Here is a round-up of what you should ask before getting an interior designer on board.
You’ve set your sight on decorating or renovating your living space, and we bet you’re overflowing with excitement right now. Don’t let your enthusiasm sidetrack you though, as you might forget some very important aspects of your home improvement project.
Hiring an interior designer is one. You’ll want to work with a creative, professional designer who can meet eye-to-eye with you. Someone whom you could agree with professionally and creatively.
Often, asking the right questions can help you check if someone is the perfect fit for your dream project. Here is a round-up of what you should ask before getting an interior designer on board.
What kind of educational background and professional qualifications do you possess?
Treat your partnership with your designer as an employer-employee type of relationship. This means your designer has to match the skills you need to get the work done right.
One important thing you have to determine is the kind of degree that your designer candidate has earned in school. Note that there’s a difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator.
The former is one who has earned a degree that includes architecture coursework and has earned a license. Meanwhile, an interior decorator may be less qualified – one who has either done an internship or has relevant knowledge of design trends, but is not licensed.
The nature of the project should help you decide whether to hire an interior designer or an interior decorator. For instance, if there are house walls to be torn down or there are changes to be made to the current floor plan, then your obvious choice should be a designer slash architect.
When it comes to professional qualifications of the designer, you’re looking for someone who has completed home design projects of varied scope – small to medium and large scale – to help you determine the designer’s versatility and flexibility in handling projects with graduated difficulty.
You might also want to delve into whether or not you’re hiring a full-service designer, who will work on visualizing your space from scratch and building it through final construction.
What’s your style like?
This is not meant to give the designer the leeway to how your crib will be designed or re-arranged, but their creative orientation and inclinations might be radically different from your own style. In which case, there’s no use hiring the wrong person for the job.
To help you determine if a designer matches your aesthetic preferences, you could request to have a look at the designer’s own home. You don’t have to inspect every detail of the structure. The idea is to look at its overall design, as it can tell you whether your style and tastes are worlds apart from each other.
During the initial conversations and meetings, you could also ask your designer to describe his or her signature style. Listen attentively to what your designer has to say. The discussion should give you a general idea if the designer can collaborate with you on a creative venture.
Last, but not least, take time to explore the designer’s website, portfolio, and social media pages to get a glimpse of the artistic talent and level of craftsmanship of that person. Pay attention to recommendations, reviews, or testimonials from the designer’s list of clients, too.
Do you intend to use trade pieces or can you help me find cheaper alternatives?
At the outset, you have to agree with the designer whether to use trade or custom designed pieces of furniture or accessories for your home. These are usually very pricey, so be sure that you set the right expectations with your designer.
If you’re a little tight on budget, you could check with the designer how you can find cheaper alternatives. There are designers who will be accommodating enough if you request them to shop with you for more affordable house décor items, although you must remember that this is not always the case.
Shopping with your designer can establish or enhance rapport between the two of you, and some designers use it as an opportunity to share some space-saving tips for your home, condo, or apartment. It’s also during these informal shopping trips that you could ask your designer for pointers on how you could further refine your house design ideas.
How do we get the project started?
Before you officially sign the job contract, you need to go over the final details of the project with your designer. They should include a complete description of the project – scope, time frame, budget, list of services to be availed of, images and renderings, materials to use, and schedule of payments, to name a few. These details should be indicated on the contract to help eliminate any gray areas for you and your designer.
These are just some of the questions that you should ask before greenlighting your home makeover. Remember, it’s only when you keep an open line of communication with your prospective interior designer that you can turn your dream home into a reality.
About the Author
Oscar is a content contributor for Avida’s lifestyle blog Pursuit of Passion. He is an engineer by profession but a multipotentialite by destiny. Just like a normal dude in a basketball-crazy country, one of his passions is shooting hoops. Grant Hill is the older brother he never had.