If you’re thinking about hiring a designer, you might have a whole list of questions and details and ideas you want to share. But as a group, interior designers generally wish prospective clients were clear on some specifics before that first meeting. I sat down with lifelong friend Shannon Barter of the award-winning design firm in Lake Tahoe Id.3 Interior Design Group for her expert insight about what clients should know before hiring an interior designer.
Know Your Budget
The budget is the end-all, be-all, and being absolutely clear on what you can spend will put you in the very best position from the start. The biggest mistake when it comes to working with an interior designer is almost always in the budget. Obviously, prices vary dramatically based on tastes. Just to give you an idea, a ground floor budget you should plan on to furnish from-scratch a 2,000 square foot home is around $250,000. You can of course find stylists who will work hourly on your behalf if you have a good idea of what you want and just need someone to help you pull a cohesive look together.
Communicate Your Budget
The second part of knowing thy budget is being able to share that budget with your designer. If you have a budget that doesn’t fit Sub-Zero and Wolf, it doesn’t fit Sub-Zero and Wolf. In that case, you have to tell your designer that while you love the look and the quality, you just don’t have the money for it. Keep in mind, your designer is on your side! The goal isn’t to spend all of your money. Setting a realistic budget means your designer can best guide you toward a finished project that you’ll truly love.
You Don’t Have to Know Your Style, Just Be Clear About What You Don’t Like
Part of a designer’s job is to help you pinpoint your personal style, so don’t panic if you’re not really sure how to define your own aesthetic. But spend some time thinking about what you definitely don’t like. Couples in particular need to be able to communicate with each other about their shared goals and, more importantly, negotiate their priorities with each other. It’s infinitely easier to work with a couple that’s on the same page. Couples trying to “beat” their partner will end up with a home that looks as chaotic as their communication does.
Things Take Time
The supply chain is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, which means long lead times. Don’t blame your interior designer because things are taking longer–just accept that delays are pretty much inevitable and unpredictable.
Interior designers are highly detail oriented, which is why they’re so darn good at their jobs. They’re paying close attention to you as well, which is how they’re able to pick up on the intangibles and help you figure out your personal style even if you’re not sure what that is. Pinterest boards and Houzz pages are always a must, and even when they’re seemingly disparate styles, a great designer will find the common theme and guide you through it. So trust your designer to handle this part. Your most important job is to give them a realistic budget to work with. If you need a great referral, you know where to find me. I have one for almost every budget.