Insider Tips for Hiring an Interior Designer

Insider tips for hiring an interior designer feature image

Spring is a time for rejuvenation – the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining – it’s no wonder that after suffering through the long, dark winter people get the redecorating bug.  We’re desperate to liven up our spaces with a fresh new look.

Are you toying with the idea of hiring a professional interior designer to help revitalize your home but the process feels a little intimidating? I’m sharing my tips for how to go about finding, and hiring, the right designer for you.

Ask HOW   The first thing to know is that hiring an interior designer does not have to cost you an arm, a leg, and your first born! Many designers offer a wide range of services at different price points. Never assume that it is financially out of reach.

Some designers price hourly, some by the project as a whole. In my own company, I offer services a la carte. This allows clients to pick and choose which services they want, giving them control over how much the spend. When shopping for a designer, be sure to ask, not just which services they offer, but how they offer those services.

Be Confident in Your Style   Nearly every client I meet with tells me they aren’t sure what their style is. You might not be able to put a name to your style, but you do have one.

Prior to hiring a designer, gather inspirational images of things that you find visually appealing and create a vision board. Inspiration can be anything – furniture, fashion, cars, buildings – the more items you find, the better. Once your vision board has been created, start shopping for a designer.

Review their online portfolios and testimonials from past clients. Some designers will have a clear style that they like to implement into their designs – giving the clients less control in the overall design process. However other designers will work with the client’s style to create the space – resulting in a design that is more client driven. Decide if you want a designer who will guide you through the project using their own style, or will stick to your style and truly bring your vision board to life.

Related: Designing Your Own Space in Your Own Style

It Has to Feel Right   When choosing an interior designer, the relationship you build with them is crucial. Be sure you can work closely with them over a long period of time. The problem – how do you know it will feel right without first meeting the designer?

Very few interior designers will offer a free in-home consultation. However, you can usually get a brief phone consultation for free. This is a valuable tool in narrowing down your list of potential designers.

After you’ve made a list of potentials, call each one to explain your project, give a brief overview of your vision board (favorite colors, patterns, etc.), and explain your goals for the space. The designer will explain the services offered and go over pricing. Keep in mind that some designers do not offer hourly rates, so they may need to see the space to create an estimated budget for your project.

While talking with the designer, get a sense of his or her personality. Does the designer sound excited while speaking with her? It could mean she likes to form a close relationship with her clients. Does she speak in a business-like tone? She is probably detail orientated and won’t overlook a single thing throughout the project. Is he already giving suggestions for the space based on what you described? This could be a designer who likes to implement his own unique style into each project.

Depending on your personality, these traits could be good or bad. Never hire a designer if it doesn’t “feel right.” It could lead to a tense relationship that results in problems down the road.

Hiring Designer Feel Right

Know Your Budget   Interior designers are flexible and capable of working within the confines of a tight budget. That’s part of the benefit of hiring a professional.

Before hiring an interior designer, know your budget and prioritize your wish list. You won’t be able to compromise on some rooms, like the kitchen or bathroom, especially if new plumbing fixtures are needed. Sort your wish list into three sections: Must Haves, Want to Haves, and Nice to Haves.

  • “Must Haves” are the items that you cannot do without, such as a toilet and sink in the bathroom.
  • “Want to Haves” are the items you might already have but would like to upgrade, such as a bigger sofa or new appliances.
  • “Nice to Haves” are the items that would go into your dream home, such as that beautiful soaking tub you’ve had your eye on, or custom window treatments. These items may be on the chopping block should unforeseen expenses arise in the middle of the project.

Knowing the flexible areas on the wish list allows the designer to create a space that fits your budget while providing the home you’ve been dreaming of.

Just Ask!   The final tip I want to share on hiring an interior designer: just ask!

Never feel that a question is too silly, too simple, or a waste of time. The point of hiring a professional is to get the advice you need on every last detail, no matter how big or small. If you aren’t sure two colors coordinate, just ask! Nervous about mixing wood grains? Just ask! As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Designers want to know that you are 100% satisfied with your space and the only way that can happen is to be sure all of your questions have been addressed.

If there is a change you want to make at the end of the project, a small detail you aren’t quite happy with, just ask. Your interior designer will be more than happy to help! After all, we are in the business of bringing happiness to our clients by creating beautiful spaces for them to live in.

Need help getting that new look for your home? Send me a message and we can set up a consultation!

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