A designer helps you tell your story through your home

PHOTO/KAY MCLANE Design styles cover everything from French country and art deco to contemporary (pictured here). What’s important is that the design works for your home.

For most people, a home is the largest financial investment they’ll ever make.

AFor that reason alone, it’s often wise to consider working with an interior designer.

Some homeowners may regard a designer as a luxury for only the very wealthy. This is a huge misconception.

Regardless of whether your budget is $300 or $30,000, having the insight of someone who’s passionate about how you live in, and move through, your home is instrumental in getting the end result you desire.

Having someone walk into your home and advise you on your décor is a very personal encounter, which might be a lot easier for some people than for others.

So, if you decide to hire an expert, you must be comfortable sharing what you like and don’t like.

It is your home, after all, and you’re enlisting the help of someone to assist you in making it what you want.

You need to understand what you like and don’t like – your personal tastes.

With the proliferation of television programs and websites showcasing incredibly well put-together homes, it can be intimidating to jump into the process. Discerning what’s important to you is one of the first steps.

Being aware of how you use your home, and live in your home, are critical in determining which way to go.

If you’ve never given it any thought or are new to homeownership, a designer will help you uncover those important starting points.


First, you need a plan of action. Just like overseeing a business, you will be running your home, and an overall strategy gives you the framework to achieve your goals.

< Do you know what you, ultimately, want to accomplish – a clear, big picture?

< Do you desire a home that’s a showplace and the envy of all your neighbors, or a cozy, laid-back cottage?

< Do you already own a lot of possessions that you need to work with, or are you adding to what you have?

< Do you enjoy regularly working on your home or do you want minimal maintenance?

Most people wouldn’t go out and buy a car without doing some research. Unfortunately, many homeowners end up doing just that in decorating their homes.


A well-designed home will not only be beautiful, it will work for you, creating the sanctuary you want to come home to.

< Do you like traditional, modern or eclectic design?

< Do you dine out almost every night or cook elaborate meals?

< Do you entertain guests or regularly have overnight visitors?

< Do you lean toward neutral colors and a clean palette or do you prefer saturated, layered interiors?

These are just a few of the myriad questions that lead you to creating a home that’s right for you.


If you’re considering hiring a designer or decorator for the first time, book her for one hour and introduce her to your home.

Do you think you’d enjoy working with that person? Does she listen? Does she understand your goals?

A good designer gets to know who you are and how you move through life. You need to be comfortable asking questions and expressing your opinions.

Your job is not to impress the designer, but rather to get the end result you desire. And open communication – where what you’re saying is truly heard – is key.


The end goal is getting as close to ideal as possible, within your budget and your home’s constraints, while improving the aesthetics, livability and joy of your home.

You want to tell your story through your home. Sometimes an editor, in the form of an interior designer, is exactly what you need.


Kay McLane, owner of the Emmaus-based firm Kay McLane Design LLC (www.kaymclane.com), specializes in design for business and residential customers and teaches classes in organization, Feng Shui, home staging and interior design. She can be reached at 610-966-9794 or kay@kaymclane.com.

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