Five key questions to ask your interior designer

15th October 2019
15th October 2019 Charmaine White

Attempting something for the first time can be overwhelming and hiring an Interior Designer is no exception. Will your visions will align?  Are they qualified professionals? How long will the project take to complete? And most importantly; what is billable? 

Identifying what a client and Interior Designer partnership is going to look like should always be considered at the very beginning. Most Interior Design studios will earmark a certain amount of consultation time without charges before design fees commence.

Interior Designers are experienced professionals who have met with a variety clients and so of course will have their own pre-prepared questions as without detailed thought before an initial consultation clients could feel ‘put on the spot’ and have inaccurate or unrealistic expectations. 

I’ve put together five key questions to ask any Interior Designer as well as five important questions to ask yourself – for clarity and peace of mind from the very beginning of the process!

1. HOW DO I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE? 

There is a difference between hiring an Interior Designer to that of an Interior Decorator – Interior Designers are technically skilled, experienced and formally trained in executing bespoke structural visions.   All good Interior Design practices will be able to demonstrate skill, knowledge and experience through a portfolio of work. 

If you are presented anything that you don’t understand, technical drawings for example, ask the designer to explain these to you – this will provide you with an even better understanding of both the designers technical knowledge and experience. 

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
2. DO YOU HAVE A PREDEFINED DESIGN STYLE OR ARE YOU ABLE TO DESIGN BASED ON MY AESTHETIC ASPIRATIONS?

Some clients seek a particular Interior Designers services as way of achieving a particular predefined style – which in most cases the designer is well known for, whilst others prefer to work with a designer as a means to finding their own unique aesthetic.  

A reputable designer will be able offer both, catering to the individual client their own vision through various principles. At The White House we consider many factors when designing a space; with an emphasis on textiles, colour, function & ambience, we’ve developed a reputation for capturing the nuances of our clients needs and aspirations.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
3. ARE YOU ABLE TO WORK TO MY BUDGET, WHICH IS… 

It is extremely important to approach design budgets with a realistic and transparent approach. Experienced designers are able to design spaces which meet budget requirements and will provide honest feedback from the beginning if a budget doesn’t align with the clients aspirations. 

An Interior Designer won’t be able to provide an exact figure for the project as a whole from the very beginning as it takes time to develop a design and to identify the specific associated costs. They will however be able to explain what is billable such as design fees, admin and project management as well as how they invoice and purchasing procedures.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
4. HOW DOES YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN PROCESS WORK? 

Every interior design studio will have their own processes and structure and will be able to explain this in advance, clearly and concisely. Interior design is a process and takes time, anyone promising short time scales for deliveries should be approached with caution – it’s likely that the work produced will not be thorough. 

Good designers will be working with multiple clients in tandem and producing works catered to each individual client, managed effectively with specific studio time allocated to each client.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
5. HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT IS REQUIRED FROM ME? 

The purpose of paying for an Interior Designer is to outsource the time, knowledge and skills required to create a truly tailored, beautiful and functional space so make the most of the opportunity. 

Your Interior Designer should be happy to do everything possible for you, whilst encouraging any feedback and thoughts at key stages during the design process – to ensure their vision aligns with the project brief. As a client it is important to make time for meetings with your designer and to eliminate any distractions so that honest and thoughtful feedback can be used to progress designs in a timely manner.

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Charmaine White

Charmaine White

Guest Columnist & Founder of The White House. Award-winning Interior Designer Charmaine White has an illustrious background in interior design