Tips for hiring the right interior designer.

Hiring an interior designer isn’t always as simple as just calling the closest interior designer in your town. Interior Designers vary greatly in their range of services and areas of expertise.

Here are a few questions that you can ask to determine if you have the right designer for your project.

What area do you specialize in?

Hire the right type of designer for your project. Some designers specialize in a specific area of design, for instance furniture arrangement and procurement, some designers might focus on just custom draperies, some specialize in producing a specific style or look. Others might be decorators specializing in a quick spruce up, some might specialize in staging houses for the real estate market.

Companies like mine, specialize in designing residential renovation projects, including kitchen and bathroom design and renovation, and some also provide full service options, providing everything down to the furnishings in these renovated spaces if desired.

All are interior designers, all with varying skill sets and interests. So consider the type of project that you are looking to do, and reach out to a designer who specializes in this area.

What type of experience does your designer have?

So, you’ve asked about what the designer specializes in, but now, you should also ask where their experience lies. Be sure a designer designing your master bathroom has actual experience designing bathrooms for clients. Just because someone has learned design principles in school does not mean that they have experience working with clients, or designing and implementing complicated design and construction projects at a professional level.

One of the main benefits to hiring an interior designer is that you will benefit from their experience in the field. Be sure your prospective designer has the experience needed to design your project.

Is the designer you are considering a full time designer who owns a business or a freelance part time designer who only does projects occasionally? 

Both could have great design skills, but the full time designer will most likely have more resources and vendor connections to bring to your project and will be able to complete your project more efficiently. Most full time designers will cover a wider service area depending on the geographic location, and many will travel well beyond their area of service to reach clients that need a designer with their area of expertise. Also, just as in any other well run business, a good designer also has processes in place to help the client reach their goals and ensure the outcome of the project. This is very important because clients sometimes armed with more enthusiasm than knowledge sometimes want to skip important steps in the process.

A full time, established designer knows where the common pitfalls are in the design and renovation project and has implemented organized systems and processes in place to avoid these pitfalls and guide the client through the project without jumping around and making mistakes.

This is not always the case with designers who only do projects occasionally, this is also why many contractors shy away from working with part time designers.

How responsive is your designer?

Does the designer get back to you in a timely manner to answer questions? This becomes even more important when you are in the middle of a large project or renovation. Be sure you use a designer who shows professionalism and communicates with clients and contractors efficiently.

You also want to be sure to hire a designer who listens to your initial thoughts and ideas about your project.
Are you being asked about your desires and needs for the project? Is the designer listening and responding to create a design that reflects your personal taste? Or, are they trying to sell you on a hot new trend that they are dying to try out?

Sometimes a client’s initial ideas might need some enhancement or may not be possible due to construction or budget constraints but a good designer definitely listens and hears what the clients goals are, and uses their skills to create a design that is right for the client, communicating throughout the process and creating something that truly reflects the client.

  • Invest a little time and money by hiring the designer you are considering to come out to your home for a consultation.  Most professional interior designers do charge for this service as they are always providing value with their ideas when they visit your home.
  • An onsite design consultation can give you an opportunity to see how the designer works.
  • Ask the designer for some general thoughts about the proposed project or about some other design dilemmas that you might have in your home.
  • Ask some of the questions provided in this article and see how comfortable you are with the meeting.

Hiring an interior designer can be the best thing you can do to ensure the success of any design project. We are a profession of passionate, creative, and inspired individuals who aspire to please their clients. I hope some of these ideas will help you to find the right professional for your project and help to clarify that not all designers are in fact created equal.

Gia 

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