If you’re reading this, you (or someone you know) are probably thinking about refreshing your space. Congratulations, you are one step closer to your dream home! That being said, selecting the perfect interior designer to bring your vision to life can be daunting… especially if you’ve never worked with an interior designer before. No worries — we’re here to help! Here are the 10 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer.

1. What is your signature style?

It’s important to do your own research ahead of time, and figure out what you want and don’t want. Browse though different designers’ portfolios and decide on which design styles you like before you even begin to “interview” designers. Your space will be a reflection of your unique style, so make sure you and your designer feel right together. 

2. What do you specialize in?

When meeting designers, describe briefly what your needs are and see how the designer can help. Some designers specialize in the construction part of design, such as permit drawings, selection of finishes, etc., while others are excellent at styling.

3. Do you have professional certifications?

Whether you choose to go with an up-and-coming interior designer, or one with extensive experience, it doesn’t hurt to ask about their professional certifications. Do they have a college degree with a major in Interior Design? Are they skilled in computer-aided-design (CAD) programs? These answers can help give you peace of mind.

4. What should I expect for the design process?

After initial contact (whether it’s over the phone, by email, etc.), most interior designers start the design process with a consultation. During the consultation, the interior designer will gather information, gather your wish list, and provide feedback and ideas on what you’re looking for. Design consultations are 1-2 hours long, and cost from $250-500 depending on the firm.

5. Can you work within my budget?

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to understand and be comfortable with your designer’s fees from the start. That way, you won’t run into any surprises down the road. As a general rule of thumb, design work is typically 10% of your overall cost for larger projects. Also, keep in mind that some designers charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour.

6. Do you have a contract?

A contract is there to show you the proper steps and expectations, showcasing exactly what the designers can do for you. It’s all about being honest and transparent. Your interior designer (and other contractors) are working for you, so you should know exactly what’s going on with your project.

7. What does the timeline look like?

Consider a timeframe and time of year you’d like for project completion. Typically, your designer will present you with a scope of work after the initial consultation to highlight how they can help achieve your design goals. Make sure you both agree on the timeline so you’re not rushing your designer, and they know exactly what you expect from them. Design is a process — it takes time!

8. How involved should/will I be during the design process?

Some people prefer to have their interior designer take care of everything, while others like to be very involved. Discussing this with your designer upfront will help eliminate potential hurdles along the way.

9. Are there multiple ways to contact you?

This may sound silly, but how often they respond to phone calls or emails immediately, if they follow up on missed calls in a timely manner, etc., allows you to see your designer’s professionalism ahead of time. That being said, setting boundaries on when to be reached is also important for both parties.

10.  Do I have to find my own contractors, or are there contractors you prefer working with?

A part of your designer’s job is to help you understand how to interview and select a contractor. Most designers already have go-to contractors that they have established relationships with, but professional interior designers should be able to work with any certified contractors.

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These 10 questions should provide you with a good understanding of what to ask and expect from a potential interior designer. It’s important to know what your designers can do for you, and that he/she meets your needs. We recommend making your decisions based on the overall value, rather than just looking at their hourly rate. At the end of the day, good customer service is key to a positive, long-lasting relationship.

Still have questions, concerns, or want to learn more about Flow’s interior design services?

Give us a call at (604) 674-8884, or email hello@flowsmartliving.com.