Thinking Of Hiring An Interior Designer? Ask Yourself These Questions First

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Hiring an interior designer can be extremely exciting and a bit nerve wracking, too! But how do you know when you’re ready, or if doing so is the best option for you? 

Believe it or not, some people are better off waiting or even handling their design projects on their own. We’ve definitely had our fair share of conversations with potential clients who thought they were ready to take the leap, but in reality, it wasn’t the time or they were too indecisive on big picture items. It happens, and we totally understand! We’re here to help you decide if hiring an interior designer is the right choice, so let’s walk through a few questions to ask yourself before booking a consultation.

Keep reading for the essential questions to ask yourself before hiring an interior designer!

Image Via East & Gray Interiors

1. Do You Have Clear Goals In Mind For Your Home?

We don’t mean exact paint colors, countertops or furniture brands, but it’s essential that you’ve spent some time thinking about your big picture goals for the project. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. How do you want to feel in your space? Some clients want to feel connected to nature, and to feel calm and balanced in their home, valuing open space and natural materials like wood or linen. Others may want bold, creative spaces that show a lot of personality and unique style. These people may be drawn towards pattern and color. 
  2. How will you be using each room? Do you spend a lot of time cooking or gathering with friends and family in the kitchen? Is your living room used heavily, requiring durable furniture to hold up to kids and pets?
  3. Are there any things you love or hate in the design world? Maybe you love open concept designs where the living, dining and kitchen flow easily together. Maybe you detest carpet and don’t want it anywhere in the house.

Spend some time flipping through magazines or pinning images on Pinterest to help you get an idea of what you want your home to resemble. 

2. Are You Ready To Make An Investment In Your Home’s Interior, Beyond Just The Fixtures & Fittings?

Hiring a designer to take over your home project is an investment, and oftentimes people are surprised to find out the cost. But the value in hiring a designer is that they help you envision your space as a whole and interpret your needs, wants and personality, bringing that all to life in your home’s design. 

Additionally, creating and implementing a design plan from beginning to end is extremely time consuming, and requires a ton of organization, coordination and project management. A designer handles all of this work for you, saving you time  and allowing you to focus on living your life. They also advocate for you throughout the process with all involved parties, and often save you from making expensive mistakes you wouldn’t have known about. And while it can be costly, the result is a professionally designed, cohesive home that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve on your own.

Image via East & Gray Interiors

Generally, you can expect to pay an interior designer 10%-30% of the total project cost (note: not the budgeted project cost), so that often helps people ballpark the total spend on a designer before beginning the consultation process.

If you don’t have room in your budget for a designer’s fee on top of all of the furniture, fixtures and renovations you’ve envisioned, we recommend waiting a year or so until you have more money set aside to allow you to prioritize a design service. 

3. Are You Willing To Place Trust In A Designer?

We wouldn’t recommend working with a designer if you want to be heavily involved in every design decision. Interior designers take the lead on projects. 

Remember you have hired a designer for their expertise, creativity and design eye. Having clients involved every step of the way during the creation process slows things down dramatically and limits the creative expression of the designer. Designers need freedom to fully flex their creative muscles so that they can design a home for you that is cohesive, unique and tailored to you. 

Your designer will spend a lot of time at the beginning of your project getting to know you and really understanding your functional and emotional needs, as well as your personality and style. They will use all this information to create a truly special home that reflects you. And your designer will meet with you along the way for feedback and approval so you will have plenty of time to provide feedback. You’ll usually find that when you allow the designer the freedom and space for their creative expertise to soar, they’ll end up including things in the design that you didn’t even know you wanted or needed! 

Additionally, designers will not present you with every single option—they narrow it down to the best ones, and present those to you for approval. If you’re not comfortable with a designer taking the lead and making big picture decisions, you may not be a good candidate for their services. 

Image via East & Gray Interiors

4. Are You Comfortable With A Lengthy Timeline?

Design project timelines range from 6-8 months for simple design services to as much as 12-24+ months for large, full service design projects, home remodeling, or ground-up builds. In addition to the initial planning and coordination of the project, the timeline is tied to many factors that are outside of a designer’s control: material and furniture lead times, coordination with delivery services, tradesmen and vendor schedules, construction timelines, and much more. 

It’s important to understand that design projects are heavily involved and complex from start to finish, so if you’re trying to achieve a 1-2 month full redesign, it’s likely not a reality with most interior designers who provide full service design. The wait is well worth it though because it ensures several things:

  • That you end up with a home that has been well thought out to meet all of your needs,
  • That you’ve invested in your home in smart ways, and 
  • That you’re able to properly execute all the small unique details to achieve jaw dropping results.  

The Big Picture

If digging into the fine details of a home renovation is more your speed, or if you want to do a super quick 1-2 month home refresh, or you don’t have a budget for a designer’s fee outside of project and materials costs, or you don’t feel comfortable with the thought of a designer taking creative control of your project, then hiring an interior designer may not be the right fit for you.

  • Are you financially ready to make an investment in your home’s design?
  • Do you feel comfortable with longer timelines for everything to come together properly?
  • Are you confident placing trust in a designer’s hands?

Congratulations, friend! It looks like you’re ready to reach out to an interior designer and start your fun and beautiful design journey!

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meet Andrea!

Traveling, animals, and all things design encompass Andrea’s life, fueling her creative energy every step of the way.

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