Personal style is extremely subjective- one person’s paradise could be another’s worst nightmare. Even if an interior designer is very highly regarded and successful in their field, they may not be the right match for your tastes and preferences. When choosing a designer, here are several things to keep in mind.
Choose the right person for your type of project
A good designer knows that interior design is more than throw pillows and new drapes. It’s important to think of the function and flow of the space and design for maximum utility as well as looks. Ask to see examples of previous projects of a similar type, style, and scale as yours.
Some designers are particularly good at one type of project, for example, kitchen remodels or renovating older homes to modernize them. Consider looking for someone who specializes in the type of project you’ll be doing.
Find a designer who can be a partner
Do you want to be very involved in the design process, or just hand over the reins to a professional? Be up front with the candidates you meet with to make sure they are comfortable with you being as involved (or not) as you want to be.
There’s more to design projects than painting and choosing tile. Your designer will likely be coordinating tradesmen and doing surprisingly complicated math in regard to your job, so respect that there are probably some areas they are far more knowledgable than you, and cede control of these things to the professional.
It’s key that the designer you choose respects your budget, and it’s equally important that you set a realistic budget for the work you want done. It may cost more than you think to do a project that involves structural changes such as moving or eliminating a wall. You should have a frank conversation about your budget with the designers you are considering. Once you’ve determined together that the budget you’ve set is feasible to complete the work, the designer should stick to it.
Some designers bill a flat rate fee, others charge an hourly rate, and come charge by the square foot or cost of materials and labor plus commission. Be aware of how the project will be billed. It’s also a good idea to discuss what budget level of accessories and furnishings you had in mind. If you’re thinking Target and the designer is thinking Restoration Hardware, you’re bound to run into problems. Make sure you’re on the same page before committing to anything.