So you’ve decided to hire an Interior Designer—good move! Now what? Before you start planning your “reveal” party, you’ll need a basic understanding about process to ensure that you get most design for your dollar and that you have a fun and fabulous experience, no matter what type of project is ahead of you.
You’ll need to learn basics of choosing right design professionals, establishing a budget, outlining details of contract, considering your lifestyle and communicating your challenges.
Choosing Right Designer: Beyond Portfolio Professionally trained Interior Designers have undergone extensive training in various elements of modern and historical design, art and architecture. They have a basic foundation of knowledge that allows them to develop concepts in a variety of styles that range from traditional, contemporary, art deco, eclectic—or a combination of several styles.
That being said, not every designer’s talent is right for every project. For yours, you’ll want to choose someone whose portfolio “speaks” to you in a positive way. As with every profession, designers tend to develop personal styles that carry over into their projects. It could be sense of clarity and order you see in furniture arrangements, or maybe it’s a color palette that’s used in a unique way. It could be modern touches worked seamlessly into a roomful of antiques, or interesting textures of fabrics.
Referrals are best way to find a designer, so if home of a friend or colleague appeals to you, by all means ask them for designer’s number! You can also visit Web sites to get a better feel for designer’s talent and personal style. Expect to spend a bit of time on phone discussing your project with designer and/or completing a questionnaire that will give them a better feel for your tastes and your project prior to kickoff meeting.
You’re looking for someone you instantly trust and respect, who communicates excitement about your project, no matter how big or small, and who trusts and respects you as well. After all, this person is transforming your most sacred and cherished space!
Establishing a Realistic Budget Everyone has a budget, so don’t feel bad about setting yours in stone…or tile, or brick. No matter what amount, your designer should help you get best value and highest quality possible. Be wary of anyone that summarily dismisses your grand ideas based on budget alone: A first-rate designer will work hard to achieve your key design goals, perhaps by spreading job out over time or suggesting alternative solutions for your project.
A great benefit of using a professional designer is that she has access to materials unavailable to general public, so no matter what your budget, your home will feel unique and very “you.”
Your designer will also manage entire process, whether it involves space planning, lighting design, purchasing, ordering, selecting finishes or monitoring construction and installation of project elements.
Outlining Terms of Contract Make sure you read and sign an official contract before any money exchanges hands or work begins. In addition to legal aspects, a contract summarizes plans you’ve been discussing such as your budget, design fees, accountability regarding subcontractors (painters, carpet layers, etc.).
You’ve selected designers and signed contract – now comes fun part!
Considering Your Lifestyle Your home environment should complement and support way you and your family really live – or really want to live. For example, if you’re starting a home-based business, you might turn your cluttered garage into a functional office. If your spouse loves to cook, you might knock down a wall so under-used formal dining room becomes part of kitchen. Many families make mistake of letting layout of home dictate their activities vs. reorganizing space to embrace their lifestyles.