Word to the wise: Never work with an interior designer! It’s reeeeeeally a stressful process and it’s just not worth the headache. Juuuuuuust kidding! It’s actually a pretty painless process, but there are still some things that you should know. For the first-timer, hiring a designer can be somewhat intimidating so soak up this read on how to work with an interior designer!
It’s kinda like Cinderella & the Glass Slipper
You need to find the right fit. Just because someone’s portfolio is lovely, it doesn’t mean that you are the right client for them or they are the right designer for you. Designing your home is a big task and you want the job done well. Be prepared to interview several designers before finding the right one. Ask for samples of recent projects and inquire about what their design process is like. Be certain to ask about their business practices, such as billing and preferred method of communication.
Before you start interviewing, know that there is no billing standard for interior design. While this is true, most designers fall under one of two billing umbrellas. Most designers will either charge an hourly fee (with or without the charge for materials), or they might charge you the retail price for materials and keep the upcharge as their fee. It’s best to be crystal clear with what your designer expects before signing a contract.
Generally speaking, most designers will provide you with a very clear budget. If not, you may want to start inching away from that designer.
While you may not be crystal clear with what you want (hence why you are hiring a designer), it’s best have a general sense of the direction that you want to go in. Obviously, designers can help you gain clarity and direction, but catalog images that reflect your ideal aesthetic. Bring in designinspo that reflects your personal preferences. You can always start this process on Pinterest, but don’t let it end there. Go elsewhere for inspiration. Consider what colors, tones, and artwork speak to you. Think of how your home can be a reflection of that.
Interior designers almost always prefer decisive clients – So speak up! Ultimately, you have to live with the decisions that are made, so it’s best if your input is considered. Give feedback sooner rather than later, because it is easier to implement EARLIER in the design process than later. You also should speak up about what you like or don’t like to avoid costly mistakes.
Let’s be real
Be realistic about your vision and your budget. As much as I love design shows as much as the next person, I kinda have beef with them. They fabricate an unrealistic design experience. Although we may be witnessing a whole home transformation in 30 minutes, good design does not happen overnight. It’s also important to realize that there is a hired team to bring the vision together in record time. In addition to unrealistic timelines, design shows often show tons of designers who can pull off impeccable designs with a shoestring budget. Most of the time the families on the show only have to cover the cost of material costs and not labor. That’s a big chunk of the budget. It’s best to be transparent and realistic about what your budget can afford you and how long it’s going to take.
Working with an interior designer can be a game-changer for your space, just know that there is some minor preparation on your part so that you can get the most from their expertise. If you’re not sure if you need a designer’s services, you can also reach out regarding a consultation, or even find some designers who are willing to work for you by the hour.