10 Considerations Before Consulting an Interior Designer
Thinking about consulting a designer? Here are 10 things to consider before picking up the phone!
Having a designer come into your home is a more intimate experience than most homeowners realize, and having a basic plan before you pick up that phone will save you time and money in the long run. Please know that the designer you hire will be in your home and amongst your personal belongings for weeks, maybe even months on end. For this reason it is imperative to do your due diligence to find the right person/company to meet your needs. Working with a designer means trusting someone with possessions that are close to your heart as well as creating a vision for your home. Due the intimacy of the relationship and the extended timeline of a major project, the designer/client relationship must be built on trust, transparency, and open, honest, and forthright communication. Qualifying the best designer as match for you will be paramount to the success of the project. A good designer will be looking for match-worthy qualities in their clients as well. If there are red flags in the beginning, or obvious personality conflicts, don’t be afraid to move on. Here are 10 tips to consider at the start of your design journey.
- Think about the space(s) you want designed. What will they be used for? Who will be using them? Will these spaces serve a single purpose or should they have dual capacities? Do they have enough light? Enough storage? Enough electrical outlets? These are all considerations to be made beforehand in order to get the most out of your experience with your designer. It will also help the designer develop an appropriate plan to address your needs.
- What will stay? What will go? Now you’ve selected the spaces in which you need assistance. Think about these space(s). What do you like best about them? What do you like least about them? Are there things that have to be changed in order to make the room function better for you? Are there things that will not/cannot be changed? Are there items you want left in the space when it’s completed? Have these in mind when you do the initial walk through and share them with the designer.
- Use pictures. A picture is worth 1000 words! Use pictures to develop your design style. There are countless websites, catalogs, magazines, and books that will enable you to choose your aesthetic for the finished product. Use these tools to build your dream room and share it with your designer. Remember to be specific. If you look at a picture of a room you love, figure out why you love it. Is it the color? The shape or height the furniture? The straight lines and/or hard edges of the furniture or walls? A good designer listens with a keen ear and will ask questions to further develop a vision for the space(s). This tiny caveat can make the difference between someone who truly “gets” your vision and someone who does not.
- Once your vision is developed, the next question needs to be, “What can I realistically afford?” This is tough for many homeowners because often our dreams must be compromised when they meet reality. However, a good designer can come up with cost effective solutions to give you something beautiful without breaking the budget. Make the hard decisions beforehand, a list of non-negotiables, and stick to them. If you must choose between several small projects and one big one, it makes the most sense to complete the big one. Having one completed space make much more of an impact than several smaller changes.
- Making decisions. Change orders and add ons will no doubt add extra costs. Having a clear plan from the beginning will create a more realistic estimate of your costs. Also, you must know that if a designer finds an unsafe situation, they must address it. This could have a large impact on the budget and must be accepted as a risk when deciding to take on a large scale project. A good designer will build in a contingency in the budget, but if the issues are extensive more money may be required.
- Ask for updates. Pick a budget range and be meticulous with it. Ask for regular budgetary updates (usually within 24 hours) from your designer. You should know exactly how and where your money is being spent and so should your designer.
- Finally, you must consider a timeline. Think about when you’d like the work completed and ask the designer if it is realistic. Is there a holiday or celebration you’d like the project completed by? Before the arrival of a new baby or family member? Consider these factors when creating your timeline and know that you will have a major role in getting the project completed. Lack of decision making, indecision, or making lots of changes and adding on tasks not accounted for the original scope of work can majorly affect the timeline. The more certain you are about your goals and decisions, the more smoothly the project will progress.
- Concerns for kitchens & bathrooms. If you are remodeling a kitchen and/or a bathroom what necessary changes will need to be made while the room is under construction? Where will I cook or how will I handle not having a kitchen for weeks or months? If there is only one bathroom, what arrangements need to be made? Consider these and factor them into the budget.
- If the floors are being refinished, will there be fumes? For how long? If I cannot walk on the floors, will I need to make other arrangements for a place to stay while the floors are curing? Again, factor this into your budget.
- Storage & Waste. Where will all of the trash go? Do I need a dumpster? Where will all of my items be during the construction of the space(s)? Can I place my items in other places in my home or do I need a storage pod while the room(s) are being completed? Don’t forget to factor those costs.
This list is not meant to scare you but rather to offer you a realistic glimpse into issues you may need to think about before calling a designer. If you don’t come up with solutions on your own, these will be good questions for your designer to consider at the onset of a major project and leave you feeling as prepared as possible. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
Forethought like this takes vision, trust ours!
Create. Innovate. Decorate!