10 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer : dvd Interior Design Newsletter

What to know before hiring and interior designer.

Designing the interior of your home should be enjoyable. Unfortunately, it is not that easy to do well without the experience and understanding for interior spaces, how they flow and the best construction investments and design for a home that suits the needs of your space.  It is best to start with the most common interior design questions.

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I am surprised by how many people will actually spend their budget on building or renovating their home without considering the interiors or consulting a Designer. 

What are some questions that you should ask a designer when you are meeting for the first time? 

A Designer will provide practical ideas for the use of your space in addition to designing interior cabinetry, lighting, moldings, hardware and more to enhance the house and make it more enjoyable and livable. They will also select and coordinate the right furniture in the best layout for your life, with colors and materials that will enhance your sense of comfort.  

Designers can also help maintain budgets and circumvent change orders or mistake that can cause added costs that may occur during construction by planning your space with you before construction starts.  They also have resources and tradespeople that the homeowner will not have to provide the best pricing on furniture and services that will increase the value of your home. 

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If you are considering working with an Interior Designer or Decorator, you may wonder what to ask them when interviewing different candidates.  It is important to get to know each professional and listen to their responses to your questions. 

This is not HGTV.  This is the reality. 

I am sharing some of my insider perspective on what to ask a designer before hiring them for your project. 

When a design professional visits you in your home, I want you to have questions that you can ask to help ensure you have the best possible experience and to allow you to know what you can expect going forward into the project.  

Carpenters.com

On the phone:

  • How long have you been working as a designer? Do you have a portfolio to share with me?

  • Why did you become an Interior Designer? How did you start?

  • What are your fee structures and how do you bill. Is it a project fee, is it time plus purchasing fee. This is just a structured conversation. Actual numbers and fees as they relate to your project will be developed as you meet in person and discuss the overall project.

  • What is not included in your contract.

  • Do you have a license? A degree in Interior Design? This is not always a requirement for doing the work. Ex. Ralph Lauren did not go to interior design school.

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I want to discuss the flakey designer possibility. They are so creative the don’t always dot their Is and cross the t’s in a methodical way. I suggest you ask about their processes and methods for the project. As a prospective client, I would make certain you understand and are comfortable with the terms of business, then move on to asking enough of the right questions to feel as if the designer understands your interests by virtue of the answers. And as a prospective client remember that you are being sized up as well, so be honest and be yourself.  

Avoid the salesy designer. someone focused on feeling products is not always a designer. The goal of the working with a designer is to have someone help yo select beautiful and the best options, not just what is going to make them money. Also a knowledgable designer will give you the best direction. You get what you pay for is very true in the home.

Finally, never, mention to a designer that you would be doing this (the decorating) yourself but you don't have the time.  This is a professional that will elevate your environment with their knowledge of scale and flow and solid resources.  

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In Person:

  • Ask if they offer a complimentary meeting to discuss your project and allow you to meet in person or is there a fee?

  • Review previous work portfolio. How detailed is their work, do you like the feel of the environments? How do they speak to their clients and their tastes?

  • Ask for 2-3 references that you may call: builders, clients.

  • Are they good listeners? Easy to work with? Clear and concise?

  • How do you like to communicate? How good is your documentation?

  • What is your process? From beginning to end.

  • Money. Many clients are uncomfortable discussing the overall budget and a designer does not have enough information to provide pricing until the expectations are communicated clearly and a budget developed on your wish list of results. As you discuss the project in the face to face meeting these answers will be defined.

  • How will purchasing occur? Note: A designer is not your shopping partner. Traditionally they provide you with solutions for your space and will purchase and coordinate the product delivery and installation.

  • What is the designer's policy of selecting your own items?

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Lastly, ask yourself, do you feel you can speak easily with this individual.  Do they seem to understand you and do you feel understood.  This is a service relationship, and you need to feel comfortable with your designer as you express your interests and furnish your home.  You want the best possible communication for a successful project. 

"When a Designer and Client know what to expect from each other the result is a project that will be rewarding and enjoyable."  

Credits: gudrunolof.com / bakerfurniture.com / dimorestudio.eu

Hiring an Interior designer can be one of the most rewarding experiences for you to make. Creating a home that reflects your personality, having someone to review and discuss ideas with and to initiate the purchases and coordinate deliveries, and provide the support you need to furnish your home elegantly.  It is a wonderful experience and your home will reflect this relationship with all the added details, unique pieces, and solutions incorporated into your space.   

Good luck.  

Also, come to join us on  LINKEDIN where we chat all things Interior Design ! You can find it right here. Thank you for stopping by! 

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