Five Tips for Hiring an Interior Designer
By: Sabrina Essery, Freelance Writer
Interior designers do far more than just pick out which colours and fabric to use, they arrange your space so that it’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Interior designers have to take into account your lifestyle, your home’s architecture, placement of things like vents, electrical outlets, and lighting fixtures, and any other structural aspects that may affect your space.
An interior designer could be the saviour your space needs! Here are five tips for hiring one.
* Shop Around: Many designers have a certain style of their own or a “go to” that they like to work with – make sure you look at a designer’s portfolio to get a good idea of what their general style is. You want to make sure that your designer’s style aligns with your own, or at the very least, they are willing to work with your ideas as best possible. Collecting things like colour or fabric swatches and images can be very helpful if you’re having trouble articulating what you like.
* Put Down the Magazines: Do not try to replicate what you see in a magazine or on a Pinterest board. Though the photos may be stunning, expecting your space to look just like that is not realistic. Even if your floor plan is similar, your budget and/or needs for the space will likely be different. Ask not what your space can do for all the pretty things you want, but what those pretty things can do for your space.
* Think About Your Needs: Do you really need a designer to help you with the whole process? You might, and that’s okay! But if you just need a push in the right direction, consider just doing a consultation with your designer. Most good designers will offer consultation-only services in addition to the full package, much like wedding planners. If you feel confident in your DIY abilities, ask yourself if you really need more than a consultation.
* Clarify Payment: Each designer uses a different system – some will charge an hourly rate, others will charge a flat fee, and some will charge a percentage of the total cost of the project. Some designers use a system called “cost-plus”; how this works is, when the designer makes purchases for your project (this could be materials, furniture, etc.) at a discounted rate, they will charge you the retail price and keep the difference as their fee. In addition, you may be billed for travel, conversations on the phone, visits to other locations, etc. Make sure that you completely understand how you are paying your designer, and make sure the terms of payment are crystal clear.
* Know What You Want: Are there any pieces of furniture or décor that absolutely can’t go? Do you have any hard passes for what colours or fabrics to use? Do you know what mood or atmosphere you want to create? The more sure you are of your decisions, the easier it will be to make a plan with your designer. That being said, do try to keep an open mind when your designer gives you suggestions. They have an education and experience in interior design, and they know what they’re doing!