Almost everyone can use some help with the interior design of their home at some point in their lives, but should you hire a professional interior designer -and which one – and how much should you be prepared to invest?
If you’ve decided that the answer is YES, already, to hiring an interior designer, here are 3 main points to consider with respect to -> How To Hire An Interior Designer.
Point 1 To Consider:
WHAT TYPE OF PERSONALITY ARE YOU?
Knowing your personality type and that of your husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend and/or any other decision makers involved is the first step to having a happy outcome when you hire a professional interior designer to assist you. It will also help you and your designer determine which type of fee structure will best suit your financial needs, while still enabling your designer to make a profit, since different designers charge differently, based on their experience and the type of client they have.
There are 2 main client personality types in most interior design jobs: I call them the: DIY/Collaborator Client or NoTimeAvailable/PleaseDoItAll Client.
Of course, there are many subtle variations on these, but, in general, you may see yourself in one of these two types of client types, and the more honest you are with the designers you’re interviewing about which type you are and your expectations, the happier the process and the outcome will be for both of you!
ARE YOU THE “DIY COLLABORATOR” CLIENT TYPE?
Some of you reading this, as the potential client, may need to be/enjoy being/want to be involved in all the design decisions, small and large, and will want to send your designer lots and lots of pictures of things you’ve found that you love. You’re thrilled to begin designing your home, or perhaps just a room in it, and may want to do some things yourself, and just need a designer to help you figure a few things out.
If this is your personality type, and you’re looking for a designer to be your collaborator, you will want to share that you have this expectation and desire ahead of time in the interview process so that you have fun, wonderful experience with your designer and an outcome that everyone in your family is happy with when the process is finished.
ARE YOU THE “NO TIME AVAILABLE/PLEASEDOITALL” CLIENT TYPE?
Some of you, as the potential client, may recognize that all the decision making that goes into a beautiful home can be overwhelming, time-wise, for you and you simply don’t have the time available in your day to be involved in it. You want to be able to turn most of it, if not all of it, to a designer that you believe deeply understands your needs and that can be trusted to coordinate every aspect of your job for you and to take care of the myriads of problems that come up on any job site, without bothering you with all the details.
If this is you, you will want to hire a designer, not only with the discernment, experience and knowledge to guide you appropriately, but with deep experience in project management, too, to insure a successful and beautiful outcome for your home.
POINT 2 To Consider:
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS IS A TWO WAY STREET
Knowing your personality and the personality of the decision makers involved and then discussing this up front during the designer interview process is the #1 predictor of whether you and your interior designer will be compatible and a match for each other, or not.
However, the interview process is also a two way street and it’s important to consider this. Why?
Some interior designers love working collaboratively and thrive when the client is involved and other designers will know that they do their best work with clients who trust them completely and are hands off.
A considerate interior designer will kindly turn down the opportunity to work with you if they sense you’re not a match for their personality type.
So, if your favorite interior designer, based on their work and initial phone consultation or meeting, politely but firmly says they don’t think you’re a match, consider yourself fortunate to have met a true professional who is trying to save both of you from having an unhappy working relationship.
Point 3 To Consider:
YOUR INVESTMENT IN INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICES
Based on knowing what type of client you will be, and what your needs will be, you will then want to consider the type of investment you’re prepared to make in interior design services. The successful outcome of your working relationship with your interior designer will come in large part in having an open, honest conversation about how much you are able to and willing to invest in their interior design services ahead of time.
As many of you know, interior designers charge in varying ways for their services.
Professional interior designers are similar to any other professionals you may choose to work with, whether that’s a doctor or lawyer or entrepreneur. They each bring to the table various levels of experience and expertise. For instance, a general dentist does not charge as much as an oral surgeon. What’s the difference? Training, experience, contacts, access, niche expertise.
And, all professional interior designers, just like all professional doctors or lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. will, as all businesspeople do, always need to make a profit on their services to you.
However, interior design is very different from these other professional services in one important way. It is a process that is extremely intimate and personal, and that, in general, occurs over a period of many months and, in some cases, years. Because of this, the scope of work can change over time, as your needs may change – a marriage, a divorce, a child moving back home, a move, a promotion.
You can expect that if your interior designer knows you want them to be your collaborator, and you want to be involved in all the decisions, that they will then bill you for their creative concept and a price per hour for the time involved in collaborating with you, reviewing what you send to them, phone conversations and visits, shopping together, providing renderings and elevations, managing your project and all the subcontractors, + a separate fee for managing the procurement process [ even if you buy the products, i.e, furniture, accessories and art yourself ], and managing the installation, delivery and customer service aspects.
If, on the other hand, you are the type of client that prefers to be hands off, you may find that your interior designer will bill you at a flat rate based on the square footage of the rooms they are designing for you + some percentage of the cost of the furniture, art and accessories that they will be purchasing for you. Once the creative and build out and purchase stage is completed, they may then revert back to an hourly rate for overseeing the job site, project management, installation and delivery processes.
This latter way of billing is normal for many experienced designers.
Pricing for design services has many other variabilities inherent in it, and an experienced, honest professional interior designer will make sure to discuss these with you before having you sign their contract.
Be aware if you’re the client: if someone, online or offline, seems to be pricing their services way below what someone else is pricing them for, there is usually a reason, and it is: inexperience. If you work with an inexperienced designer who doesn’t know how to price their services, and you seem to get a lower price, be aware that this designer will realize in the middle of the job that they are not making a profit, and will either ask you for more money or will sometimes simply need to abandon your job.
Working with an experienced professional up front is the best way to make sure there are no problems in the middle of your job.
Experienced designers, in their contracts, will also include provisions for time overruns, and scope of service additions.
An experienced interior designer will also be able to tell you, within a very close range, how much your investment in their services will be, assuming no changes, and how much you will need to invest in the construction and procurement of the items for your home, depending on what you determine is important to you from a quality and workmanship standpoint.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
Just as in medicine or law, you want to have the best you can afford when you are building or remodeling your home or commercial office space.
The best designers are like *surgeons for your home* – they explore and discover the inner workings of what is most important to each of your family members and to you and then they dissect the space, use their creativity to envision new ways to make it function better than it ever did before, and then proceed to build and procure everything you need to make it absolutely perfect for YOU.
I want to end today’s post with a beautiful example of why working a true professsional interior designer is such a good investment. Imagine the dollar value Alexa has added to her family’s home when it’s time for them to sell it.
Hadley Court readers, enjoy New York City designer Alexa Hampton’s before and afters, shown in Architectural Digest this month.
This is why you #HireADesigner.
Living Room – Before
Living Room – After
Master Bedroom – Before
Master Bedroom – After
Alexa’s new collection for Hickory Chair will be available at High Point Market and I know Hadley Court founder, Midland, Texas interior designer and 2015 #hpmkt StyleSpotter, Leslie Hendrix Wood, is looking forward to seeing it, as much as we all are. There’s a reason to work with the best. It results in perfection, like the above pictures of Alexa’s own home show you.
Leslie Hendrix Wood, Founder
Leslie Hendrix Wood Interiors
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.
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