Interior Designers – Finding The Right One For You

You do not have to be rich to hire an interior designer. In fact, professional advice can stretch your budget and help you avoid mistakes, saving money in the long run. Let a designer find just what you need – or did not know you needed – to bring your dream home to life.

Skilled interior designers can help add the finishing touches to a new home. They offer a great deal of expertise in arranging furnishings to maximize how well rooms “work.” They know how to use colour, texture, and pattern to make spaces aesthetically interesting and beautiful. They are also great resources, with access to “to-the-trade-only” suppliers of that special piece of furniture, that perfect accessory, or that unique bolt of fabric that no one else can find. A good interior designer knows how to locate wonderful artisans who can create special pieces that make your home uniquely yours.

Preliminaries

Before contacting an interior designer, take some time to think about what you want and what you need. The first step in this process is to consider some questions that an interior designer will ask regarding your project:

* For whom is the space being designed?

* What activities will take place there?

* How long do you plan to occupy the space?

* What is your time frame?

* What is your budget?

* Are you relocating or remodeling?

* What image do you want to project?

* What is the size and scope of the project (is it a complete or partial room make-over or indeed a whole property)?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not worry. Your interior designer will lead you through the design process. Keep in mind the more information you provide, the more successful your designer will be in meeting your needs and expectations. You may want to reference other visual images (photos, postcards, corporate logos, magazine photographs) or environments that reflect your aesthetic and functional criteria.

Do you want a designer only to produce a design for you so that you can undertake the implementation or do you want a designer who is able to deliver and project manage everything?

Also why not ask your friends who might have used a designer for their recommendations. Even better visit your friend’s home to see the result of the designer’s work.

Short list

The second step is to interview designers. Interview several designers to become familiar with differences in personality, style and business methods. Take this opportunity to acquaint the designer with your project ideas. Keep in mind you will be working closely with the designer and you will want someone that you feel will make the right choices according to your specifications and will listen to your ideas and concerns. Ask to see the designer’s portfolio and request a list of relevant experience and client references. During an interview, you may want to:

* Ask about other services the designer can provide and what can be done to help you optimise your understanding of the cost of the project.

* Discuss project duration or deadlines and what the designer’s availability is for taking on the project within the desired timetable.

* Establish parameters for updates and on-going communication between you and the interior designer.

* Discuss the designer’s fee structure. Many designers derive a portion of their incomes by adding their own profit margins to high-end furnishings, materials, and accessories that they purchase on their clients’ behalf. This is well accepted as standard practice but does not necessarily mean that the goods are any more expensive than if you bought them in a shop.

* Inquire about the designer’s education, training, experience, professional affiliations and other credentials such as client references.

Overall, look for educated interior designers who can demonstrate their creativity and talent and experience.

Hiring time

The third step is to hire the designer. Once you have interviewed several designers, take time to compare their estimates. Do not base your decision on price alone. Keep in mind that differences in each proposal reflect variables such as level of service and quality of merchandise. After the designer is hired, you need to address specific project needs and goals. You will share ideas and the designer will lend insights and observations to your ideas to identify the overall scope of the project. During this process, your design professional will:

* communicate concepts and help you understand the design process

* articulate your ideas, and

* help you to visualize the finished product.

The more input you provide, the easier it becomes for an interior designer to respond with additional ideas and to create spaces that will meet your aesthetic, functional and budgetary goals.

If you are thinking of hiring a full-service designer compare their quote with the cost of doing the shopping around, paying full retail price, doing the organisation and fitting yourself and allow for your time and petrol in the equation; you’ll usually be pleasantly surprised to see how affordable the designer is!

Are contracts important?

Contracts are very important because they allow both you and the designer to define the scope of your project. A contract allows you to specify who will be responsible for what, how long the project will last and what the budget limits will be. It is in your best interest to have a signed contract before any work begins or any money is exchanged.

How much is this going to cost?

It depends on what you want. There are many variables including the size of the project (one room or whole house?), quality of products selected (custom or prefabricated cabinets?), and the time-frame in which the project needs to be completed (two weeks or two months?).

Developing the budget is a partnership between the client and the designer. As the client, you should have an active role in developing the budget. If you are unsure about costs, your designer can help. Be honest with your designer about your budget. If you are on a tight budget tell your designer otherwise they could be wasting their time & yours looking for inappropriate materials and furnishing. A professional designer assesses your needs and helps you determine where to spend and where to save, prioritising expenses while creating an interior that is within your budget. Also, remember that not everything has to be completed at once. Your designer can develop a long-range plan, consult with you to establish a list of priorities and determine a time line for accomplishing your project.