How to find the right interior designer for your project
Finding the right interior designer is a bit like dating to find your soulmate. You search and “try on” different people until you find the right person.
Before you “swipe right” on an interior designer for your home, you first research to ensure you’re hiring the right person who understands your vision for the space. Here are several things to do or ask your prospective interior designer to determine if they are your design soulmate. We’ll discuss them in this article.
Know what you want
We’ll start with an interior designer secret: As interior designers, we’re evaluating you too. We want to see who is a good fit for our vision and experience. We can’t do that unless we know who you are and what you want.
When you meet with interior designers, come prepared with an idea or vision for what you want. This may include scouring sites like Houzz or Pinterest and saving images you feel fit your style. Also, bring some pictures of your current space so the designer can see where you’re at to determine the effort and needs of your project.
Like a good date, the conversation is key. Your interior designer will likely ask a few questions about your style and lifestyle as it will inform design choices. Come prepared with a list of your non-negotiables and wants. These could include a need for wheelchair accessibility, incorporating a new bar into your living room, keeping your grandfather’s rocking chair, or that you need to stay within a specific budget range.
Have a budget
Speaking of budget, always give your Designer a budget range to work with. Be sure to clarify if this includes the Designer’s fee or in addition. Budget is important because it helps inform the Designer of any limitations to the vision. For example, if you’re asking for a “European opulence” style for the main floor redesign, that may limit options when you only have a $5,000 budget and are starting from scratch.
Your Designer can let you know how realistic your budget is for your wish and help you make compromises or find items more in your price range.
Ask for a portfolio
Ask your designer to show you their portfolio. Ask them to share the stories or inspiration around projects similar to yours so you can get an idea of their style and working process.
Don’t be offput if they don’t have a project that matches your vision exactly. No two design projects are alike, and if the designer can show they met the design needs and challenges of another designer, you can trust they can do it for your vision too.
You can also ask for references to hear firsthand from past clients about working with that designer. This can help support any claims the designer makes regarding their projects.
This is the get-to-know-you part of meeting with interior designers. You get to ask many questions. Here are some example questions you might want to ask:
- Where do you get inspiration from?
- What are your fees?
- What payment structure and methods do you accept?
- How do you present concepts and ideas?
- What’s your working process?
- Do you work with any other team members, and if so, tell me how they fit into your processes?
- What happens if I don’t like the designs?
Ask about communication process
Communication, especially with something so personal as your home, is important to ensure your vision is accurately represented in the finished product. Knowing any rules or boundaries regarding communication between you and the designer is important. Is the designer available by phone 24/7 in case you have inspiration at 2 am, or do they prefer communication during business hours?
Ask about how to communicate and approve designs. Does your designer require written approval for every decision or change, or is verbal approval over the phone ok? Does your designer need 24-hour approvals to stay on the timeline?
Request a contract or design plan
There are lots of details to remember, but you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to remember them on your own. All reputable designers will write the details in a contract or design project plan. Make sure your designer will do this.
Include as many details as needed to everyone is clear on the scope of your project. These details will help avoid the potential for misunderstandings down the line when making changes could be costly or affect your completion date.
Go with who you like
Ultimately, go with your gut. As long as their qualifications and skill sets meet your needs, do a gut check to see if this is someone you could work well with. While you are hiring the interior designer for their expertise and experience, it will be a collaborative effort to get the results you want. If you don’t like their communication style, it’s likely to be a stressful experience.
No designer wants you to stress over your home design project. Yes, it can be detailed, but your Vancouver interior designer is here to make it as stress-free as possible and do as much leg work as needed.
When to hire an interior designer
It’s best to hire your interior designer as soon as you begin your project, if not before. Depending on what design services you’re using and what other renovations you may be doing simultaneously, an interior designer can help inform other project team members to ensure the space meets your needs “behind the walls” as much as in the room.
For example, if you want more outlets in a particular room, your designer can work with your electrician to ensure they add appropriate wall outlets in the right place.
Call us if you’re ready to meet with interior designers for your next home design or renovation project. We’d be happy to meet with you and hear more about your vision so we can help you turn it into a reality. Our online interior design packages are a good alternative to traditional packages. We provide you with a full interior design plan, so you know exactly what to purchase (and from where) and have everything you need to freshen up your home.
Get a quote today, and let’s talk about making your home more beautiful, functional, and unique to your style.