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Monday, April 7, 2008

Hiring an interior designer…

Hiring an interior designer may seem to some an arduous task. There’s the challenge of finding a designer who understands your vision, will respect your budget, and stay on track. But before you jump and hire the first designer you are referred to, pause and think about your needs. Consider some questions your potential designer may have for you. What is your time frame and budget? For whom is the space being designed? Do you need a little help or a complete overhaul? Also remember that the more information you provide the prospective designer, the more successful he or she will be in meeting your needs. You may even want to do your own research, or create an idea book of images that inspire you to discuss with potential designers.

Arrange interviews with a few potential Interior Designers in your area. Ask about their prior projects, education, experience, and client references. Upon your request they should also be able to provide you with a portfolio of their work and any professional affiliations or credentials. Interviewing different designers will enable you to become familiar with differences in personality, style preferences, and business practices. Remember that you will be working closely with this person, so make sure you feel comfortable interacting and expressing your ideas with them.

Once you have narrowed your search, inquire further about the designer’s fee structure.

Is there a contract? Discuss your specific needs to make sure the designer’s fee schedule/contract will work for you. For example if you only need some advice on paint colors and furniture placement, a flat or hourly fee would be most common. However, if you project is more involved, there will likely be a combination of fees for renderings, research & development, and mark-ups on purchased items etc. Speak openly with the designer about your budget, and let them know if the number is firm or flexible.

Lastly, when you do hire a designer remember to be upfront and honest with them at all times. Speaking up in the beginning allows them to better understand your vision for the space, and design accordingly. When designer and client are on the same page things flow smoothly and the space you envisioned can be realized.


Neutral Dwelling said...

Very informative post!

April Force Pardoe said...

I could not agree more. Having a client prepare an idea file or style file is a great start -- for both the client and designer.

Alex said...

Great post. I also agree on what april said. I like to ask my potential clients what their budget is and often get this, 'geez - you're going to max me out look' from them....but designers need to know beforehand to explain to their clients the reality of costs and when things get tight that maybe the job should be worked in phases over time. Or at least understand what the most important results are and work that first...so the client feels they are making progress and the designer feels it too.

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