How to hire a good interior designer – A friendly guide

WHY HIRE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

if you answer no to one or both of the following questions, then at least pick up the telephone to have that conversation – 

a) Do I have the time to tackle my design project?

b) Do I have the required expertise to carry out my project at a level acceptable to me?

WHERE DO I START?

Since there’s all too often a bit of a mystery around the hiring of an interior designer, I would like to offer a bit of friendly advice ahead of your 2022 project plans.

There can be a lot of  should I / shouldn’t  I? associated with fear about landing yourself on a roller-coaster-whirlwind-combo that is both terrifying and expensive, and not at all what you want.

Of course that’s not how it should be but if you’ve never been through the process, how do you know?

Setting your expectations will allow you to move forward with confidence.

AT WHAT STAGE OF MY PROJECT SHOULD I CONTACT AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

It is never too early in the project. As soon as you start thinking about embarking on a project make that call. You are not committing to anything but, like all good professionals, designers get booked up.

You want to have all your ducks in a row ready to go!

how do I find a good one?

Word of mouth is always best.

If that’s not possible then a local designer can be found via your internet search engine.

 

A site such as Houzz can be a useful introduction to designers in your area too.

 

Once you have some names, look at the related websites.

Do you like the designer’s style and tone?

 

Read all reviews and look through any social media links familiarising yourself with their work.

Do you like the designer’s approach? 

first contact

Once you have narrowed down your list of designers to contact, pick up the phone.

If your first conversation goes well the next step will most likely be to arrange an initial design appointment to meet in person.

This first face-to-face meeting is all about you and your project. 

Whilst talking through your project you will be able to gauge whether this designer will be a good fit for you.

(Likewise, a good designer will be working out the same!)

What should you ask to ascertain this?

Ask away. No question is too small.

Remember, that in order to do a good job for you, the designer will need to get to know you and your home.

Being open and honest from the start is a healthy way to build the client / designer relationship from the get-go.

Checklist:

  1. how do you work?
  2. how much do you charge? and how do you charge? (ie. per project/per hour...)
  3. what is your design aesthetic?
  4. how can you help ME?

Hiring an interior designer – what might I be asked?

At this first meeting a good designer will also ask about you and your project! They may also ask things like –

Checklist:

  1. what do you think your requirements are?
  2. how can I best help you?
  3. what is your budget?
  4. what is your timescale?

What can an interior designer offer? An in-depth round up: 

So now to the nitty gritty of why it is well worth having an interior designer on board with your project:

ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE:

A designer will come at things with fresh, calm, professional eyes.

When we live with something for years or even months we often find it hard to work out a satisfactory solution.

Add to this the overwhelming choice of interiors looks and paraphernalia out there and it is no surprise that we would rather bury our heads in the sand and put up with, rather than change, things.

Think of an interior designer as your fairy godmother and design BFF. A good designer will assess, divide and conquer on your behalf, whilst also being a source of design inspiration, common sense and shoulder to lean on.

What’s not to like?

YOU ARE DEALING WITH A PRO:

You have invited a designer into your home to make use of their years of experience and depth of knowledge. A good designer is fit for purpose!

EXTRA MAGIC: 

The best interior designers have that extra design chutzpah to bring a project to life.

They love what they do and are good at it.

Choose wisely and trust your designer. Enjoy the process and reap the rewards.

Good luck!

READ YOUR MIND:

Whilst we can’t read your mind, our job does make us good at reading people and their homes.

We can hunt out a disconnect between a person and their home at a hundred paces.

Of course this means we need to get to know the people inhabiting a space and what makes them tick. 

To make the best of an interior designer you need to be prepared to collaborate and share. We want to provide you with what you need in your home so the interior design process is definitely about communication between you and your designer.

This shouldn’t scare you off though! We have a toolbox of tricks to find out what we need to know in order to provide you with your ideal home.

 

FOCUS & A PLAN:

A good designer is adept at keeping clients on track from start to finish of a project.

This is achieved via scheduling regular contact to fit in with an overall timeline and project schedule.

 

EYE FOR DETAIL:

Designers have an eye for detail. It is a necessary part of the job.

Whilst ticking off the large design items they will also tackle the little things that make a big difference to the whole – things you may not even have thought of.

 

YOU’LL HAVE YOUR OWN DESIGN CONSCIENCE KEEPING YOU ON TRACK:

A designer will have set an end goal for your project. Everything will lead to this point and your designer will keep you on track since it’s in both your interests to complete the project!

 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BUDGET:

It is important that you are candid about your budget.

Designers are used to making budgets work.

 

HELPING YOU THROUGH:

Not all stages of a project are fun. There can be a lot of dirt and mess involved, and that’s before a building throws in a curved ball or two.

However, a good designer will take this all in their stride and help you through it.

 

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE A PRO’S ADDRESS BOOK:

Interior designers spend years compiling a little black book of tradespeople, retailers et cetera.

When you hire an interior designer you are hiring someone who has access to the best in your area and beyond. 

A good designer keeps up to date with what is happening in the design world too so can offer current advice on what’s the best in the market for your particular project.

and to conclude – WHAT’S  most IMPORTANT?

You need to get on

This person will be in your life and in your space throughout the design process, however long that takes

This doesn’t mean you are looking for your next best friend for life BUT it’s at least important that you have a healthy respect for each other. Communication between you and your interior designer will be absolutely key in achieving the best results possible.

 

So, thanks for reading! and please get in touch if you have ANY related questions, big or small, about working with an interior designer.

All the best for 2022 and design project successes,