The Do’s and Don’ts of Working with an Interior Designer

There’s no better feeling than walking into a room that’s just right. We’re not only talking about looks, but a room that sits pretty, whilst simultaneously expertly fulfilling its designated purpose. This is because a space might look visually appealing, but at its core, it’s the functionality that outlives the aesthetic charm and withstands the test of time.

You can achieve this with an expert eye for design, as well as a knack for smart planning. Most people have one or the other down pat. Not many have both. Enter: an interior designer. They can step in and use their extensive experience and ability to blend these skills to turn any drab space into a gorgeous and practical one.

Hiring an interior designer puts you one step closer towards crafting the room, flat, or house of your dreams, that not only looks good on paper but functions exactly the way you want it to.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some Do’s and Don'ts of working with an interior designer to ensure the process runs smoothly for both parties.

DO Ask for References and a Portfolio

It’s important to identify what kind of job you need doing. If it’s a simple fix, anyone with design savvy can help. However, not everyone who has an eye for design is an interior designer. You may like someone’s Pinterest board, but be prepared to tell the difference between a hobby interior decorator with good design ideas and a full-fledged interior designer – this requires formal schooling, experience, practical knowledge, and oftentimes connections to people within the industry.

One sign of a good interior designer is their well-connectedness. Expect them to know a variety of furniture vendors, contractors, electricians, plumbers, textile and flooring specialists, and the list goes on. These contacts should span a variety of budget levels as well, so you can find the perfect elements for your home, sometimes even at a discounted price.

DO Have a Clear Idea of the Functionality Needs of your Home

Every room in a home serves a different purpose. Some rooms can even serve multiple purposes, such as a combined living and dining area, or a children’s playroom separated into space to play and space to read. Keep in mind what the purpose of the rooms in your home are, and communicate this to your interior designer. They can then craft a design plan that incorporates visual appeal but also caters to your individual functionality needs.

DON’T Expect the Designer to Know Who You Are as a Person

You might have a whole list of ideas for what you want in your home. Your designer, however, will not be able to read your mind. Your choices in furniture and accessories may be affected by your personality and life-experiences that your designer may never have had, or be able to understand. So help them by filling in the blanks.

Tell them about your personality, and the things that you love: whether you are active around the house, love nature, are highly organised, or prefer a chic minimalist approach to life. Provide them with pictures to make sure that you are all on the same page.

DON’T Shy Away from Giving Feedback at the Initial Stage

Picture this. You’ve just had a chat with an interior designer, who carefully considers what you told them and draws up a mock-up. This is presented to you in the way of a 3D-model, and you’re put on the spot and asked for your input. This will be one of the very first things they will do, so it is best to tell them what you like and dislike at this initial stage.

Remember, an interior designer’s priority is to create something that you are happy with. If you placate them or try to be polite, it may be much more difficult to change things down the line. Good communication early on may save you money later on – trying to rectify any earlier fundamental miscommunication errors. Or worse, you could be stuck with a house that feels alien to you, due to having contributed little input in the first place.

DO Listen to the Designer’s Professional Advice

You might have an incredible idea for what you want your living room to look like. Your designer will listen and give you their advice on what will and won’t work. The important thing is not to take their words personally, and to rely on their professional opinion. Your designer may be thinking of retaining both the style and functionality of your home, and will speak out if either is compromised on.

At the end of the day, you choose to hire an interior designer for their expertise. This could be their ability to create a room that both looks good and functions well, or their extensive knowledge of different paint, flooring, and material types. They can even help with different furniture available within your budget, that will last you the longest whilst also adding to the overall aesthetic of your home.

DO Keep an Open Mind

A good interior designer will know how to blend their client’s countless ideas with what looks good in their homes, but also works on a practical level. So despite wanting things to look exactly the way you envisioned in your head, it’s wise to keep an open mind when approached with a different idea.

Yes, your home should be the place you love and feel most comfortable. That being said, you may be surprised by the amazing things a designer can do for you. And it’s often things that you may have never even thought of, but end up discovering you love.

DO Communicate Your Budgetary Expectations

Part of the experience of an interior designer comes from working with clients at different budget levels. Ergo, it’s safe to say that they have knowledge about what looks good and is still practical across a wide range of budgets. Nevertheless, it’s important to inform them of your realistic budget at the earliest. This then factors into the work they can do. It might affect the planning of building materials or the cost of the furniture they offer to show you.

DON’T Expect Your Designer to be a Miracle Worker

Even your designer has limitations. They can only do their best within their space and budgetary parameters. You might envision a total remodel of your flooring, but if you don’t have the budget for a high-end upgrade, it may be time to compromise. Your designer will be unable to deliver that upgrade within their means, so expecting them to move mountains might instead require another course of action.

DO Stay Engaged Throughout the Process

The end goal of an interior designer is crafting a home that their client can love and feel comfortable in. But they can’t do that without your input.

This requires you to stay engaged during the process – no matter how long it may be. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to finish a project, and allot a realistic amount of time to remodelling. Make sure to ask your designer for their schedule and stay in touch. That doesn’t mean calling three times a day, though!

Hopefully, with your interior designer and these tips, together you can put together your dream home with much less fuss. Finding the right interior designer can really change the entire feel of your revamped space. It can also ensure your changes last and make you happy in the long run. An interior designer can save you the time, money, and hassle you would have to go through if you were to go it alone.

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