5 tips to help you work with your designer~

Contemplating taking that step to hire an Interior Designer for the first time? Want to know how it will work?

Here are 5 ways to help you get what you need from your designer.

1. Preference:Who to hire.

You need to decide who to call.  There are so many listings, how to choose? Ask friends or neighbors, (we love referrals) or search online for an Interior Designer in your area and look at their website. A website is an excellent way to determine if it’s a right fit for you. Is the designer certified to do residential design and remodeling? Has he or she posted pictures of previous work? Do these pictures represent something similar to what you are wanting?

2. Pre-conceived idea: What you want.

Once you’ve selected the designer, and are sitting down getting to the nitty-gritty of discussing your investment, please tell her everything. Be honest and open. Also remain realistic in your goal setting and keep in mind that in addition to the items and services you are purchasing, you are hiring a professional to do it for you. Please share with the designer exactly WHAT you are planning and willing to spend.

Have an idea WHAT you want. The best way to do this is with visuals. Have fun tearing up those old magazines lying around the house, clip and save everything you like and put it into a folder to share with your designer. If you find photos from sites online, print them off and reference the website on the photo. If  you dislike certain styles, tell the designer that as well.  A designer who is not previously acquainted with you will certainly appreciate as much information you can provide, and will help the process progress smoothly. I call this “Your Homework” and is very helpful to the designer.

3. Procedure: Have a clear idea of what to expect. (Be Prepared)

Have you used an Interior Designer or Decorator before? Have you renovated before? These are some basic questions you should be asked on the first appointment. If you have not undergone a remodel and lived without a kitchen or a toilet or a shower or a floor or a door, then beware. Renovations are disruptive, dusty, and  patience developers. Workers will be there everyday, usually early. It’s the “no pain, no gain” kinda thing. You need to get through the nasty to get to the beautiful. It’s NOT HGTV and done in 2 days for $2,000.  It’s just not.

Typical Kitchen prior to Remodel

Be prepared for things to go longer and yes, maybe cost more as the unknowns surface. These are things that the designers and contractors cannot know until they open a wall or start wiring, etc. Have a cushion in your budget to allow for these situations to be handled in a professional & safe manner.  My experience is that homeowners usually end up wanting add-ons that were not part of the original plan. Understand it will take more time and money. Think about an allowance for this too. A little more now is better than a lot more later.

Here is an example of a homeowner, one of my clients, who wanted to enlarge the window over the kitchen sink once the renovation was underway. It involved opening up an exterior wall, installing a new header and some adjustments to the exterior of the home as well, but the new bay window with a niche for plants was worth the money she spent! (See bottom picture).

 If you are unsure or haven’t any idea what the project will cost, a professional should be able to present to you an estimate very close to what things will cost.  Until final decisions are made however, these are only an estimate. In design, you may receive a range of costs for your project, it all depends on your final selections.

Keep in mind that price shopping for a designer doesn’t always determine your best bet. Choose the fit that you’re most comfortable with i.e. someone who will be spending a lot of time in your home with you or when you are at work or away. Hire someone who listens to you.

Your designer should provide you with some sort of timeline and inform you when subs will arrive and what they are to accomplish. This is referred to as project management. Sometimes the designer will take this role or it may be the General Contractor’s responsibility.

4. Preparation: Be patient.

Renovations take time and all parties want the project to be finished on time. Sometimes things happen out of anyone’s control that may cause delays.  Be prepared that this could happen, even in new constructions and custom-built homes. Items can be back ordered and a replacement has to be searched out and specified. The best advice is to remain flexible.

5. Communicate.

Communication is two-sided. Establish this early on. Every designer works differently.    E-mails are a good way to communicate that  allow both parties to track conversations and progress etc. and can be sent at all hours without a disturbing late night phone call.  Keep an open line of communication. So, take a deep breath and if you’re ready to get started, give me a call!  I’m expert at “Transforming Spaces Into Beautiful Places!” 


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