Plan Your Project… Choosing an Interior Designer

You’ve probably heard that great design lives in the details. Oftentimes, those details are hard to articulate: perfect balance, a fusion of high quality materials and a representation of the owner’s unique style embedded into the design. Let’s face it– even if you have impeccable taste, many homeowners don’t know how to actually achieve the luxury interior they are envisioning. The details get lost in the process. 

Looking through paint swatches

The solution? Finding the perfect interior designer to do what they do best. But when it comes to choosing an interior designer, it often can feel as overwhelming as the home styling project itself. Worry not, friends. We are here to help. 

From simple interior design services to full-blown maximalist style, there’s always a perfect match for every client. Here are five steps to assist you in figuring out who your style confidante is. 

1. Get Inspired

This is the fun part. Whether you’re looking to renovate a modern family living room or interested in sprucing up the interior design for a small space, chances are you have a general idea of what you’re looking for. Take a look at your Pinterest Boards and grab all of those home design magazines to start collecting an overview of your ideal home project. Keep these on hand and be ready to share them with your designer or design team.

2. Bring Ideas

Although the process is very collaborative, always bring ideas to the table upon meeting a potential designer for hire. If you have a distinct style you’re looking to achieve (hello, mid-century modern), make sure to communicate this to the designer you are interviewing. Interior Designers are very intuitive and can often pull the best design out of what you are inspired by, but they are not mind-readers.  Showing them your ideas, found images, and Pinterest boards, even if you don’t know why you are drawn to certain things, can help tremendously in bringing your vision to fruition.

Kitchen vignette with island and grey stools
Designed by Angela Ireland of A.I. Interiors. Photo by KJ Photography

3. Create a Budget 

Let’s talk about the not-so-fun part of the process: the budget. You may want all the bells and whistles, but it’s important to create a realistic price range to get as close to your vision as possible. Communicate this with your designer and set yourselves both up for success when they start drafting up ideas for your living spaces. This will also assist in prioritizing, such as when deliberating between new cabinets in the kitchen or a new tile backsplash. Remember, they can help manage your budget most effectively, using their expert knowledge on where to save without sacrificing the integrity of the vision.

4. Ask Questions 

You’re hiring an expert in home design, but you also want to work with someone you mesh with. A living space is something that is so personal, so make sure that the person curating it for you is on the same page. Over-communication is always a safe move to ensure that there are no surprises in fees or design once the designer is hired on. Bring a pen and paper so you don’t miss any of those key details you want to cover when interviewing. Most importantly, Make sure you feel comfortable with the individual or team. You should feel relaxed, at ease and comfortable speaking your mind.  You don’t want to feel nervous or intimidated.

Colorful fabric swatches

5. Be Honest and Set Expectations

This seems like a simple one, but be honest with yourself and your designer throughout the process. Designing a new space is fun and exciting, but it is important to remain realistic and set appropriate expectations for the job.

Prior to the start of your project, make sure to have a conversation about project timelines, deliverables and the designer’s process. It is a good idea to understand how long different phases will take during the design and execution of the project. If you and your designer know this up front, it will help to prevent disappointment and frustration. In a world of instant gratification and HGTV, where renovations and design seem to happen overnight, there are sometimes unrealistic expectations in the design industry. Remember that good things take time.  

Finally have a discussion about availability and forms of communication. We live in the digital world where it seems everyone is reachable all the time. That may be the case, but you also need to be on the same page with your designer on appropriate communication. Find a designer that shares the same communication style as you. If you prefer text over email, make sure your designer is ok with that and that each respect each other’s “working hours.”

Overall, remember to enjoy the process and let a designer’s expertise guide you! A designer will take on the brunt of the research, project management and execution, but you are an integral part of the process. Get ready to have the vision in your mind’s eye come to beautiful fruition.

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