What to Expect in Your First Meeting With an Interior Designer

So, you are considering consulting with an interior designer or decorator to assist with an upcoming project. How do you select one designer over another? And what should you expect at the first meeting? Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Decide on the scope of the project – What is it that you are really looking to get done? Are you remodeling the entire kitchen or just need help select colors for the kitchen walls? Are you in love with a chair or piece of furniture but not sure how to make it fit in the room? Ensure you KNOW THE ANSWERS to these questions definitively before you start your search. The very first question an interior designer or decorator will ask is -What is the project? The scope of the project will determine the type of help you will need – from a design build firm to an interior re-designer or somewhere in-between.
  2. Talk to local friends about experience with a similar project -Now that you are confident about the scope of project, ask friends and family about their experience in the same arena. If your friend started out with a simple color consultation that blew up into a major home remodel, you can talk to he/she to learn how it happened. And how to avoid the same situation from happening to you.
  3. Gather pictures and ideas of rooms that appeal to you -When you say ‘modern’, it can mean totally different things to an architect, designer and/or decorator. Show pictures instead! Collect pictures of rooms and ideas from magazines, web pages, pictures of friends homes, books and prepare them to show the designers in your first meeting. Additionally, if you like the décor of a local store, take pictures for yourself and ask the salespeople which designers shop there frequently. You may learn of additional designers to consider as well.

Now – you are prepared to meet with an interior decorator or designer and have narrowed down the list of possible companies. What should you expect next? As you contact and meet designers, keep the following things in mind.

  1. Expect a nominal initial consultation fee – As the old adage goes – time is money! Expect an experienced and preferred designer to charge for the initial visit. An hourly fee or set fee for the first meeting is common and some designers may apply it to the first order. Hint: Savvy interior designers use this as a gauge for new clients. If a prospect grumbles or complains about the initial consultation fee, the designer may assume the prospect will have trouble paying subsequent fees and not interested in taking the prospect on as a client.
  2. Expect to answer lots of questions about your taste and style – Since this is the first time that the designer is meeting you, he/she will do what they can to learn about your style. He/She will take notice of the current state of your home, your furniture choices (if those are evident) and how you and your family currently live in your space. If you have any big dislikes or likes, now is the time to express those – i.e. – no roosters in the kitchen décor or a desire for a water element in your bedroom. And don’t forget to show the pictures that you collected, as discussed earlier!
  3. Ensure important decision makers are available – Even if your spouse/significant other will not be involved with the process, if he/she will live in the space, then include her/him in the initial meeting. Especially if the room is shared, like the kitchen or master bathroom. Don’t set up this meeting during the day when the spouse/significant other is not available. This can easily become a cause for contention once the project gets underway.
  4. Expect to discuss budget – This can be a touchy subject but not talking about it won’t make it go away! Be sure to be clear about what your budget limitations are and ask the designer/decorator if your budget expectations match the reality of the project. And if the designers don’t mention budget, be sure to bring it up – you deserve to get a sense of things before any plans get started.
  5. Know what you like but be open to explore new things – The saavy designer won’t design an entire room at the first meeting, but he/she may suggest a few things to gauge your reactions to different ideas. If you find yourself reacting negatively to the suggestions, keep looking! Soon you find a designer/decorator who speaks your language…but keep yourself open to learn a few new words in that language! (I hope that analogy makes sense). That is what you are paying a designer to do – bring new and fresh ideas to your space!

We hope the above advice is useful as you consider hiring a design professional for your next project. The list was developed from our own experiences and interactions with clients before, during and after home projects.

Interior Design – Decorating Walls

It’s sometimes hard to start redecorating your home, especially when you don’t really need it, but you’d like a change. Interior design is a job for professionals, but with a little bit of imagination and some guidance you too could create an astonishing design. This is hard when there is no plan to follow. So, the first thing you should do is create a decorating plan, in which to include what you want to change, the available budget, tools you’ll need, materials and the estimated time period.

Many people believe there is not much you can do on a low budget. That’s more or less true. I’d prefer saying less. There are so many resources available today, plenty waiting at a click of the mouse, that you have practically no excuse not to create astonishing interior designs. You’ll find online all you need, from complex mural and decorative wall paintings to ordinary wallpapers. Here are a few wall decorating ideas.

Printed Fabrics to Replace Expensive Paintings

When all you have to enhance is a plain huge white wall, you might want to choose an extra large painting, but art doesn’t come in cheap. If your budget is low, investing $ 500 – $ 700 to enliven a plain room might be too much. Are there any alternatives? Well, you could either make that painting yourself – but this will still cost a lot (large canvases are expensive; acryl or oil colors as well, plus the most costly tool of all: your time) – or you could visit a few of the local textile stores to choose a nice piece of fabric that will match the colors of your furniture or the other design patterns in the room. You’ll need to choose a fabric with big prints and a special pattern, something meaningful, like a flower, leaf or butterfly; something exotic (maybe a palm tree or a colored bird) or something abstract. No matter what you choose, make sure the print goes together with the other elements of the room.

Decals Make Nice Wall Ornaments

Decals are funny in children’s rooms. There are plenty of decals made especially for interior design purposes, both for walls or doors and even for furniture. You could find them in many home improvement or interior decorating shops, or online, at very low prices. The decals are great for small accents or trails around windows or doors. If you ever get tired of them, peel them off carefully and they will not cause any damage to the wall.

Latex Paints to Design Your Own Wall Patterns

You could also use latex paint to design your own wall patterns. If you do the job well, no one will ever make the difference between your work and real wallpaper. But you’ll have the satisfaction of something unique, something no one else in the world has, not even those who employ skilled interior designers to do the job. If you want a regular pattern, you’ll need a stencil. For your pattern to be really unique you should design your own stencil. It’s fun and easy. Browse the web to find stencil tutorials for interior decorations that will guide you through the whole process step by step. Yes, this technique requires a lot of your time, but the results are worth the price.

7 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before Hiring Them

Before you hire an interior designer to help decorate or redesign a room in your home it is important that you know something about the person who is providing you their professional advice. Do you like their style? Do they listen to your design ideas as well? Do they have experience with a portfolio of past jobs that you can look at and study? There are several questions you can ask a professional designer but following are 7 of the most important questions or things to know before hiring an interior designer for your next project.

1. In today’s digital world, there’s a never-ending supply of before and after photos. Ask to view their web site before you meet.

2. While a designer should be able to create the home you’re dreaming of, some designers specialize in certain design styles. Ask what their favorite design style is and make sure your tastes are compatible.

3. Referrals, referrals, referrals! Talk to clients who’ve actually worked with the designer. Rather than just making a phone call, ask if you can see the client’s home with or without the designer. Most happy clients would gladly show you their successful project. If visiting in person isn’t an option, at least ask the client about their overall job satisfaction. Would they use the designer again? What did they like most and least about working with the designer?

4. If you can’t tour a client’s home, the designer’s home is the next best thing. If a tour cannot be provided ask them to look at their portfolio of work either online or a physical book of images.

5. Ask the designer how they charge for their services. Many designers charge a percentage of the total costs. Given supplier discounts to the trade, the discounts usually pay the client back for all and often more than the designer’s fee, saving the client money.

6. Time line. Get an idea about when the work would begin and be completed by. Make sure that goals and budget are clearly defined.

7. Are you compatible with the designer? This is a person you’ll spend a fair amount of time with. While they don’t have to become your best friend, it’s important that you consider this person to be a good listener, reliable, knowledgeable and professional.

If the interior designer you are considering hiring meets all your requirements then you have a good match. Keeping this list of questions handy will be helpful in your search and may even save you money by hiring the right designer for the job.