How to Hire an Interior Designer: Choosing an Interior Designer Yourself

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Your designer helps you see what you want; here's an example of French Regency style

Renowned logo designer David Airy has posted a popular piece on the client’s perspective when hiring a designer.  Though the issues deal with web design, they aptly describe the concerns interior design clients have about choosing a professional wisely.

Here are key issues to think through and apply when you are choosing between candidate interior designers, landscape or architecture firms.

“I don’t know what I want”

Help me see what I want.  Listen to my concerns, be they about building my business or nurturing my family or making guests welcome and comfortable.  Hear what outcome I seek.  Then share your vision.   I want a person who can help me clearly picture what I’m looking for.

This is where your portfolio and your consultation are important. I may choose you because I want something similar to work you’ve done.  I may choose you because you responded best to my need for vision during our consultation.

“I don’t know anything about design”

Still, give me the means of control.  Define the decisions I make in the process. Explain the steps and stages, and show me my control points.  If you disagree with my ideas or my input, tell me why.  But in the end, assure me that the final decision will reflect my choice.  I need confidence you’ll give me control.

This is why a contract is important. A contract protects my interests as a client in receiving work that meets my specific terms.  It protects your interests in working to a defined scope and your terms.  I want you to offer me a contract that puts our agreement in writing and explains how you and I control the project.

“I need to see value for your pricing”

Explain to me what value I get from your services. Pricing will be something I’m learning about in the process of interviewing designers.  I may not be sure yet about my budget.  Price isn’t the only measure that matters.  But I may be wary if you seem expensive and can’t clearly show why your services are better than your competitors for the outcome I seek.   Your pricing should be in line not only with your creativity, but with the practical work you take on to build, install and deliver the changes we are making.

This is where your relevance to my benefit is important. Don’t assume I’ll see your value as you prefer to present it.  Worry less about what you say, and more about what I understand.  Explain the benefits of your work in terms that are relevant to my life, values, and situation.

“I need to be able to talk to you”

Check in with me.   Follow up with me. Don’t disappear during or after work is underway.  If you go the extra mile to resolve small issues before they become big ones, I will remember your efforts to ensure success and my satisfaction.  This means I may look no further for my next design project, or when I want to recommend a designer to a friend.

We need to get along in a friendly way.  I know you are a professional and not my personal friend.  Yet I am looking for a ‘good vibe;’ some affinity between us.  If we like each other, this will emerge in the work we take on together.  If we don’t like each other, that will almost certainly cause problems. We need to be honest with ourselves about how good we feel that we are likely to get along.

You may not think like a designer, but you can make a great choice

This is where a talent matching service, like iMatchDesigners, has an important job.  It’s hard to tell in a 20 minute conversation whether any two people are going to get along during a full design project.  A seasoned referral resource can bring valuable background and perspective.  We welcome you to find inspiration or styles you like in our portfolio.  Then we invite you to tell us about yourself and your project.  You receive our personal referrals to design professionals we know well, who we believe are strong in the skills and personal traits most likely to promote your project’s success.

Limited experience in working with designers need not hamper your ability to choose wisely and choose well. You can contact iMatchDesigners for assistance in finding and choosing design talent to bring your new solution to life.

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