8 Tips For Choosing The Right Interior Designer
You’re perplexed. You’ve lived in the same Old Northeast house in St. Petersburg, Florida for however many years. Your kids are gone, and now you want to reinvent the interior to fit you and your partner’s new lifestyle. You’re both stumped for ideas, so you’ve agreed to call-in an Interior Designer, but how do you go about finding the right one?
Here are a few tips on choosing an interior designer.
They will, first, help you figure out what you really want, and then you help transform your old digs into new ones…
- Go to your room. Take notes on each room you’re thinking of redesigning. Organize your thoughts as to how you want to live in that space. Gather up your files of design snippets, photos, napkin scribbles and random thoughts.
- Define your budget. Be realistic. And stick to it. Period. (Well, until you find that amazing claw-foot tub you’ve always wanted to soak in.) Then…
- Ask around. Check to see which designers your friends and family have used and what their experiences were like. Were they extremely satisfied? Was the project finished on time and within budget? Ask the Style Editor at your local city magazine or the Tampa Bay Times for a recommendation. Set up interviews, and meet with each one to see if your personalities mesh.
- Find and be a good listener. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your designer talking about some of the most minute details of your daily life, and how you use your home spaces, so you want to find someone who will listen to you and understand your particular needs. Then, it’s your turn. Have an open mind, listen to your designer’s ideas and form a creative team. If you find the right designer, it can be a really enjoyable process.
- Check their portfolio. Some designers specialize in meeting the various needs of their clients. Some have their very own style. A good designer should be able to tailor their designs to your tastes and budget (within reason). Try and visit one or more of their previous projects. Talk to the clients, and check their comfort level with the designer. Bottom line…ask yourself if your personalities mesh, and if you feel he or she can deliver what you want, if not, move on.
- Talk money in advance. Discuss your budget up front to determine whether the designer can stay within your constraints. Different designers work with clients in different ways. Some charge by the hour, some by the project. Some mark up furnishings and services, other’s simply pass on the agreed upon costs to you. Changes should be agreed upon in advance of commencing work. When are payments due, and how detailed are the billings? Get it in writing!
- When will it be done? You’ll need to know when the project will be completed. If your designer hedges on giving you an estimated completion date, run. But keep in mind that design changes, problems with subcontractors or your own time constraints can cause delays, so stay flexible, within reason.
- Who’s on first? Choose a designer that will fully manage the project and all subcontractors. Insist that he or she keeps you up-to-date on the progress, and makes corrections to anything that’s not up to snuff.
We hope these tips help in your interior of your home or room makeover. Be sure to have a new room or new look party after completion and enjoy! Enjoy!
Chris Hounchell & Associates