Interior design can help optimise a space both aesthetically and functionally. As such, the design itself is a crucial part of creating a pristine environment and the best interiors require careful consideration and expert advice.
When embarking on a project, the knowledge, skills, and experience of a professional can prove invaluable in effectively executing one’s vision for a space. Be it a single room, an entire property or a large commercial venture, finding the right interior designer can help achieve the best outcome.
An interior designer will ensure a space is aesthetically and functionally pleasing as it can be | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
From creating the optimal layout to selecting materials, colours, fittings, and lighting, an interior designer will assist in translating one’s ideas and reflecting the right character for the space. Furthermore, a designer brings essential management, budgeting, and technical expertise to a project.
Choosing the right interior designer for a project is key, not only for their creative style but also the ability to communicate effectively with them to ensure they understand what intention for the space.
How to Pick an Interior Designer
There are several considerations one should keep in mind when choosing the best interior designer for a project – knowing where to start, however, can be difficult. Let us take a close look at the key factors to consider when looking to hire an interior designer.
Find an Interior Designer
Recommendations are always a good place to start. Any friends, relatives, or colleagues that have had a particularly good experience with an interior designer will be able to provide first-hand information on how their project went and the designer’s process.
Unlike an architect, the title of interior designer is not protected, which means anyone can lay claim to it. Therefore, it’s vital to use a qualified and experienced professional to design a space.
The British Institute of Interior Designers (BIID) is the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and offers a ‘Find an Interior Designer’ service, where one can search by designer or postcode. All BIID registered designers must prove their professional development and standards once a year in order to remain accredited.
Other platforms, such as House & Garden, publish an annual list of the top 100 interior designers in the UK and gives the opportunity to browse through virtual portfolios.
Location, Location, Location
Depending on the scale and scope of the project, as well as one’s own level of involvement, you choose to work with a local interior designer, or someone based remotely.
For most projects, searching within a 20-mile radius is sensible and there is filter on the BIID search facility that makes it easy to do so. Furthermore, working with a local interior designer will make site visits and meetings a lot easier, particularly if the project is likely to run for a number of months.
It will then also be easier for the designer to function as a project manager, communicating with contractors and suppliers, thus saving time and effort. Furthermore, a local designer will have established relationships with local tradespeople and suppliers, taking the stress of finding them.
In some cases, however, interior designers can work remotely if one simply requires a set of drawings and a mood board for one or two rooms. Though it’s worth noting that the designer will be less able to check measurements and monitor the work as it’s carried out.
Style and Substance
Interior designs can vary greatly in terms of style, personality, colours and furnishings. It’s important to ensure an interior designer’s work fits the vision one has for a particular space before hiring them | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
Whilst interior designers should adapt to the style and brief set by their client, it may help to decide who to work with by looking at their portfolio of previous projects to ensure their style matches one’s own.
The spirit of their taste should run through their work, though this is also a good starting point for identifying which aspects of a project they’ve done that might lend to their inspiration.
Having a natural style affinity will make the design process smoother and the interior designer will have experience with the range of products and materials they’ve most likely used in the past – which also means they’ll know the best suppliers.
Furthermore, one should consider the scale of a designer’s previous projects, in relation to the one at hand. This will determine whether they are more familiar with working on small residential spaces, large hotels, or corporate facilities.
As with any hiring, it’s worth looking at a designer’s references to get an idea of what they’d bring to the table and one should interview at least three designers before making their choice.
Inspiration and Imagination
By looking at the range of colours, textures and designs, it’s easy to see that this space, featuring a range of Damier Footstalls, has been carefully considered and curated by a talented designer | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
While style is developed over time, a great interior designer will have an extensive imagination. It takes a particular skill to be able to envision how colours, patterns, and textures work together in a space, and combine this with their clients’ tastes.
Talented interior designers can pinpoint issues their clients may not even be aware of and create imaginative and workable solutions to fix them. Being able to visualise how the space will be used is just as key as having a good eye for colour and texture.
Practical knowledge needs to be accompanied by artistic and spatial awareness and a top interior designer can walk into a space and envisage what materials, colours, and textures will work to enhance it.
It’s vital to choose a designer who will accommodate one’s wants and needs, thus ensuring the project runs smoothly and is completed to their client’s vision.
To find the right interior designer to work with, a client should be clear about the level of input they want with a project. This is important to discuss with any potential candidates in order to get a feel for how that dynamic will work.
Some clients will have very definite ideas and want to be closely involved in every decision, while others will want to leave the day-to-day work to the professional.
Start with a consultation; meeting the designer in person will establish whether there is a connection, which is essential for a productive formal relationship. How much they listen, ask questions and talk about the planning of the project will be positive indicators of a good relationship that will likely lead to a successful project.
Finding the Right Interior Designer
This guide explores how to pick an interior designer and lays the foundations for a successful relationship between client and designer that is founded on trust, good communication, and a clear understanding of parameters.
We have highlighted some of the important considerations when choosing the best interior designer for a project, including:
- How to find a qualified interior designer
- Deciding whether a local designer is preferable
- Considering whether their style suits the project
- Finding a designer with great imagination to bring the best out of the project
- Ensuring a good rapport between client and designer
Ensuring one finds the right interior designer and building a relationship with them that’s based on clarity and preparation will pay dividends. With an experienced and knowledgeable interior designer on board, there is no limit to what can be achieved with a project.