The key to successfully working with an interior designer for your renovation projects is to prepare, carefully manage your expectations, keep an open mind, while maintaining structured and consistent communication throughout the process. Here are some tips to show you how to prepare for your renovation with a designer.
PLAN YOUR PROJECT BEFORE YOU HIRE
Before you start looking for an interior designer to work with, you’ll want to have an idea of what you want them to do for you. First, decide what rooms and spaces that you want done. Then, decide how far you want them to go with your project.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- What rooms or spaces do I want to change for this project?
- How much of the existing space would I like to keep or am I starting with a blank slate?
- Do I want to change colours, flooring, and finishes?
- Is there any construction required for my project?
- Do I want new furniture and how involved do I want to be in the selection process?
- Am I ok with making selections based on pictures or do I want to touch and feel samples beforehand?
- Am I looking for any additional interior styling after the furniture?
It’s also crucial to decide whether you are the key decision maker for the project and if there will be anyone else involved such as your spouse or another family member.
These questions will help you decide how much to budget for on your project and how much work you’re expected to have completed with that budget. Your interior design prospects will help inform you of whether your expectations can be met with your intended budget and how the design process will work for your project.
BE CREATIVE AND GATHER YOUR INSPIRATION!
At this stage, it’s ok to be the designer for a little bit. Look through magazines, web-sites, and other examples of styles that you may want for your home. Decide the basics of what you want the space to do for you and what you may want it to look like.
There are tools like Pinterest and Houzz that you can use to collect some of your ideas and share them with your interior designer when they ask for it. Of course, this may be during the interview process or after the project gets started.
Even if your designer might have some really good ideas that are off in other directions, this will help them guide you as a starting point. This information will help tell them what you like, and what you don’t like before they even get started!
PREPARE YOUR DOCUMENTATION
Once you’ve gathered your inspiration, put together a little bit of a project binder that includes a few key things:
- Up to date house plans/drawings (if you don’t have one some interior designers can do this for you).
- Inspiration documentation
- List of questions for your interior designer prospects
NO TWO DESIGNERS ARE ALIKE
Even though there may be swaths of interior designers available to you, no two are truly alike. Some designers follow the ebbs and flows of design trends, while others have their own styles completely!
Some designers are open to suggestions from their customers while others treat each project like their own splash of art. It’s important to know how involved you want to be in the project, and how much control you would like during the decision making pro-cess for each aspect of your interior design project.
Research local designers available to you. Take a look at their portfolio and see how closely their previous work matches your expectations. When you find a few that are close, see what services they provide. Some interior designers maintain their scope of work to just the design aspects of a project, while others get more involved and handle everything from design to general contracting.
INTERVIEW MORE THAN ONE DESIGNER
Before you hire someone, interview them! Get to know who you might be working with. Some designers ask for an initial consultation fee. For a few hundred dollars, this is a wise investment. This also helps the designer determine how serious you are about your project. Typically, this fee goes towards your project but each interior designer may have their own policies.
GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON TRUST AND COMMUNICATION
Once you’ve hired an interior designer, keep an open mind and trust the process. These types of projects can be stressful because of how much disruption there will be in your home. Be sure to communicate often when you have questions or concerns. Your interior designer will thank you for it and will be able to tell what information you need to move along the process as smoothly as possible.
So, be prepared, trust the process, and discover a new world that your home can offer with the right interior designer working for you!