What a wonderful and exciting time it is when you finally take the plunge and hire an interior designer. At the same time, it’s only natural that this momentous decision might bring a few butterflies in your tummy and uncertainties in your mind. You can calm any doubts by doing your homework and preparing for the first meeting with this now very important person in your life.
The professional you’ve just hired to help you bring your room (or entire home) to life also needs your help. The more information the designer has the better your chances your relationship and your project will be successful. It’s your job to compile that information into a concise, organized and easily understood collection. Don’t leave any surprises for later. Unexpected requests or requirements can cost you money and your designer time and frustration, ultimately delaying the completion of your project.
This process will surely take some time and a lot of thought, but this preparation can create a firm foundation for your interior design project. It will be worth the time and effort!
Create a home and family profile
- Who lives in your home?
- Do you have pets?
- How do you live? Formal, informal, extremely casual?
- How will you use this space?
Set project goals on paper
- What does your project consist of? Details are important.
- What do you want the designer to do? Exactly.
- What furnishings must stay in the room? Why?
Determine budget and time frame
- Be completely honest about the amount of money you can spend on this project.
- Detail whether your budget allows the project to be completed now or does it need to be done in stages over time.
- Lay out your expectations for how long this project will take.
Create a portfolio of your own
- Show your style in decor images—Online sites Houzz and Pinterest offer easy ways to collect your favorite rooms, furnishings and accessories. (You’ll need a way to connect online with your design board.) Of course you can also do it with a folder of magazine pages.
- Pick a general palette—Colors you love and those you can’t live with can also be collected online, the sky’s the limit here, with color “swatches available from tons of paint companies and color experts. As you go forward just remember to keep an open mind as your designer can offer you new ways to look at color.
Learn about you designer
- Check out his/her online portfolio.
- Read the firm’s website “about us” page.
- Explore other pages on the designer’s website that explain their design philosophy and how they work with clients.
- Browse the designer’s blog—it’s a great way to get to know their approach to life and design.
Prepare questions for the designer
- What is your process?
- Are my expectations realistic?
- What do you expect of me?
- How much will I be involved directly?
Once prepared, you’ll be able to enjoy meeting with your new interior designer for the first time. Relax, you’re not committing to a life-long relationship, just taking the first step in forming a collaboration that can lead to the realization of your interior design dream—a beautiful, comfortable and functional space. We wish you success!
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) offers a prospective client checklist (PDF download) to help you prepare for your first meeting with your new interior designer. Download it here.