There is a HUGE difference between a client who has had prior experience with an interior designer and those who haven’t .
Although every designer and client is different, a client with prior experience will already have a good understanding of budgeting and pricing structures, what a designer actually does and most likely will have overcome the inevitable sticker shock of a renovation/redesign project.
As a freshman you may believe a few or all of the following :
- An interior designer only makes a space pretty
- An interior designer is going to take you shopping at their favorite furniture stores
- A budget of $20,000 per room is preposterous
- Your home is going to be transformed by the time you can finish saying Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Here’s a few crucial tips to prepare you for your first encounter with an interior designer :
Do Your Research
We can put two different designers in the same room , give them both the same stack of magazines to pull inspiration from and we will end up with two very different design concepts. In such a creative and competitive field it is important to understand that every designer has their own unique style and business practices.
The worst approach to take is to do a google search and cold call all the designers that pop up asking for pricing information. I once had a woman who hadn’t even looked at my website before calling! You will never find the designer that is the right for you this way.
Find a designer that you literally have fallen in love with by checking out their website and social media pages. You want to make sure the designer’s portfolio shows that they can delivery the quality and aesthetic your desire.
Many designers provide a plethora of information about how they work on their websites including the design process and minimum pricing and budgets. Having knowledge of these entry points helps you prepare for your investment before initial contact. Also, in my experience potential clients appreciate being informed of the design process during their research and discovery period.
Essentially, you want to make sure the designer is a good fit for your style, and that you are comfortable with how they work.
Have Realistic Expectations
Oh HGTV! I’m sure we all have an HGTV obsession, but it breeds a plethora of misconceptions around the interior design process. Homes are transformed in less than 6 weeks with a barely there budget and the designers live to fight another day ! This couldn’t be far from the truth of the reality of working with an interior designer.
Interior Design is an INVESTMENT. It requires a great deal of time and resources (financial and manpower) to head a renovation or re-design project. Lucky for you , hiring an interior designer will eliminate much of the stress and headaches that comes with these large endeavors thanks to your new expert.
How long does a design project normally take ?
Through my design experience , you can expect a well designed room to come together anywhere from 8-20 weeks. Not to say that we can’t pull off miracles in a much shorter time frame, but expect to invest a premium for an expedited turnaround. That 8-20 weeks includes a series of milestones including :
- Building a design plan you love
- Completion of any construction
- Various lead times for the production of your furnishings, custom and/or trade
If you have timeframe wishes , be sure to communicate these to your designer at the beginning of your project so that they can keep your deadline in mind while creating your design plan.
Are you ready for the investment ?
Your design project investment will include designer fees, contractors/ artisans, and all of the furniture, fixtures, construction material, etc. that will bring your design from vision to reality. Depending on your designer, minimum budgets will vary widely, as in all things there’s level to this ! (ha) !
Although many designers now offer online decorating services for smaller budgets (click here), full service interior design is a totally different ball game. In my experience low end budgets would start around 15k per room. However , a luxury design concept and designer will be upwards 50k+ per room.
Your designer will be able to help your formulate a realistic budget based on your design expectations and scope. If you have a large project that you would like to complete over a period of time, designers are normally able to help you break down your project in phases.
My Motto : Buy the best, and only cry once !
If you are going to make an investment into your home it should be of quality and you should still be pleased several years later. If later down the line you want to spruce things up, a quality design will have a good foundation and furnishings, where you can just work with your designer again to have some things re-upholstered instead of a full re-design.
Keep an Open Mind
Interior Designers do a lot more than make your space pretty! Beyond the cosmetic surface , we handle all the heavy duty behind the scenes to make your home not only beautiful but cohesive and functional. This requires balancing aesthetic considerations with structural and architectural planning.
Many designers hold a number of degrees and certifications to support their expertise. Your first time working with an interior designer will be game changing. Expect to be presented concepts that you could have never imagined, as we tend to go above and beyond the usual. At least I do ! You’ll learn quickly that an interior designer has access to exclusive products and showrooms to make your home unique.
Hiring a professional interior designer does not necessarily mean relinquishing total control. All we require is an open mind to our suggestions and solutions. I provide a turn key installation for my full service clients to ensure that they don’t have to micromanage, because I focus on the details.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
You don’t have to go in blind when hiring an interior designer for the first time. Using the tips in this post, you should be ready to the plunge with confidence and realistic expectations, knowing exactly what to look for to make an informed decision.
Have you ever hired an interior designer ? Please share your experience and add any advice you think could also help . Or if you are ready to take the plunge and finally surround yourself in luxury with me , click here.