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How to Work with an Interior Designer

How to Work with an Interior Designer

The idea of working with an interior designer can be daunting. You could expect them to be opinionated fashionistas who take control of your project and reemerge with a finished space fit for a magazine cover, but without the feeling of 'home'. However, this is far from the case. Interior designers work to create homes tailored to fit your wants and needs, and this comes largely from communication and being a well-informed client.

What are the top 3 things a client can do to make the Interior Designers job easy?

  1. Come prepared with images and inspiration pictures of homes, rooms or ideas that they wish to convey in their space. Images can convey more than words, and in the beginning the designer must grasp the client’s wishes quickly in order to be of service.

  2. Be decisive, not vague about their needs and requirements- make lists to give to the designer.

  3. Be willing to work hard as a team in order to accomplish all the selections or specifications the builder/remodeler will need to complete his job.

What are the worst 3 things a client can do during the engagement?

  1. Not communicate

  2. Not be honest in their opinions or needs

  3. Not disclose the actual budgets- this really handicaps the designer’s ability to steer the client’s choices.

An informed and prepared client is not just one who has watched plenty of HGTV. You should have a clear idea of a realistic budget as well as a scope of services that you would like to address to your interior designer.

Planning your Interior Design Budget:

It is important to understand your needs in respect to the permanent features that will be required for the home (see consumer checklist) since this will be a large part of the design, always figure you will go over budget on unexpected items, or technology, even impulse purchases. For homeowners that are on a very tight budget, it can be beneficial to make all the significant selections for the home with a professional to guide them, prior to breaking ground. This way the budget is an actual amount rather than an allowanced amount. Clients can then adjust their purchases or needs accordingly to stay in budget.

Consumer Check List

  1. How will each room in the house function, who are the primary users? - Adults, children, are there any pets?

  2. Are there special handicaps or allergies to be considered?

  3. Does anyone in the family have special hobbies, play sports, or have a special interest that will impact design or require anything out of the ordinary (photography, hunting, sewing, crafts etc…)

  4. Tell us how you want this home to feel? Do you have a style that you would like to influence the look of this home?

  5. Do you entertain? How frequently? How do you entertain in large groups, small and intimate?

  6. Who does the cooking in the family?

  7. How does your family hang out? Together, separately, in front of the TV?

  8. Do you work out of the home, or require an office in the home? One or both

  9. Do you like your Master Bedroom downstairs or upstairs?

  10. In the Master bath do you like separate spaces or a combined area?

  11. Master Closet: Will you be sharing one closet with your spouse? Will you need an island, a packing surface, special requirements?

  12. Do you intend to have a pool, tennis courts, or any other exterior structure?

  13. Do you require quarters for guests, or any live in help?

  14. Is Technology important to you?

  15. Audio Visual- Theater, music etc…

  16. Computer networking?

  17. Lighting control systems to automate the home

  18. Central Vacuum systems?

  19. There are many specialty rooms/ areas that people like to consider when they build, some are:

  20. Butler’s pantry

  21. Silver Closet

  22. Wine rooms

  23. Billiard rooms

  24. Theatres

  25. Craft/Homework areas

  26. Safe Rooms

  27. Exercise Rooms

  28. Summer kitchens

  29. Outdoor fireplaces

  30. Water Features

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