Yep. That’s a question we get. A lot. It’s part of the trade. I’m down to answer it whenever, wherever. At Disneyland waiting for It’s a Small World. At the grocery store in the cereal aisle. In my kitchen over a glass of wine with friends. I answer it in many iterations all the time. But sometimes I don’t feel it can truly encompass what you can expect while working with a designer. So here I am to just brain dump on you what to expect when you hire an interior designer.
Think hard about what you want from your designer.
Are you just looking for someone to help you buy some art? Maybe just need a few cabinet pulls picked out? Need help with new construction from concept to completion? There are many stages of interior design and the services we can provide you. It’s super helpful to us if you have a clear idea of where you want us to help and where you want us to butt out before you ever pick up the phone to inquire about our services. Even if it changes over the course of the project, the more you know about what you need/want vs. what can wait, can save you time and money in the long run.
Additionally, If you’ve got many cooks in the kitchen that will need to weigh in before decisions are made, sit down with those people first. Talk to them about realistic budgets, desires, loves and hates. Also, have a Pinterest board ready to roll with images that inspire you. Inspirational images are the currency that binds us together visually to make sure we are speaking the same design language.
It costs money!
I know. This one is oddly surprising to people sometimes. In the age of everything on-demand and design packages made for the masses, sometimes people forget that interior design is a personalized service that is tailored specifically to you. Because of that, our time is worth money. I’ve got a future post that I’m working on where I explain to you exactly how we charge for our time, but in preparation of us working together, think about how much you want to spend on your project. I mean everything. If you need help with this, check out our past post on determining your budget.
Quick tip: Answer this question honestly to yourself – What is the max you would spend on a new sofa? Sometimes a client will think $500 is the max they’d spend on a couch. Sometimes $10,000 is the max. Make a list of every item you want/need for your home and set a max purchase price for it. Here’s a worksheet to help you with that.
We are your ride-or-die during this process.
Hire us because you trust us and want to work with us. Hire us because you need help with your space and you think we’re the right partner to do that with. Don’t hire us if you think you won’t be able to trust our vision. This process is highly collaborative and we spend loads of time learning about you and what you love (and hate!). Because of that, we determine the best course of action for your project and we’ve got an end vision in mind. Sometimes we will push you, but if you question every choice along the way, you will slow up the process and potentially end up with an incomplete space.
Trust us to do the job you hired us to do and you will be thrilled with the results. If we’re recommending a set of lamps with a particular sofa, we know, from our years of experience, that those pieces will look fantastic in your space. But if you tell us you want to do one piece at a time, then that can potentially compromise the quality of the end result.
It is super hard sometimes for a client to give up control, but just remember we are your with you through thick and thin in this process and we are here to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Trust your gut.
All that being said, at the end of the day, your gut is the best indicator if all is going as planned. Sometimes we get it wrong. Or slightly off. Or just right. But go with your initial reaction and then communicate that to us. If you just know your family needs a sectional even if we’re proposing two sofas instead, you can veto us. You know your family’s needs more than anyone and sometimes your personal needs override design needs. Simple as that.
Phew – that was a lot for now. We didn’t even get into the nitty-gritty about how we work with you on making selections or general timelines. Not to worry, just contact us and we’ll keep this ball rolling!
One response to “ASK A DESIGNER | What’s it really like to work with an interior designer?”
It caught my attention when you explained that we should trust our gut when hiring an interior designer because we need someone we can comfortably communicate with about our personal needs. My husband and I will be moving to a larger home this May, and we think it’d be smart to enlist the help of an interior designer since we’ll need to purchase furniture and decor to fill out the rooms. Thanks for sharing this article and teaching me what factors to consider when trying to decide between interior design services!