It might sound frivolous to hire an interior designer because “Hey, it’s my house and I know what I like, right?” Even more, working with an interior designer sounds terribly expensive. While it is an additional expense, in the long run, using a
Do Your Homework
Properly preparing yourself to work with an interior designer goes far beyond just looking into various designers, their working philosophies and design styles. To make the most of the collaboration — and that’s what it truly is — you need to lay the groundwork for efficient, effective cooperation.
Scope of the Project
Before you get started, know what you want or need from an interior designer.
In many states and countries,
This does not mean that the world is your oyster when it comes to design because you’ll have a designer at your side. Take a look at what you want to do and how much help you really need and want. If you’re undertaking a complicated renovation and don’t know where to begin, you’ll want more assistance than if you are simply starting a room renovation that includes a minimal amount of construction.
What’s the size of your space?
The amount of space you have available for a project will be one of the important criteria determining what you can do in a space.
What’s your budget?
Your budget is the most important piece of information to have prepared before you start looking for an interior designer. Professionals can work with budgets of all sizes and will be able to successfully guide your choices. “If you’re on a tight budget, a designer is going to know
A designer will also be able to tell you how far your money will go on your particular renovation project. A budget of $40,000 for a gut renovation of a space is very different from $40,000 for a design facelift. Most designers will also work with you to get the job done within your budget as long as it is realistic. You’ll also want to prioritize the elements of your project. It’s easy to get caught up in choosing different pieces, hardware and finishes, all of which have associated costs. Knowing what’s most important to you will help allocate money in a way that leads to the final result you want.
Your style and any other specifics
While any trained designer will have his or her method for learning about you and your style, it helps to compile as much information as possible about what you want and like. It can also help to have a small list of things you absolutely hate. “One time a client had done this for us and had animal print as a “dislike” and thank goodness because otherwise, I would have certainly tossed in some leopard!” writes Erin Gates of
What a Designer Can Do for You
When hiring an interior designer, it’s important to
Creating a design concept is step one — Pulling together all your likes and desires, creating a mood and workable concept is the first thing a designer will do. This is a necessary step no matter whether you are doing one room or ten.
Transforming the concept into design plans — Next, a qualified designer will turn that concept into a set of design plans. These will lay out the space and what has to be done. The complexity of the plan will be determined by the nature of your project: A
Sticking to the budget — Once the designer and client have agreed on a budget, the designer will stick to the set figures and guide various choices along the way.
Choose products, finishes and materials — Every step of a project has options for different quality finishes and components and the costs can add up quickly. “Even if you’re picking all reasonably priced items from say, Pottery Barn, the number at the end may shock you a bit,” writes Gates. A competent interior designer will choose things that fit your budget and priorities and may give you options along the way. If you fall in love with a particular element that costs 20 percent more than your budget, he or she may be able to make cost-cutting suggestions in categories that are less important to you.
Manage the project — One of the things interior designers very often do is hande the management of the project. This is critical, especially if a homeowner doesn’t understand a lot about measurement, construction or the specifics of various parts of the job that may be subcontracted.
Buy and install furniture and accessories — Frankly, designers have better contacts and resources that you do when it comes to finding the right furniture, textiles and accessories for a project. They can shop sources that sell only to the trade. You’ll have more options and better prices and quality if you let them do the purchasing.
Interior designer fees
Different designers will charge in different ways, but there are a number of standard models for design fees. Before any work gets underway, clients must sign a contract. This is beneficial for both parties because it lays out the terms, costs and any timelines being agreed upon. It should also spell out costs associated with any changes along the way
The Designer Society of America says that these are the most common ways that designers charge:
- Hourly — This fee can vary from Can vary from $35-$350 or more per hour. This rate can cover consultations, initial designs and decor plans, furniture rearrangement, staging of accessories, and so on.
- Fixed — Also known as “flat fee,” fixed fees often cap the number of hours spend hours and sometimes spell out a fixed amount so that you know up front what you going to pay for design services.
- Percentage Above Cost –Sometimes called “cost plus,” it is a fee schedule calculated at 15 to 35 percent above the cost of things, not including delivery and sales tax.
- Retail List price or (cost) price presented — This means the designer is presenting selections to you and calculating their markup on an individual basis.
- Retail Less Percentage — This means list price minus 10-20 percent.
- Combination — Clients should realize that in addition to the design fee, some designers also ask to be compensated for time spent shopping and selecting items for the project.
- On-Line Design Services — One of the new offerings that even top designers offer is an online consult and design service. These typically are priced with a flat fee that ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the popularity of the designer. You’ll end up with a plan and a shopping list, but the rest will be up to you. If you’re a hands-on kind of person, this could be a good option for simple room redesigns. If there’s renovation involved or if you’re less confident, the traditional design route might be best, according to Architectural Digest.
There are also new hybrid plans that fall somewhere between an online consult and a full-blown interior design project with various levels of service, so it’s worth shopping around if your budget doesn’t go as far as you thought it would.
Choosing the Right Designer
An added element in choosing an interior designer is chemistry, so it’s a bit like dating. You have to connect and hit it off on some level for the design collaboration to go well, especially if it is a larger remodel or extensive renovation project.
Working with a designer should be an exciting and satisfying process that ends in a space that you absolutely love. Do your homework, communicate clearly, be reasonable and you should have a great time creating your home in concert with a professional.