How to Work with an Interior Designer

Make a list and organize your thoughts before meeting with a designer.

Ask for references.
Portfolios are good, but referrals are better. Ask for, and consult with, references.

Don’t be intimidated.
Ensure you’re at ease with your designer; if you’re uncomfortable, she probably is, too.

Start with a consultation.
This is a fact-finding mission for the designer — a collection of measurements, a sense of the space, a view of your style. It’s also an interview process for the client: Does the designer listen well, communicate well, offer creative ideas? The consultation fee is an investment and insurance.

During A consultation
(Amy Brothers – Pictured left)

Share your ideas.
Show magazine pages or websites. A good designer wants to understand your vision.

Have a budget.
Be upfront about money. Designers are creative, and this information allows them to know how, when and where to spend the money.

Never judge a designer by one job.
You never know how a client’s taste, style or budget affected a project. A good designer produces a finished product that exceeds the client’s expectations.

Be honest.
A designer should encourage you to stretch your boundaries, but your home should be a reflection of you. Don’t accept what you don’t want.

Good things come to those who wait.
Expect a room-sized project to take 10-12 weeks, depending on the scope of work. Drapery and furniture workrooms vary in their production schedules, and you must allow for shipping too. Timing also depends on how quickly you make decisions. – Amy Brothers, ASID

10 Reasons to Hire a Designer for Your Project

Avoid costly mistakes.
Designers have experienced it all, and keep you on the right track.
Access to a range of resources.
Designers can find furnishings and fabrics available just to the trade.
Quality contacts.
Designers know the best workrooms, contractors and artisans.

Guidance in decision-making.
Designers help make sense of the multitude of choices.

Lasting and quality style.
Designers add custom details  and create timeless environments.

Problem-solving skills.
Designers understand color, scale, light and space.

A completed project.
Designers follow through on every aspect, to your satisfaction.

Advice on setting priorities.
Designers allocate dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Arbitration with significant other.
An unbiased third party can be helpful if disagreements arise.

Advocate with manufacturers, tradespeople and showrooms.
Because they work with these resources regularly, designers have more leverage to get things repaired or replaced, and help resolve disputes in a professional manner.
– Amy Brothers, ASID

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