Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an interior decorator and interior designer?


An interior decorator works with an existing space cosmetically, using finishes, furnishings and fixtures, to enhance the function and aesthetics. This is done by applying finishes to existing surfaces, replacing existing fixtures, and adding furnishings and decor. An interior designer creates an entire space, by working with all the integrated structures, systems, and finishings, including structural assemblies, electrical and lighting, HVAC systems, millwork, furniture and finishes. An interior designer works alongside other professionals as needed, such as architects, engineers, and contractors, to ensure all of these components work together to achieve the overall vision of the space with special consideration for accessibility, life safety and sustainability. Jen Nickel, of Invision Design Solutions, is a professional Interior Designer and a member of ARIDO – the Association for Interior Designers of Ontario. She has her NCIDQ certification (National council of Interior Design Qualifications) and over 10 years of experience in the Interior Design field in both commercial and residential applications.




What are your design fees?


Our initial consultation is $500 for up to 2 hours. During this consultation, we will be able to determine a scope of work for your project for which we can provide a proposed design fee. Design service fees are determined by the size and scope of a project, based on our hourly rate of $160/hour. As a guideline, you can plan for the total fees for full design service for a renovation or new construction project (including all required consultants) to be between 8-12% of the total construction cost of a project.




Will you work within my budget?


We will always respect your budget, but more than that, we will help you understand what a realistic budget is for your project and end goals. We can guide you in determining where it would be wise to make larger investments in quality products, and where you can save money or make cuts. There may be times that it makes sense to divide a project into phases to work with the budget. In our initial consultation, we will address these questions before moving into the design concept of a project.




How long does a typical project take?


This will vary depending on the size and scope of the project, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind. A design project needs to flow in order to be successful, and skipping steps to save time often results in changes, frustration, and more time and money spent in the end. Investing time into the design phase will make the entire process run much smoother. For example, when looking at full design services for a medium-sized kitchen renovation, our design concept phase typically takes 4-6 weeks. After the concept is finalized, the specifications phase can take another 4-8 weeks to complete including permit and/or construction drawings with final material, fixture, and furniture selections. If a permit is required, it may take 2-4 weeks to go through the permit process, and make any required revisions to obtain a permit. (If there are any other organizations that are required to be involved (green belt, Niagara parks, etc), or minor variances required, it will be longer.) Reputable contractors will book well in advance, but they are worth waiting for. If everything is complete and specified in the design, a contractor will be able to give you a fairly accurate timeline for the construction. But keep in mind that delays can occur when unexpected items come up, which is common in all renovations. If furnishings are a part of your project scope, quality or custom furniture typically takes 6-12 weeks from order to delivery. All in all, from initial consultation to final reveal, a small renovation or decorating project may take 3-6 months and an extensive renovation or new build could take 12-18 months. Of course, these are generalizations, and actual timelines will be determined based on your specific project.




What is your style?


I am often asked what my style is. My answer is always that I love many different styles! But what matters more is your style. As a designer, it is my job to identify and understand your style, whether it’s traditional or ultra modern or somewhere in between, and to create a space that speaks to you. That being said, there are some characteristics that are consistent throughout all of our design work at INVISION Design Solutions:

  • Simplicity: By simple, we don’t mean all clean lines and minimalist style (though we do love those things!). More so, design that creates simplicity in the use of the space. We believe that less is more, and each piece in a space should have significance in function, aesthetics or sentiment. A well-designed space should bring simplicity to day-to-day routines and bring joy to the people using it.​
  • Colour: Colour has a significant impact on the energy of a space and the personal feelings one has while using that space. Different colours speak to people differently, and scientifically, certain colours have specific benefits. Whether it be pops of bright colour or layers of muted tones, we feel that colour plays an important role in every space.​
  • Natural materials and inspiration: There has been much research on the impact of nature on human health and wellness. Incorporating nature in to your space, either directly (plants and daylight etc.) or indirectly (natural materials or nature-inspired colours and patterns etc) can improve your physical and mental wellness. Healthy spaces need some natural inspiration.




What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about renovating?


Start early. Well-planned renovations take time; sometimes more time in the planning stage than in the actual construction. Reputable contractors and trades book far in advance, and you can’t secure a price and start time from a contractor until a design is in place. Investing in design services will help the entire renovation project run smoother. Looking at the options on paper and making a change to a drawing is far less costly than a change on site during construction.




What is healthy and sustainable design?


We define sustainable design as design strategies, construction methods and product choices that are healthy for people and the planet. This includes looking at the impact of a project in terms of health and wellness, environmental impact, and social responsibility. There are parameters within these categories that can overlap, and products and methods that can be sustainable in one area but not in another. If sustainable design is a priority for your project, it is important to discuss your overall goals at the beginning of the project, to have a direction to aim for.

Sometimes, sustainable design is not on a client’s radar, and often times, it is overwhelming when you start to learn about the many ways our homes impact the planet! Any step in the right direction is a great step to take. We can show you many ways, big or small, that can improve the impact that your space makes on your health and the health of the planet.

Interested in learning more? Check out our sustainable design resource site:




Does sustainable design cost more?


Yes and no. There many healthy and sustainable design choices that can be simple and cost-effective, like using non-toxic paints instead of conventional paints. And there are also many sustainable design options that can be much more expensive than conventional options, like using solar power. Often times healthy material options are more expensive than unhealthy options, not because of the wellness factor, but because the quality is better. It can be difficult navigating truly green options from "green-washing". That’s why we are here to help guide you in this area. We can help you prioritize which areas to invest more in, and which areas to scale back, and identify the ways that will make a significant impact on the health and sustainability of your space.




What are trade-source products?


INVISION Design Solutions works with suppliers and manufacturers who sell their product only through qualified members of the trade, including interior design professionals. Through our relationship with these companies, we are able to access and sell high quality, customizable products not found in retail stores, and in some cases negotiate discounts off retail pricing especially for our clients. The benefits of purchasing trade-source products through INVISION Design Solutions include:

  • Quality: We offer high quality products that are manufactured locally or within North America.
  • Customization: We offer a wide range of products, many of which are customizable especially for our clients.
  • Price: We offer competitive pricing, extending special discounts to our clients when possible.




Have another question?


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