How to choose an interior designer: Five tips

Finding an interior designer that can make your vision come to life is like finding a partner – it’s not going to work if there’s no chemistry and you need to like the same stuff. It’s not enough to simply be into your interior designer’s style. The process is very personal and it’s important to find someone you find it easy to work with and who you feel “gets it”. Here are five tips for finding the right interior designer for you:

1. Be very honest with yourself and the designer about what you want in terms of service. Do you want soup to nuts or do you want someone to place orders for you once you have designed it yourself? There is nothing wrong with either route or the many variations in between, but you will get much better results if you start out with the same expectations.

2. Do try to work out your budget. I find many clients don’t like to reveal their budget until the estimate comes in. I think people are distrustful of telling their designer what they want to spend, but it is much easier to know from the start as the designer can then work within that guide and make sure that they use the expensive fabrics in the most economical way rather than thinking they have a budget to wall out the house in it. 

3. Let your designer guide you, don’t instruct them on the process. They know what they are doing and while what you want your house to look and feel like is very important, it is also important you let the designer manage that process.

4. Deadlines will not be met if you don’t respond to emails, estimates and invoices efficiently. Things on hold will come off hold, things in stock will come out of stock and suddenly have long lead times. August will roll around and factories will close. Suppliers and specialists will be employed elsewhere and you will suddenly find you have to wait six weeks for something that would have been almost done if you had replied to the email five weeks ago. It is amazing how fast five weeks passes with unanswered emails!

5. Go with someone you have total confidence in and whose taste you trust. The most fun you will have and the most interesting stuff you will end up with is when you are pushed in new directions that you may feel slightly uncomfortable with initially. You want to be working with someone who ultimately you have more faith in than yourself, because that weird lamp will be the thing that makes the space great and yours and not just another nicely decorated room in an estate agent’s brochure.

MORE: Need a little inspiration? Check out Rita’s interiors for Deborah Needleman and Jacob Weisberg’s home in Garrison, Upstate New York here.

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