How to Work with an Interior Designer to Achieve Your Dream Home
You have scoured social media and design magazines for inspiration. You have done your due diligence interviewing interior designers. You have completed a thorough budget review and examined fee structures. Finally, having finished all the necessary homework, you found the one – the interior design professional who will help you realize your dream home.
When you choose an interior designer, you are hiring someone for more than floor plans and selecting paint colors. You are choosing someone whose sensibility complements your design style and personality. Still, welcoming a design professional into your home can cause stress. Even designers and clients with shared aesthetic preferences may hit a rough patch during the creative process.
There is the question of working style. Some clients desire a hands-on working relationship with their interior designers, staying in close contact and weighing in on every step. Others are content to sign off on the design concept and give the interior designer the run of the house for the duration of the project. Plus, when your living space is in the process of being transformed, you may just see a mess.
Whatever your approach, here are a few thoughts on how you can ensure sure that you and your interior design professional will remain on the same page from your initial meeting all the way through to the completion of your project.
Helpful Suggestions for Working with an Interior Designer
Know Your Interior Design Team
You will likely have questions throughout your project. At first, you will want to know who your main point of contact will be. At a large interior design firm, it may be a project manager who oversees a team of designers. At a smaller firm, it may be the creative director. A local designer may handle all their business’s services.
Spend time getting to know the people who will be dedicated to your project. A successful project – one that results in a stunning space – entails more than coming in under the estimated cost. It requires collaboration, communication, and a shared creative vision.
Start the Design Process on the Ground Floor
Whether you are building a new home or completing significant renovations, you should include your designer in the planning as early as possible. It is much easier to shift the placement of a doorway in floor plans than it is during construction. What’s more, your interior designer has the knowledge and skills to work with contractors and architects to resolve any possible conflicts.
Set the Budget
Your budget will inform all your design choices.
Having an honest conversation about your budget with your designer at the beginning of the design process will streamline your work together and help you avoid conflicts and miscommunication. If you’re working with a limited budget and your designer thinks the sky is the limit, you are setting yourself up for an uncomfortable situation. The same is true if you want quality at any cost and your designer watches every cent.
Two important line items to consider from the outset are furniture costs and service fees.
Your budget needs to reflect how you intend to furnish the renovated space. Will you continue to use your existing furniture? Do you want your designer to search for furniture in antique stores or with vintage vendors? Does your designer pass trade discounts for new furniture onto their clients?
Also, be sure to ask whether your design professional charges a flat fee or an hourly rate. Either way, you will want them to provide you with an estimated timeframe for completing the project.
As the client, you need to maintain realistic expectations for the magic your designer can work within a given budget. Reputable designers will be upfront about what they can accomplish and the total costs.
Show Off Some Samples
You may not be able to describe the differences between minimalist and mid-century modern, but you certainly have a sense of style.
A picture is worth a thousand words when communicating your style to a design professional, consequently, it is always useful to create a design file. You may include photos from Instagram, Pinterest, and design websites, or paint samples and fabric swatches. Anything that speaks to you will help convey your taste. Be sure to add a few “don’t” notes to your file as well, as examples of what you dislike are important when conveying your vision for your home.
Know What You Want from the Space
Be clear with your designer about how you intend to use the renovated space. Will your new living room be primarily a place to relax with family or a place to host guests and entertain? Will your new rec room be a place where children play, or will it be an adult-oriented space with a movie screen and wine storage?
How you intend to use a space will impact your designer’s selection of wall color, lighting, and furniture. Of course, you can always make changes, but if you communicate with your designer about a room’s intended use, the space will function as hoped the moment the project is completed.
Design is a creative and emotional process. You may have items in your home to which you are particularly attached. Whether discussing a painting you bought with your first paycheck or a major piece of furniture, make sure you and your designer are clear about its place in your home.
You may choose to include family members in these discussions as well. If your significant other feels strongly about incorporating a family heirloom into the new décor or has an aversion to green walls, your designer needs to know.
Think About the Future
Homes evolve as our lives change and grow. Once your youngest goes off to college, you may want to create space for a reading nook. When you retire, you may want to turn the home office you just designed into a workout room or media center.
If you have plans for your home beyond your current renovation, you should share your vision with your interior designer. Most designers will embrace the prospect of future projects with clients they have come to know.
Tell Our Interior Designers About Your Dreams for Your Home
Contact DHD at 212-477-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your vision for your property and check out previous client projects. Our talented interior designers and architects will make your dream home a reality.