Going on the assumption that all interior designers are the same, or that their differences are only subtle, is a mistake that can make you learn some very tough lessons.
Just as in any other business genre, some are better than others and a select few truly excel above everyone else. The following is a list of five steps that you should take in order to get connected with the perfect interior designer for the work you need done.
Step #1: Gather Together a Group to Screen
Your first step should be to gather together a large list of interior designers in your area that you can screen. You have to find them and not the other way around. The more people you have to choose from, the better your odds of finding the perfect match.
Ask among friends and coworkers if they have someone to refer or someone they know. Local home-builders and architects are also a great source for information about interior designers, so it is best to call some of them. Of course you can always check online, because at least there you can see what they have displayed on their website.
Step #2: What About their Design Style?
Interior design is similar to playing music. There are just so many different styles out there now, so it’s unreasonable to assume that any one designer could be the master of all. Of course just like a good qualified professional musician, most good interior designers will have a roster of styles that they excel in.
There will be certain interior designers who focus on one style only and cater to clients who are interested in working with an expert on that particular style. Give some thought to what type of design style or styles that you’re interested in so you can put that on the table as you’re screening your prospects.
Step #3: Get References and Check them Out
Any qualified interior designer will have a good list of references for you to check out and if they don’t you should be highly suspicious. This doesn’t mean that you can go touring through people’s homes listed in the reference rather this means is that they should be able to provide you with phone numbers of people you can call for a quick chat.
Make it a point to ask about numbers of contractors that they have worked with on job sites in the past as well. Remember, a good interior designer is always available as their plans materialized. The last thing you need is one that’s going to be causing problems.
A few questions to ask:
- Were you happy with the design work?
- Did they hit you with surprise overcharges?
- Did they start and complete on an agreed time?
- Where they easy to collaborate with?
- Did they work well with the builder?
Step #4: Ask About Money and Timing
You are going to be paying your interior designer for the services rendered and they are in the business to make a living. In the end of the day, it’s all about money. This is for sure a topic that you should discuss with them in the very early stages of the screening process. You should be wary if they seem unwilling to discuss it.
You should get a clear answer regarding how they charge for work and how long it’s going to take them to do it. It’s as simple as that. Some designers may have different formulas that they use but they should all be upfront and easy to comprehend. The last thing you want is to get involved with is someone on some ‘open-ended’ deal.
Step #5: Have a Final Sit Down with Them
By using the above listed criteria you should be able to whittle your list down to a final few. These would be the three or four interior designers that gave you some good prospects. What’s left now is to see how comfortable you are sitting down and collaborating with them about your ideas.
That’s what you’ll be doing after the agreement is signed, so you may as well find out ahead of time how comfortable you are doing it with your designer. Contact your short list to let them know that you’d like to have a sit-down meeting with them to help you decide which one of them you are finally going to hire to do the work on your home.
Written by Mary Joe Wright. She is a freelance interior designer. She loves reading through fashion and interior design books. She is also fond of gardening and landscaping.