If there’s one thing interior design shows love, it’s drama. And while I’m all for it when it comes to bold wallpaper or stunning largescale artwork, drama has no place in a relationship with your interior designer.
After nearly two decades in the design industry, I have numerous clients who seek my expertise repeatedly, from selecting new homes to starting new projects. One couple even called me from the linen department to get my thoughts on new bath towels, long after their project was complete.
This level of trust comes from delivering great design results, for sure. But I also know that exceptional design solutions are made possible by rock-solid designer-client relationships.
Every designer is different, but there are some universal dos and don’ts to ensure a positive experience with your interior designer.
Hire us first!
It might seem counterintuitive, but here’s the thing: an expert interior designer is the CEO of a home remodel or renovation. Our job isn’t limited to selecting finishes and furnishings. In reality, the creative process only makes up about 20% of what we do. We envision the entire project and oversee its execution, start to finish. This includes:
- Developing an overall concept and design plan
- Gathering on-site details with contractors and tradespeople
- Establishing a full-project budget and timeline
- Communicating with subcontractors and managing schedules
- Sourcing materials and furnishings
- Tracking deliverables
- Resolving issues with vendors
- Coordinating installations
- Providing detailed care instructions and product information
Hired mid-project, we’re unable to do our job well, in the right order. This often causes delays and inconsistencies with your renovation.
As designers, we bridge the gap between form and function. A contractor focuses on the nuts and bolts (literally), but we think big-picture. We envision and create an environment that allows you to flourish because it’s tailor-made for you and the way you live your life. This is much more difficult to achieve if we’re brought in at the eleventh hour after the layout and structures have already been set.
Bonus: hiring an interior designer upfront can actually save you money in the long run. We meticulously plan and source at the onset, avoiding common budget-blowing mistakes nearly every homeowner makes on their own.
Be Realistic About Budget
Real talk: your budget can’t be a number pulled from thin air.
At my initial discovery call, I always ask the client what they envision investing in their project. This doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where the project will end up. It does, however, give me a good idea of the expectations for the project, and provides a great starting point for our conversations and conceptualization.
The actual number is based on a myriad of factors, including:
- Size and scope of the project
- Expectations of quality and functionality
- List of wants and needs
Once I’ve got all the necessary info, I’m able to develop comprehensive design plans for your project — from overall vision and renderings to specific furnishings and fixtures. From here, we can strategically edit and tweak the plan to arrive at a budget you’re comfortable with and achieve an end result you’ll love.
Communication is Key
As with any relationship, open and honest communication is crucial. Designers are intuitive and creative, absolutely, but we’re not mind readers! It’s our job to design and execute the perfect space for you. So, let us know your goals and design preferences up front.
This is true for big-picture ideas and small details. Having second thoughts about the color scheme? Don’t wait until the painters show up to voice your concerns. Wool sweaters make you itchy? Important to know before ordering a custom sofa with 100% Merino wool upholstery.
This goes both ways. Your designer should keep you up to date on your project and how things are progressing. Take the time to find and hire the right designer to ensure your communication styles and expectations are a good fit.
Trust the process
Once you’ve done your research and found a great interior designer, you gain the peace of mind that comes from partnering with a pro. So trust us to lead you through the process.
Follow your instincts and be decisive when it comes to materials selection and design decisions. But also, let your designer be your guide. Be open to new ideas and creative solutions you might not have considered.
Lastly, if you’ve agreed to purchase items through your interior designer, don’t shop around online or try to get bargain deals outside the scope of your agreement. This shows a lack of respect and trust and undermines the client and designer relationship.
Let Us Be Your Advocate
Your interior designer is your biggest advocate throughout the entire home-build process. We’re experts at navigating projects start to finish. I’ve even gone house hunting with clients, helping to spot the potential — and pitfalls — of each property.
We’re also expert advocates for our clients throughout the process because we’ve seen it all before. From holding contractors accountable to resolving issues with damaged deliveries, we’ll go to bat for you and make it right.
When you can enlist an expert to tackle tough conversations and save you the headache, you’ll agree it’s more than worth the investment.
Reap the benefits of an awesome designer relationship
A trusted interior designer makes all the difference during a home remodel, and cultivating a healthy, drama-free relationship is well worth the effort. At the end of the day, we not only deliver show-stopping results, but we give you back your time and energy, so you can focus on what’s important to you.
Curious about the design process? Check out a detailed step-by-step overview, from initial consult to final walkthrough, here.
Until next time,
P.S. If you missed it, last week I shared my best tips to find the perfect designer for your project! Check it out here.