Q. How do I select a qualified Interior Designer?
A. A competent interior designer will not try to impose his or her personal preferences upon you, but rather interpret what would work best for you and execute it in good taste.
Because your needs and wants are different than anyone elseâ€™s, and beÂcause every interior designer will interpret these in various ways, it’s crucial that you have a rapport with the person you hire.
- The first thing I recommend is to ask anyone you know who has worked with an interior designer if they were pleased with the results and if they would consider hiring that person in the future.
- If the comments are favorable, you may ask to see their home. Most people will not mind and, in fact, may be anxious to show off their newly decorated spaces.
- By doing this, you’ll not only get a good idea of the type of work done by the designer, but, if you know the person who owns the home, you’ll be able to determine whether or not the end result is a reflection of his or her personality.
- If you’re pleased with what you have seen and heard, or even if you’re not, you will have learned what you want or what you don’t want as the case may be. In any event, I think this personal approach is one of the most effective ways of determining which designer would be best for you.
- If you don’t know of anyone who has worked with an interior designer, I wouldÂ Google local designers in your area and make a listing of those designers who specialize in residential work.
- Call the ones that may be possibiliÂties and tell them a little about what you intend to do, your style and preferences and any time-frame you’re working with. Ask them about recent jobs they’ve completed, whether they specialize in a certain look, and if they’d be interested in working with you on your home.
- At this point, ask those you are still considering how they charge and if they’d be willing to give you the names ofÂ two or threeÂ recent clients (In my case, I would always phone my clients ahead of time to make certain your callingÂ is agreeable with them, and also give them your name in anticipation of hearing from you.).
- If the financial setup is agreeable to you, I would then phone the references supplied. Once again, I think you’ll find most people to be very accommodating. Once you have seen the designer’s work, spoken with theÂ previous clients and feel as though you might be interested in hiringÂ her/him, I would, at that point, call to schedule an initial consultation.
- Another good topic to discuss with the Interior Designer is his/her process. This is just good practice for setting expectations and establishing clear lines of communication.Â What is their expected time line? How will you give input or approval? Will you see sketches or software renderings? If so, in what formats and at what point of the project should this happen? One important aspect of some design projects is project management. This is particularly true of additions, renovations and remodels. The designer may have certain responsibilities in the overall project. For example , his/ her color specifications and space planning may be neededÂ before a contractor can complete his or her work. So, at some point there should be some discussion about how the designer will communicate with the contractor and with you.
Q. What can I expect when on a first meeting/ consultation?
A. This is when you can really get a feel of whether or not you and the designer are a “fit” and this is so important because this is your home and your lifestyle we’re talking about. You need to hire someone who understands what you’re trying to accomplish and is willing to work within your budgetary constraints.
I pride myself in taking the time and concern to get to know my client’sÂ needs, desires, and tastes. The more I absorb and understand, the more effectively I can interpretÂ what is suitable for them andÂ their home.
These issues are important components of the initial consultation;Â however, you also want to hear some of their initial thoughtsÂ on the project you haveÂ in mind. Every artist will paint a different picture of the same subject and you want toÂ feel as though their ideas are in sync with your expectations.
The great benefit of an initial consultation is that there are no future obligations. If you are both excited about the prospect of working together, great, if not, itâ€™s time to consult with someone else.
Q. I am concerned that I cannot afford an Interior Designer. What does it usually cost?
A. That is a misconception that I have been (and probably will be) fighting for years. A competent interior designer will work within your budget and save you money. How so?
First of all, we develop an overall plan for yourÂ completed project.Â We know exactly where we’re headed and where we’re going to end up. It doesn’t matter if we do it in stages. The whole idea is that we don’t want to make costly mistakes (you have no idea how many people haveÂ hired me toÂ try to makeÂ a very expensive item, purchased on impulse,Â “work”). Had they had a detailedÂ layout, with all the appropriateÂ sizes, that never would have happened.
Secondly, I know the best resources that afford the best pricesÂ for fabrics, carpeting, lighting, furniture, etc.
In addition, because I do this every day, I save you a lot of time because I know what’s available, what’s current, what will work and be appropriate for your project and what won’t.
When all is said and done, your end result is successfully coordinatedÂ with few mistakes and financially considerate of your budget.