Choosing the right interior designer for a project is key, not only in terms of their skills, creativity and style but also to ensure effective communication, a strong rapport and their ability to understand what is wanted.
With so much at stake, appointing an interior designer can be daunting, so it’s important to know what questions to ask an interior designer before hiring in order to know whether they are the right person for the job.
The first step when hiring an interior designer is to have a consultation, which is usually given gratis, depending on how long the consultation lasts. Meeting the designer in person will establish whether there is a connection, which is essential for a productive relationship.
One will also be able to get a feel for the designer based on how much they listen, ask questions and talk about the planning of the project. All of which are positive indicators of what may become a good relationship and ultimately a successful project.
All interior designers have different ways of working, which is why it’s important to choose someone that ticks all the right boxes. As well as their creativity and imagination, they need to be flexible, capable and experienced.
5 Questions To Ask An Interior Designer Before Hiring
As projects can go on for months, sometimes years, ensuring that the partnership is productive and enjoyable for all parties is paramount. One should use the initial consultation to identify whether the designer aligns with one’s needs.
With that in mind, here are some questions that can be worth askign an interior designer before hiring:
What defines your style and where do you find inspiration?
One might seek a particular designer to achieve the style they’re known for. On the other hand, one might prefer to work with a designer as a means of finding or expressing their own taste. The best designers can cater to both clientele, aligning with their client’s aspirations while working to certain design principles and bringing their own ideas.
Asking about the designer’s inspiration will get to the heart of their style, as well as gain an insight into how they navigate the creative process. One can get a glimpse of their personality and inspiration by asking questions such as:
- What are your design signatures?
- What have been your favourite projects?
- What are your favourite colours to use?”
A good designer will bring the client’s vision to life and help them consider design concepts and solutions they may not have thought of.
What’s your process?
Interior design is a very fun and creative role but there’s a lot of technical work that goes into it as well. Every designer handles project management differently, so it’s important to have a clear idea of how their process works.
Ask them what kind of project management systems they use, what types of questionnaires they work with and how they hold themselves accountable. Find out how they will communicate their vision in a way that is easy to digest and how they factor in client feedback at each stage.
The design process will often include the following steps:
- Creating a design concept
- Developing ideas into a final design
Good designers are likely to be working with multiple clients in tandem, so they should be capable of catering to each individual client and managing their time effectively.
How will you present your ideas?
One of the most important parts of working with an interior designer is seeing designs come together for the project. Being able to communicate ideas to the client is crucial. One needs to be assured that the designer will effectively demonstrate the design and any changes that need to be made to ensure that the client is comfortable before proceeding.
Ask the designer what methods they will use to present ideas, as this will likely vary for different projects and services. From floor plans to 3D visuals, mood boards and samples, this helps get a firm grasp of how the finished project will look.
Examples of drawings from the designer’s previous projects will help the client determine whether the presentation style suits them.
Have you worked on a similar project?
Make sure the prospective designer has worked with property types, styles and budgets similar to the project at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions in this regard as well as photos of their work.
One may wish to ask for testimonials of previous clients and a closer look at the designer’s portfolio. Often, past clients will have requested internet privacy, so this is the chance to see these completed projects in person.
Most interior designers will be happy to connect potential clients with past clients for the sake of a testimonial. This provides an opportunity to seek evidence that the designer had a positive impact in terms of design and that they were easy to work with, handled problems, and gave past clients what they wanted.
How much contact is there during the process?
To find the right interior designer to work with, one should be clear about the level of input they wish to have. This is important to discuss with any candidates to get a feel for how that dynamic would play out.
While some clients will have very definite ideas and want to be involved in every decision, others will want to leave the day-to-day work to the professional.
The level of contact will vary according to both the project scale and the stage of the process. Whether it’s a single room or a full house, one may wish to speak to the designer on a weekly or daily basis.
While some designers are happy to consult their clients at every step, others prefer full creative control. One should consider how they like to work and how much involvement they expect, so both parties’ expectations are set.
Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before Hiring
It’s vital to choose a designer who will accommodate their client’s needs. The questions outlined above will help deliver clarity and peace of mind from the very beginning of the process.
To summarise, one may wish to refer to this list of questions:
- Ask for the designer’s thoughts on their own style and what inspires them
- Find out how their specific process works
- See how the designer presents their ideas
- Discuss similar projects that the designer has worked on
- Identify how much client involvement the designer requires
The purpose of hiring an interior designer is to outsource the time, knowledge and skills to create a bespoke space. The six discussion points in this guide will make the most of the opportunity and lay the foundations for a good working relationship.