Choosing an interior designer has a lot to do with chemistry and communication. In fact, when you think about it, working with an interior designer who has the vision to create the perfect space for you is a bit like being in a rewarding relationship.
You need to be honest with yourself about what you want and need.
Can you hand over the project in its entirety or do you want to project manage?
Are you going to be around to make decisions or will you be abroad much of the time?
Working on an interior needs attention - either you are available for your input or you delegate in full
Give the designer an idea of your style
Create a digital scrapbook on a site like Pinterest to show the kind of interiors you love
Buy your favourite interior magazines and rip out photographs that appeal - they could be interiors, an outfit, a view or even food
Put in your dislikes too
A good designer will always be happy to talk through your ideas and include them in their moodboards
Be sure to communicate which pieces of furniture are important to you - what you want to keep and show off
Other interior design thoughts to consider
1.Who is the interior for?
A rustic family home is going to demand different furnishings from a chic pied a terre in a city.
2.Why are you changing the interior?
Is it because the space needs a facelift? Do you want to change the way the room is used? Convert an under-used dining room into a larger reception room? Create an office? Perhaps you and your partner are now empty-nesters and want to decorate accordingly? Maybe you’ve bought a new property and want to put your stamp on it?
3.What is your actual budget?
How much do you want to spend? A designer finds it much easier to work to a budget right from the start - that way they will be able to source the best materials and fabrics for the price and use them in the best way. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Of course, you can have a bit of leeway but both parties need to know what the likely final figure is going to be.
I’m pleased to say that I have had a very good working relationship with my clients and it’s largely down to communication and managing expectations - as well as flair thrown in!
4. When do you want the work to start and when do you need it finished?
A working timetable is crucial. Your designer will need to know exactly when the work can be carried out and when you expect it to be finished. In fact, this may well impact on whether the designer can do the work at all. He or she will have to employ tradespeople to do the various jobs and will need to book the best ones well in advance.
5. Where are you going to be when the work is carried out?
Are you going to stay in the house or will you live offsite? If you’re planning on being abroad during that time, are you going to be contactable? Can you Facetime your designer to talk ideas through? This is all a crucial part of communication - your designer may need to get your opinion on a final placement of a bath, a window, a door … and not being able to get in touch with you is going to delay things. In addition, items may be discontinued or go out of stock. So you need to be around to make decisions - unless you are happy to hand everything over.
6.Stick to the plan
Once you have chosen the designer, it’s important that you let them get on with the job. They’ll create moodboards for you after your initial briefing which you can modify, but once the design has been agreed on you need to stick with it. If you chop and change what has been agreed you will end up with a confusing mish-mash of ideas that won’t give the desired effect.
7. Don’t get stuck in a rut
It’s a rule in life that sometimes to achieve something new you need to go out of your comfort zone. So if your designer comes up with something quirky trust their judgement - because they will be choosing items that suit your character and style, rather than making you fit a bland format.