What to ask an interior designer before hiring

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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Redesigning spaces in your home – like outdoor living spaces, kitchens and living rooms – is an exciting step in creating a dwelling that you’re proud to show off. However, if you’re planning to revamp more than one space or don’t have ample time to take on a renovation, you may want to think about hiring an interior designer to help dress up your home to look as if it just came out of a magazine. But in order to make sure that the interior designer you’re looking at is fit for the work you’re requiring, it’s important to ask him or her a few questions first.

1. What is your education/background in interior design?

If you want to design your home just the way you imagined, you want someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in the field. You wouldn’t visit a doctor who didn’t have a medical degree, or send your children to a school with uneducated teachers. The same goes for your interior designers. While most states don’t require interior designers to have a specific degree related to interior design, it’s still important that you make sure they have an education from an accredited design school.

2. What experience do you have in designing rooms in my preferred style/budget?

You could have a very talented designer, but if they’re only experienced in doing one style of room, you may be out of luck. Get a good idea of his or her typical style aesthetic and figure out if he or she has done rooms under the budget that you’re requesting. All of these factor into how the end result will look.

3. Can I see your portfolio?

If an interior designer is a professional, he or she will have a portfolio of previous work. They often include floor plans, photos, fabric samples and other items pertaining to their projects. It’s also a good idea to ask for references to get an outsider’s point of view on your designer’s overall services. Ask for the names and contact details of at least two previous clients.

4. How will you share information with me?

Designers could share info with you via design boards, computer imaging or plans. It’s important to discuss which one will work best for you and your projects. This way, you’ll know exactly what they have planned and what to expect in the final product.

5. How do you charge for your services?

Everyone is different. Some charge by the hour, some charge by the room. If they charge by the hour, it could be difficult to figure out what the total fee would be after beginning a project. It can add up quickly when redoing a number of rooms. Paying by the room is often more straightforward and you can have a good idea of what the final bill will look like.

6. How do you make sure furniture will fit in my space?

No matter the size of your room, your interior designer should be bringing in furniture that not only fits the size of the space, but looks good considering the amount of space they’re working with. Good designers prepare the floor plans in a computer-aided drafting program so that any last minute changes can easily be made, helping to make your renovations go smoothly.

7. How do you handle problems when they come up?

If a designer tells you that he or she has never experienced any issues when designing a room he or she is likely very inexperienced. Therefore, they often don’t know what to do when an issue arises. They should have a number of troubleshooting ideas to make sure that their clients are happy and have an enjoyable experience knowing that the design of their home is in good hands.