How to Prepare to Hire an Interior Designer

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Written By BillyRichard

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An interior designer can help you to update your house or office. It could be a scary thought to you because that person could do some very expensive changes that you could end up not liking. You really wish that you could do it yourself. After all you have watched every home TV show there is and even have tried some of the tricks, but they just are not coming out as effective as you thought they would. You are a beautiful person, have a beautiful style, have class and it really seems that you should be able to get this accomplished, and done well. Meanwhile, you are throwing good money away on things that are not great! They are OK, but not great. You are actually wasting money at this point and you know it.

How do you prepare to meet with an interior designer?

We have a joke in our company, usually for husbands. It is, if you want your house cleaned up, invite an interior designer. You would not believe how fast this gets your house spruced up. When we come to interview each other, your places most of the time are pretty cleaned up. Please, please, please do not feel bad about the shape of your house, whatever shape it is in. That is why you are having a designer come, to make a change for the good and to change your lives.

Here are some things to do before interviewing your interior designer:

  • Relax and Have Fun when preparing to meet with an interior designer. They know you are having trouble with your interior and it is not the best it can look, that is why you called them in the first page. Have fun and try to stay very light hearted. Trying to design yourself can sometimes bog you down, but help is on the way to guide you gently and relieve you of the heavy burdens of choices for you new interior design.
  • Write down your design ideas for each area – Your ideas are the most important of all. Do not feel embarrassed that your ideas might not work, or they are not the best ones out there. They may not be the best ones, but what they do is give your new interior designer a direction and an idea of what you are thinking for the outcome of your design. This is very valuable information for your interior designer who is wanting to make you extremely happy so that you will recommend her of him to your friends and especially that you absolutely enjoy your new interior design.
  • If you have a set of building plans, that would be great (give copies only to the designer you hire). The building plans are the scale drawings that your new designer will use over and over again. The plans are used to do the furniture layout to scale. This is called space planning. The elevations of some windows may be used to give to the drapery workroom scale elevations of window treatments that will be made. They may be used for tile installers to show them a drawing of the tile lay out, again to scale. Usually your designer will have you sign off on these drawing as an approval from you before the actual work is provided. This is just a few of the many ways your scale drawings will be used to give plans to those providing the work, so that they can accomplish the work that you, the client, needs done.
  • Go through magazines and tear out pictures of things you like. It is very important to show your designer pictures, (a picture is worth a thousand words), of what you are thinking would be nice for each room. It is extremely hard to find exactly what you are looking for so you may find a picture that has the wall color you like. You may find another picture that has the lamp you like and a sofa you like. Make notes on each picture circling the item that you liked or an arrow to it. That way when you look at it later, there will be no question about what you were thinking when you tore that page out. These pictures are very helpful to your new interior designer.
  • Determine your favorite colors – A color scheme usually consists of 3 main colors, 2 secondary colors and a few other colors that are used as dashes of accents, etc. Your color scheme could be established from a print of a fabric that you absolutely love. It could be established from your favorite colors that you love to wear. It can be established from those magazine pictures that you have been tearing out and saving in your room files. Again save all these ideas in their own color scheme folder to help your new interior designer help you establish your color scheme for the entire house.
  • Take pictures and measurements of your existing furniture – You interior designer can do this, but if you have this ready for her or him, it is a tremendous help and saves you money by their not having to do this step. Make a picture for each piece of furniture you have and write the measurements. The standard way to write measurements is Width x Depth (front to back) x Height, in that order. Make a folder for your existing furniture. You may also want to make a note about what you are thinking about that piece of furniture.
  1. Keep this piece of furniture as is
  2. Keep and refinish or reupholster
  3. Toss, it is not worth keeping (do not toss anything without your designer seeing it, sometimes it is usable)
  • Now you are ready to call designers to come interview. Since interior designers are not licensed in most states it is important to look for designers that have schooling, affiliations to a major design organization such as the American Society of Interior Designers, and state certification. Beware that anybody can call themselves and interior designer. You may also have seen the house or office of a friend that you love and perhaps you can get the name of the designer that helped them.

Doing these things will save the designer you hire time and, more importantly, you money. If you do not have time or want to do some of this, your design company can handle everything you can not or do not want to handle.