I am thinking of hiring an interior decorator and was wondering: How long does a room take from start to finish? I am ready to start updating my living room and would like to be finished with it before the nice warm weather is here.

Question: We have recently finished redoing our family room. We bought new sofas and a new cocktail table, repainted the walls and purchased new carpeting. The lighting in the room is awful, but I have been told that floor lamps are out of style. What do you think?

Answer: I am sure it took you quite a while to choose the sofa, table, paint color and carpeting. The biggest mistake would be not lighting the room properly.

When putting a room together, lighting is very important -- yet it always seems to take a back seat to everything else. Floor lamps are not out of style. They are a great way to illuminate any space. A floor lamp will brighten a corner and add height to a space that otherwise would look empty. The vertical lines of a floor lamp will also work well with the horizontal lines of sofas and tables. It is a compliment when added to a room that also has table lamps or sconces.

There are many different types of floor lamps. There are pharmacy or swing-arm lamps, which are great for reading. They cast a nice warm glow and will direct the light where you need it most. Taller floor lamps with wider shades will provide a wider glow. Floor lamps are available in every color, style and price range. So go buy one or more and your room will definitely be a warmer, more inviting place.

Question: I am thinking of hiring an interior decorator and was wondering: How long does a room take from start to finish? I am ready to start updating my living room and would like to be finished with it before the nice warm weather is here.

Answer: Each room has a different time frame. It depends on what the client has in mind. Do you need complete design help: window treatments, furniture, color choices, flooring? Obviously, the more the room needs the longer it will take to complete it. 

A designer would first meet with a prospective client and review his/her needs and concerns. After the initial meeting, a floor plan would be drawn up, with choices for window treatments, including fabric samples for both the upholstered pieces and the window treatments themselves. Paint and flooring must be chosen, and implementing the design will begin when everything is ordered and has been shipped.

Most fabric (providing it is in stock) will take no more than a week to ship. The custom upholstered pieces (sofas, chairs, etc.) are usually on a five to seven week delivery schedule. Window treatments can take three to four weeks depending on the design and how complicated they are.

If you are thinking of hiring a designer and you want to enjoy the finished room for the summer, now is the time to start. A good estimate for a completed room from top to bottom is approximately three to four months. So make your calls, interview three designers and hire the one that works best for you. 

Linda Brigida is the owner of Interiors, a new decorating business located in Plymouth, Mass., and specializing in window treatments, room design, color choices and furniture selection. E-mail your questions to interiors07@aim.com or call Interiors at 508-746-2166.