The best interior designers bring a fresh perspective, have a keen eye for detail and unmistakable creative style. With over two decades of experience in crafting beautiful homes and workspaces, April Hamilton is well-positioned to describe the process of securing an interior designer. In this blog, discover our proven tips on how to find the right interior designer for you.
Step 1 – Find your style
Before searching for interior designers, gather an idea of your own personal style by browsing Instagram and Pinterest. While not all design inspirations will be possible in your own space, a good designer will adapt and translate your vision artistically. Moreover, your findings will spur a great start for discussion
Ask yourself the following questions: What do I like and what don’t I like? Whilst it’s good to keep an open mind, it’s important to know what your ideal outcome is, so you can hire the right designer for the project. Many designers have a signature style or an area of expertise but they should be able to adapt to your own preferences.
Additionally, we’ve all experienced the fabulous hype of something we intend to go ahead with, only to be disappointed by the lack of service we receive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, confirm the designer you will be working with upfront. It’s important to be confident and comfortable with your chosen designer, as a project can last up to or even more than two years.
Finally, consider the size of the practise, as it’s important to strike a balance that’s right for your project. An experienced designer will have great connections to other professionals, so be sure to ask.
Step 2 – Set a budget
Once you have discovered your personal style preferences and gained an idea of project requirements, it’s time to set yourself a budget. For example, will this be a complete design overhaul or will it be a micro project?
It’s very important to set your budget from the start, as different designers work in different ways. For instance, some will charge by the hour or charge per room while others may charge a fixed fee for their services. As such, be mindful when browsing through designer profiles.
An experienced designer will work with you to create a budget, so you can get a sense of cost. Given the process, this will also require your emotional investment, so try to be relaxed and realistic about the numbers.
If you are thinking of hiring an interior designer, you are already in an elevated position and whilst value for money is always important, the right person is always worth the investment too. Your home is a direct reflection of you and your chosen lifestyle. A well-organised, artistic designer will charge accordingly to their worth.
Step 3 – Browse through design portfolios
You’ve decided on your style or design theme and have allocated a budget for the project. Now it’s time to take a look at some portfolios and create a short list of interior designers!
When looking for an interior designer, keep an open-mind during the search. Have a look at their portfolio and see what they have created. Do your style and expectations align? Could you see yourself living in one of their creations? Does their profile, passion and enthusiasm strike a chord with you?
Step 4 – Chat to potential designers
The next step is to arrange a call or meeting with the potential designers who made your short list. This is a great way to really get a sense for the designer’s personality, hear about their work and discuss your project. You will also get the opportunity to ask lots of questions. This will play a key part in the decision-making process!
Additionally, ask yourself where you want to be involved in the process, or are you happy for them to take the lead on your interior design project? Try to find out more about the designer’s background, their portfolio of work and how they manage their design projects. Just like finding a potential partner, finding the right interior designer for you should be an instinctive process that feels intuitive and natural.
Step 5 – The creative brief
Once you have decided on an interior designer, it’s time to meet and deliver a brief specification of your needs and wants. Use Instagram and Pinterest, as they are a resourceful way to visually communicate your preferences. This is an opportunity for the designer to really get a feel for your personality and style, get to know your home and ask any questions they have about the project.
Step 6 – The Proposal
Following the briefing stage, the designer will create an initial proposal for the project. Here, they will sketch or map out their ideas and explain their vision to you. It is quite rare that you will agree and be on board with every single idea that is presented to you, so try to keep an open mind and remind yourself why you have engaged this designer. Artistic people, by nature, are sensitive and will only want the best for you by interpreting the brief artistically, ergonomically and practically. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss ideas, make amendments, remove anything you are not happy with and really hone in on a shared vision.
Step 7 – Sign a contract
Prior to exchanging money and getting to work, ensure you sign a contract with your designer. This should specify responsibilities, budget, a timeline and any other important aspects. It’s critically important and provides a point of reference in the event of any hiccups down the road.
Step 8 – Make a plan
After the contract is signed, make a clear action plan with your designer. This will outline things such as your starting point and running order of areas to redesign, which pieces to keep and which to sell, donate, dispose of, and any items or materials you need to buy during the first phase. Make a solid plan and make sure that it works for both parties in terms of their current lifestyle and responsibilities.
Step 9 – Let the fun begin!
With the planning phase out of the way, it’s time to let the fun begin! If you have successfully completed steps one through eight in an honest, open-minded, collaborative and clear way, then step nine should be a piece of cake. So sit back, relax and be ready to meet the home of your dreams!
Stay connected and stay confident your designer will deliver and when you wobble as all clients do, just return to their portfolio and remember why you engaged them
In this blog, we delivered our top tips on how to find the right interior designer for you. At April Hamilton we pride ourselves on innovative design and meticulous attention to detail. Get in touch to find out how we can help bring your vision to life!