How to Hire an Interior Designer: 9 Questions to Consider

How to Hire an Interior Designer: 9 Questions to Consider

You may have a vision of your perfect room, scoured Instagram and Pinterest for ideas, or visited every showroom in the city to compare furniture and wallpaper patterns for your interior design project. But even the most creative person can struggle with putting a room together – that’s where a professional interior designer comes in.

Professionally trained interior designers bring fresh perspectives and unexpected ideas to your home. They understand both form and function and are experts at integrating the two ideas.

Once you decide to work with a professional, you need to figure out how to hire an interior designer who fits your needs. We’ve put together a list of nine questions to ask yourself to assist you with your search:


1. What is Your Style? 


Even though most interior designers can work comfortably in any style, it’s a good idea to find an interior designer that specializes in the aesthetic you prefer. If you love contemporary design, look for an interior designer with a portfolio that showcases that style.

On the other hand, if your style is more rustic or traditional, you would be well advised to find an interior designer who’s comfortable in that vernacular. You can get a sense of a designer’s aesthetic by looking at their website and social media channels.


2. Do You Have a Vision?


Do you have a picture in your head of how your ideal space will look when the project is finished? If so, share this with your designer during your initial conversations. Even a rough idea of how you hope the finished space will look and function will provide your interior designer with a starting point for the design process.

You should also share what you don’t like with your interior designer. This will help streamline the design process, as they will know what to avoid as they begin to propose ideas for your living room or other spaces in your home or office.


3. What Services Will You Need from a Designer?


A common misconception about interior designers is that they do little more than take a floor plan and fill it with beautiful objects. The reality is that interior designers have a wide array of skill sets, though not every designer offers the same services to their clients.

Thinking ahead about the kinds of services you need will help you find the right designer and improve your overall experience. For example, if all you need is someone to help you find new furniture or create a furniture layout, a decorator will suffice. But if you’ll need more specialized services, such as rearranging plumbing or relocating lighting, you will have more success with an interior designer.


4. Should You Stay Local or Go Online?


Thanks to modern technology, people can hire an interior designer from anywhere in the world. While phones, computers, and tablets may provide access to a broader range of talent and interior design services, going online may not be the best choice.

If you prefer to work with someone who will visit your home or office, you would be well advised to keep your search local. This is especially true if you would like to work with an interior designer face-to-face or meet in the space you are renovating. 


5. Do You Need Contractors? 


Will you need a design service that goes beyond sourcing furniture, lighting, and wall coverings? If so, you’ll want to see if your interior designer has connections with experienced contractors. 

Be sure to ask your interior designer if they offer project management. An experienced project manager can simplify the execution of complex projects.


6. How Much Involvement Do You Want to Have?


Would you prefer to hire an interior designer who takes charge while you relax and trust them to do what they do best? Or would you prefer a more collaborative process in which you are consulted on every design decision – or a relationship that strikes a balance between the two

As you interview interior designers, discuss how involved you would like to be in the design process. Likewise, ask potential designers how they like to work with clients and make sure that you are comfortable with the proposed dynamic.  


7. What Is Your Timeline for your Interior Design Project?


A talented design professional may not be available immediately, so it’s smart to plan ahead. If you know when would you like to begin your project and your target completion date, a designer can work with you to both meet your needs and assess whether or not you have realistic expectations. Keep in mind the scope and complexity of the work will dictate how long your interior design project will take to complete. 


8. What is Your Budget?


Having a rough budget in mind will help an interior designer provide you with an accurate idea of what’s possible. A budget will also help prioritize “must-haves” over items of less importance to you. For example, if you’re remodeling your living room and would like a custom sofa, you might have to make prudent choices about other aspects of the project to ensure there’s enough budget to cover the design element at the top of your list of priorities.

You should always ask your interior designer how they bill. Some professional designers charge by the hour, others charge a flat fee, and some charge a percentage of the cost of the items they purchase for you. Think about your own process and what would be the best structure for you: if your designer charges an hourly rate, it is easy to rack up a bill; a flat rate may seem expensive up front, but it is a fixed cost.

When planning your budget, keep in mind that you might need to relocate temporarily depending on the scope of work.


9. Do You Care About Credentials or Awards?


Most interior designers will display their awards and credentials on their websites and in their portfolios. Prominent designers will also have plenty of press highlighting examples of their aesthetic sensibilities and technical expertise.

Designers with advanced credentials and prestigious awards are often more sought after and command commensurately higher fees. Talented young designers often offer lower rates, but also have less experience.  


Next Steps

Hiring an interior designer is a big decision. We are here to answer any questions you have about our services. Please feel free to email david@dhd.nyc or call 917-744-7720.

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