Designing the interior of your home should be an enjoyable experience. However, without the expertise of a professional interior designer, who understands interior spaces and how they should flow, you may find yourself overwhelmed with everything involved in the process.
I am often surprised by how many times people spend their sizable budgets on renovating their homes without first considering hiring a professional. Bringing someone in to do the job right from the start can mean avoiding having to pay for potential change orders, revisions or incorrect (permanent) installations.
Believe it or not, in the end, hiring a designer often means you would SAVE MONEY. Better yet, they provide you with a service that will ultimately increase the value of your home.
So how do you go about finding the right designer for you and your project? By doing a bit of homework and asking the right questions. This would result in having the best possible experience, allowing you to know what to expect going forward into the project.
Here are the top questions I recommend you ask an interior designer in NYC (or anywhere else, for that matter) you’re interested in.
Where can I find your online reviews?
Let’s be honest, it’s a bit outdated to request references from previous clients. Designers protect the privacy (and time) of our loyal and dedicated clients. We avoid being an imposition by asking them to speak with potential clients or asking them to give tours of their homes.
Luckily, there is a better option, online reviews! You can search online for countless feedback from past clients, partners or even vendors. Use this to your advantage when researching, don’t hesitate to do some homework. It will payoff in spades.
Can I see a portfolio of similar projects to mine?
One of the first items on your to do list when hiring a designer should be to review their portfolio. This portfolio will detail work they’ve done in the past. To take it a step further, look for projects where the design style is very close to the look you’re looking to achieve in your own home.
While most designers can design in an array of design styles. You’ll want to make sure the look you’re going for specifically is something they have plenty of experience with. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending too much time (and money) trying to get to your vision, but the designer just won’t be able to nail it exactly.
What design services do you offer?
Not all designers offer the same services. It’s important to know that the services they offer are what you are looking for. If the designer only offers full-service designs and you’re looking for an eDesign package, this is not the right fit for you. Before investing any money into any part of the design process be clear about the designer can do for you.
Here are a few examples of the services a designer might offer:
- eDesign (virtual designs)
- Full-Service Designs
- Floor plans (space planning)
- Design concepts
- Project management (purchasing, procurement, contractor oversight)
What are your interior design fees and how are they structured?
The question everyone wants an answer to! Every interior designer works differently. And it should be a top priority to know the fees (and payment schedule) of the one you plan on hiring.
Some designers charge thousands of dollars per room on top of what you’re paying for the furnishings, while others much less. They may charge on an hourly basis, a flat fee amount, the property square footage or even a “percentage fee” (which is a percentage of the overall project spend).
They key in any of these pricing structures is to know exactly what’s included in their design fees. This way, you’re able to compare all designer offerings on an apples-to-apples basis.
What is your process like?
Interior design can seem really fun and creative, and it is, but there’s actually a lot of technical work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s really important that your designer of choice has a tried and true system in place that doesn’t allow things to fall through he cracks.
Don’t hesitate to question anyone you are considering about the project management system they use or how they hold themselves accountable. In this line of work, the smallest mistake can be extremely costly and time consuming.
You want to be certain the team you hire is detail oriented and has an airtight system to avoid missing any issues.
READ MORE >>> How to Increase Home Value Using Strategic Renovations
For my team at Nufacet Interiors, I have built a lot of redundancy into the workflows to ensure we don’t miss a beat. All documents, measurements and samples go through a checks and balances system by being reviewed by multiple sets of eyes and are being cross referenced.
Paint swatches, fabric clippings and fixture samples are requested from all our vendors so we are always in the know of what is being made or ordered for you before it’s paid for and processed for shipment. Most importantly, I use two software systems called Sketchup and Home Designer Pro to draft your space and propose your designs in 3D.
This allows us to confirm every item selected for the space fits proportionally and we can place orders with full confidence that we’ve made the correct selections. All of these layers help us eliminate any potential mistakes and save our clients time and money.
How long will project take to complete?
If this is your first experience working with a designer, then it might be difficult to know how long of a timeline is typical for your project. After discussing the scope of your project with the designer, you’ll want to ensure you are aligned with their expectations.
Take into account how much work your designer is actually doing in your space. Are they just adding finishing touches? Then it probably shouldn’t take them several months. Are they overhauling an entire room from top to bottom? (Or multiple rooms/floors for that matter?) Then understand that they’ll need more time.
Bottom line: make sure you agree upon a timeline so you’re not rushing your designer, and so your designer is aware of what your expectations are.
How do you handle the purchasing of furniture and materials?
You will end up needing to order many items throughout the course of your project. From furniture to lighting to décor, there are hundreds of details and items to keep track of. Your designer of choice should have a solid method of handling all these purchases. With a poor method, items will get lost, damaged items installed or you’ll have to handle all the moving parts yourself.
When doing full-service interior design projects, at Nufacet Interiors, we act as a sole vendor. Our clients pay us directly for all items and we take full responsibility (and liability) for any items our clients’ purchase.
Everything is handled on their behalf such as order placement, tracking, storage, resolving defects, accepting large deliveries and white-glove installation. It’s the best experience for the clients not to have to deal with all the problems (and there are many) involved with the process.
READ MORE >>> Pro Tips on How to Hire a Contractor With Confidence
Can I use my own contractor?
If you’re doing any sort of remodeling on your home as well, it’s important to know if you’d be bound do using only the contractors/trades the designer works with.
This means not having the flexibility of working with a contractor you already have a relationship with. If that’s a key factor in your decision making process, you’ll want to know that before hiring this designer.
In my experience, hiring contractors and trades the designer uses, has worked with in the past or commends is the best course of action. These professionals have been vetted through many projects and have demonstrated solid stills, work ethic and reliability. You can’t go wrong with that!
Is there a wait list?
It’s possible that your designer of interest may not have the bandwidth to take on your project for a few months. It could be because of scheduling conflicts, other priorities or personal reasons. Confirm that the designer is able to start at your desired timeline or try to come to a reasonable agreement on a start date.
What I don’t like what it all looks like in the end?
Interior design can be expensive, and you don’t want to end up with a space you don’t love. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure the designer has measurements in place to prevent this from happening.
At Nufacet Interiors, we have a few methods to do just that. We do a lot of legwork at the onset of a project to thoroughly understand the clients design style (and vision), moodboards illustrating exact pieces that will be purchased and 3D renderings showing what the space will look like as a finished product.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that for the client. Clients can be confident in the end result prior to making any permanent decisions, installations or purchases.
Hiring the right Interior Designer can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can make. You will have someone to discuss ideas with, do initial purchases, coordinate deliveries and provide the support you need to design your home beautifully. Making the right decision on hiring the right one doesn’t have to be difficult and we can help you make the right one.
If you’re looking to hire an interior designer, Book a Complimentary Call with us to see how we can help.