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How Do I Select the Right Interior Designer For My Project?

Jun 9, 2008
Begin your selection process by understanding what an interior designer can do for you and what skills and experience they should have. Many people believe an interior designer simply chooses paint, furniture and accessories but you know they do so much more. Interior designers provide a long list of services including:

ˇ Using software to create and manage design projects.
ˇ Space planning.
ˇ Negotiating prices on furniture, fixtures and accessories.
ˇ Create drawings that include all the technical and design elements of the project.
ˇ Reading blueprints.
ˇ Hiring contractors.
. Keeping the project on time and on budget.
ˇ Researching health and safety codes, permit requirements and building codes.
ˇ Creating contracts and reviewing contracts of other service professionals on the project.

Once you have decided to use an interior designer on your design project you will want to hire someone who is qualified, who shares your vision and who communicates clearly with you.

Begin the selection process by defining the geographic location, budget, scope and time frame for project completion. You will want to use this information when researching and interviewing potential designers to make sure they are a good fit for your project and your location.

Review the websites of your pool of interior designers. Call the candidates who particularly interest you and ask questions and take notes. Some general questions you should ask:

ˇ How long have they been in business?
ˇ Do they work alone or as a team?
ˇ Do they have a field of specialty?
ˇ Can they give you a client list?
ˇ What is their fee structure and contract requirements?
ˇ What supplier partnerships do they have?
ˇ How skilled are they at negotiating pricing for services and projects?
ˇ Do they have case studies and a portfolio?
ˇ What experience do they have with local building codes and the permit process?
ˇ Do they do handle commercial, residential or both?
ˇ Have they worked on a project similar to yours before?
ˇ How do they handle refunds for furniture and accessories that are not used?
ˇ Can they provide at least three references?

Set-up an appointment with those who received good references and take your notes, sketches and design ideas with you. Pay careful attention to the communication style and personality of the designer. Discuss budget and fees, scheduling, deposits, contracts and other policies. If possible, view other projects that the designer has completed. After you have completed this process review all the information you have gathered and you should find it easy to pick a designer or firm for your project and you can begin to look forward to your design ideas becoming reality.

Don't only look at designers that have done projects exactly like the one you are looking to do. You want a designer that can create personalized spaces that represent your lifestyle vs. a replica of something they have done before.

2008, Style for Life Interiors. Copying of Contents, in its entirety is permitted provided that author by-lines are kept intact and unchanged. Hyperlinks and/or URLs provided by author must remain active.
About the Author
With more than two decades of design experience, designer Paul Andrew's style and intuition has matured and helped to build Style for Life Interiors into a full service interior design firm that offers home staging, art acquisition, shopping trips, renovations, and new construction consulting. Under the guidance of Paul, Style for Life Interiors has performed more than 100 transformations for its residential and commercial clients. Having decorated homes in the suburbs of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, Paul especially enjoys creating townhome spaces that give owners the opportunity to be engulfed in special spaces that are uniquely their own. Paul can be reached at pandrew@styleforlifeinteriors.com
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