clients, I'd recommend custom window treatments + working with my local workroom. However, with virtual, this wasn't practical. Also, I recognize that sometimes custom window treatments aren't always in the budget.

semi custom bamboo Roman shades

So here's how our second virtual consultation went: my client sent me a link to the white blinds she purchased for every window in her new home. She wanted to know if she should pair curtains with these, or what exactly to do. First thing I said on our video call: "I'm going to need you to return those blinds!" Haha! We chose a white wall color for her main living areas and hallways. While we want something lighter for many of the windows, we don't want white on white. And we certainly don't want blinds. We need something that compliments the light, California, coastal vibe she has going on. Something soft and natural, organic even. I showed her some semi-custom bamboo Roman shades. She loved them. She ordered samples for the colors she liked the most. Here's what we ended up with throughout her house. They added such a softness and really added to that light, coastal vibe. Oh and did I mention they're cordless??? You're also able to choose among four privacy lining levels with these. She's so happy with them!

semi custom window treatments

We did add some drapes, too, for some of her windows. Her bedroom was a little tricky for her since the windows were so close to the corner. I walked her through choosing hardware finishes that would complement the wall color (and drapes), as well as how to install with a corner connector piece so that her windows could be seamless in that area. I gave her color and fabric suggestions for the drapes. She again ordered samples (always get samples!) and this is the look she ended up with. We also discussed hanging everything pretty high, close to the ceilings to make the room appear bigger and taller.

4. Narrowing Down Selections

I did a consultation for a couple who was trying to narrow down their bath project selections. They had picked a few shower wall tiles, a few floor tiles, some cabinetry colors, etc. but they couldn't make decisions! Their contractor needed some answers. So they called me in.

style and goal notes with a color palette

Before we could dive into the tile samples and making decisions, I needed to get clear on what they wanted the bath space to look + feel like. What did they want the vibe to be? That would largely determine the direction we took. After talking with them, I came up with a list of words to help them better envision this new space. I included this page in their digital follow up document so that they could refer to it whenever making decisions or purchases for the space.

primary bath moodboard

Once we had a good idea of the style + goals, we were able to narrow down tile selections as well as put together a completed design concept. I sent them this vision board as part of the digital follow up document so they could see all of their selections together in one space. Visualizing everything is half the battle! Check out the photos below to see how this bath space turned out. Work done by Shade Tree Homes.

5. Space Planning and Renderings

kitchen remodel floorplan and layout

People have a really hard time visualizing what a space will look like when they knock out a wall to make it bigger, especially when it comes to kitchens. Better yet, understanding what your layout options are with a new space. For this, I offer a unique consultation that includes renderings. This consult does cost a little more (renderings take time), but offers something so valuable: seeing what the future space could look like, to scale. While I do not consider myself a "kitchen + bath designer," this is helpful for providing a dialogue about options and processing some different ideas before moving forward with a contractor + plans. Check out some renderings I've done as a part of my consultation service. I always include the floorplan + several different angles of snapshots within the rendering.

6. Figuring Out Your Style

Tired of ordering a bunch of furniture + decor only to get it all and it just doesn't work?

A consultation helps you talk things out so we can decide on a direction and plan for the style(s) of your space. People usually have more than one style that they like and gravitate towards, however, the art is in determining which styles will work together well in a space. For example, I started one consultation with one client showing me two different light fixtures she ordered but would probably return because they just weren't working. We talked it through: one is farmhouse and one is glam. The mixture of the two styles weren't helping anything in her amazing space. You have to consider the space, too. She has an amazing condo with a view of downtown/the river. I think sometimes people rely too much on trends or what their well-meaning (but non designer) friends suggest. After talking with this client more, and seeing some of her purchases she kept and LOVED, I knew we needed to focus more on the glam style; I could tell it's what really made her happy. It complemented her space well, too.

For her digital follow up document, I made a really simple style profile of descriptor words to help her when selecting anything for her home. It also included a list of "look fors" so she had specific elements she knew would work well in her design. After talking about colors and materials (she definitely appreciates some dark + moody), I was able to whip up a quick vision board of what all of this could look like.

I did a similar style consultation with my friend, Brooke. She had been pinning some different ideas on Pinterest for her downsizing + move. Like I mentioned, most people have more than one style and her Pinterest board showcased this. She needed help moving from Pinterest boards to taking action and planning the design for her new place. Analyzing Pinterest boards is a favorite for me. And whether you do a consultation or full service design, I highly recommend having a Pinterest board (or several) for your decorator to see. It will give them so much information! Brooke has always gravitated towards a specific color palette. Scrolling through her Pinterest, I could immediately pick those colors out. So the first thing I did for her was to clearly show what that palette looked like. The next thing I did was pick out the two distinct styles I saw. One style that kept showing up was this "antique-vintage-glam-anthro vibes" look. The other was "organic-earthy-nature-comfy-boho" look + feel. After identifying the two strongest styles, we spent time discussing where we'd incorporate each. So the antique-glam-anthro vibes would be more in the living and kitchen areas. The organic-nature-boho could be more in the bedroom/guest rooms. We made a plan for the styles. Having organized boards + visuals helps you move forward and tackle your design.

7. New Build Selections

My friend texted one day about an upcoming new build design selections meeting. She had a folder of design decisions to make, and more than anything, wanted to make sure she was making the "right" decisions. She originally asked if I could look over the folder and give guidance. Then I mentioned doing that, but just coming to the meeting with her, so if something came up, I could be there for support. And there a new consultation format was born! See! There are just so many different ways a consultation can be used. We had so much fun during the meeting, and it was a great excuse to see my friend and her family. There was only a brief period of mild stress selecting the exterior materials and colors (insert sweating emoji here). Their new build neighbors selected some of the colors they had planned for the exterior, so we had to make some on-the-spot decisions. I think we made some great team choices, though!

new build design selection meeting

8. The Porch + Exterior Consultation

My neighbors texted me a week ago looking for help with their exterior. They are wanting to make some cosmetic changes to the exterior, all while making sure they honor their home's age (99 years old) and stay true to the architecture. I love their home, it's a brick four square with a terracotta roof. It's stunning and I agree with their decision and desire to stay true to the home.

Here are some questions we addressed during our time together:

  • Trim paint colors to coordinate with brick

  • Epoxy colors for porch

  • How to lighten up porch area

  • How to maximize + arrange porch seating

  • General front landscaping ideas

  • Style of furniture + decor on porch

  • Style of new windows- wanting them to be historically accurate

The best part about a consultation is that it's a conversation, a dialogue. It's about talking through ideas and boucing ideas back and forth. For example, I was suggesting classic coordinating colors for their reddish-brownish brick home. Again, we are wanting to stay historically accurate and true to the home. The owner mentioned liking the green color of patina. I didn't think much of it beyond, "that would be cool for decorating the porch." Then I got home and thought, "OMG! It should be the trim color!" It would definitely make it a more interesting look then the brick, black and creams we had picked out for the exterior. I love when I get to go into collaboration mode. The best part is that we ended the consult with them both feeling relieved, excited, and way less overwhelmed.

color palette from a consultation

Now that the consultation is over, I'll work on creating a digital document to recap the ideas we discussed. I already ordered some large paint swatches for the exterior colors we discussed. Here's the color palette I'm working with right now. I'm so excited to see this come to life.

Ready for a Consultation?

If you're ready for a consultation, fill out my client intake form to get started. Need more support than what a consultation provides? Full service interior decorating might be for you. Need help but no idea which service is best for you? Check out this service comparison chart.

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