How To Work With An Interior Designer


Considering the services of an interior designer in your project is one of the best decisions you could ever make; at least if you want to achieve the best within the shortest time possible. However, while the whole experience is incredible, it can also be frustrating if you haven't worked with one before. It gets even tougher if you don't set your expectation right from the word go. Therefore, if you're a first-timer and already feeling intimidated by the thought of working with an interior designer, this article is for you.


We have taken the time to compile all the necessary information on getting the best out of your work relationship. But how? Read on to find out more!


Don't Rush It

Just like all humans, every interior designer is different. It doesn't matter whether they attended the same school or not. Remember, just like everyone else, they also have their own ways of doing things. Therefore, it's best to ensure from the start that you are on the same page with your interior designer. To make this happen, have a couple of them in mind and take time interviewing them until you land on your perfect match. This way, you get to learn their business practices as well as their preferred mode of processing stuff. It might seem like a lot of work, but you will appreciate the effort.


While at it, don't forget to inquire about the samples of their previous work. Also, this is the perfect time to let the designer know a little bit more about your likes and dislikes. If possible, carry some few inspiring photos of your most admired pieces of interior design so that they get to understand you better. This is to ensure that at the end of that one meeting, both of you should have a clear idea as to whether you can work together or not.


The Chemistry

Whatever your gut feeling is after your first encounter with a designer, you can go with it. The designer might have a very impressive portfolio, and years of experience under their belt, but that doesn't mean both of you have the right chemistry to work together. There are a variety of reasons why you might not be comfortable with the designer and you cannot simply ignore that nagging feeling hoping it will go away. It usually doesn't. If you are not impressed with the first impression, don't force it. Just move on to another choice.


So it is important to have a few initial choices from the get go so you will start work with someone you are comfortable with. It happens too often that people fire their interior designer, even in the middle of a project, and this will just add more hardship to the job at hand, not to mention a potential abundance of costs. You don't want to wind up in a mess like that so think smart before you hire.


Also remember that interior designers can also fire you. Some of them walk out on clients who just seem too unbearable to them. It could happen that you are comfortable in the initial meeting, but the designer isn't. If they refuse to take on your work, then let it be.



From the Start

The earlier you get the designer involved the better. Whether you are renovating or designing from scratch, the earlier you work together the easier the process will be. It is important to realize that design on paper is one thing and the actual implementation is another. This is particularly crucial when dealing with the layout of the house, as in the doorways, columns or ceilings. If you don't do that, you might have to make alterations later on and that will just add more costs.


Another point to be set from the start is that even if there is only one family member actually taking charge of the process with the designer, it is still important for other family members to voice their opinion early on to both that person and the designer. Family conflicts can often arise when one person wants to do away with certain aspects of the house or furniture, and another person wants to keep them. As long as it is not your house alone, all opinions and suggestions should be considered and valued till everyone can at least agree generally on most things or meet halfway. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice an idea for the sake of someone else living in the house with you.


Separate Roles

Anyone working on the house, including you, needs to know what their role is. While the house owner might have a knack for colors, selections, or placement of objects, these talents or skills are not the only factors involved in interior design. Those kinds of skills are under home décor, which is a subdomain of interior design. Home décor only executes the process of interior design. Interior designing involves other skills such as technical drawing, space design, and being familiar with interior design tools.


This means there is a distinct difference between who the boss is and who the professional is. You might have a great idea, but the designer, for one reason or another, knows that the idea will not be doable; many times for technical reasons that you might not be aware of or even know about. Keep in mind that many interior designers may also be architects, so this gives them a much deeper knowledge about how things need to be designed and what works and what doesn't. This is not to say to stay clear from the designer and let them do their own thing. This is only to say their professional knowledge will be deeper and stronger than yours.


Know Their Billing

Like any other profession, billing in the interior design sector isn't standard. Yes, there might exist a set range in the industry, but it entirely depends on an individual designer to set their rates. This is because most of them prefer setting up their own businesses. However, they can either include the cost of materials or not. Therefore, ensure you know what it includes. You don't want to pump into unnecessary charges later on, now do you?


A professional designer should effortlessly provide you with the correct budget breakdown from the onset. That way, you will know which amount of money goes where and vice versa. Therefore, if by any chance you find a designer who is reluctant to the idea of providing you with a budget, then you might as well source out someone else to avoid future conflicts. Some people are simply difficult to work with, don't put yourself at the crossroads.


Make Communication A Priority

If you haven't learned yet, then it's time you realize that communication and open communication for that matter is key to every successful project. So make your communication expectations known by your preferred interior designer from the start. By all means, make it clear of your availability across the clock. That way, it would be easy for them to reach out to you throughout the project timeline.


Remember, no matter how unsure you feel about yourself as a new client, you still remain the boss. Therefore, your designer should work to completely satisfy your expectations. You need to be extremely satisfied with the end results. Don't compromise on that. Besides, just like everyone else, a productive designer loves working with decisive clients as the opinions help them go about their tasks smoothly and within the shortest time possible.


So don't wait until the last minute to request changes, the earlier you do it, the better it will be for both of you. It's even critical if you're planning to make purchases, for it's easy to change the list of items on the list than wasting resources between product exchanges. According to Claire Davies Interiors Limited, one of the best interior designers in Manchester, great interior design doesn't happen by chance. It's a summary of careful planning, communication, and exploration. Don't settle for less.


Decide the Preferred Mode of Communication

On a smaller note, decide what mode of communication you will be using when you are not face to face with the designer. Sometimes, sudden decisions have to be made, or a sudden idea comes to mind either from you or the designer. Some people only like communicating with email, some dread email and would rather use any phone app. Tell the designer which is your preferred mode of communication so they can always reach you and you can always reach them. If it is one of your pet peeves that people don't answer back quickly enough to you, explain that to your designer. These might seem like small, irrelevant things now, but once you actually start working on your project, you will realize just how important they are. 


Keep an Open Mind

The chances are very slim that you will love every idea a designer comes up with. After all, designing is a very personal matter and everyone has their own taste. Often times a designer will recommend something that, to you, seems totally off. So off, in fact, that you cannot even imagine how this is going to suit or fit a particular room you might be working on. Or maybe they want to take away your comfort zone, which would seem like a total nightmare to you. You don't have to say no or yes right away. Let the idea sink in first and if you have to sleep on it, then so be it. Many design ideas will not be appealing to you at the beginning, but when you keep an open mind about it and let the designer explain their reasoning and vision of an idea, you actually might begin to love the idea as much as them.


Any designer would love that you trust them. Second guessing them on their every decision will not work for either of you. So try to build up confidence and trust between the both of you. You can keep your comfort zone and the designer can keep the vision.


Be Realistic With Your Expectations

While it's absolutely okay to lay your expectations on the table, it's also essential that you remain as realistic as possible. When you go to meet your interior designer, don't carry with you the expectations of what you watched on your favorite interior designer show. Remember, some of them are merely an exaggeration of reality. So your designer might not be able to work with the same tight deadlines and thin budgets. Most of it is all for show.


Keep in mind that if you want your large amount of work to be completed within the shortest time possible as reflected on TV, then you will have to hire extra labor, which will be quite costly. There is so much behind the scenes work going around on those TV shows to make those short deadlines possible. So the best way to handle yourself is to keep it real and let your designer direct you on what they can/cannot offer. If they say they cannot deliver within a given time, trust them, they know themselves and their team better. Pressurizing them will only result in a strained relationship between you two, which could lead to under-delivery.



Choosing to hand over your project to a professional interior designer adds more value to it than without. But as much as this seems a great idea, there are a few things you have to keep in mind to attain the perfect working relationship. For instance, you first have to undergo the slow but rewarding selection process, then weigh the billing options, have realistic expectations and most importantly, keep the communication channels open. Remember, what has worked for others might not necessarily work for you, so remain open-minded and exercise flexibility. You should, however ensure that you're pleased with the end results. Your investment shouldn't be taken for granted.