When selecting an interior designer the most common route is to base the decision on their portfolio of work and whether or not it inspires you and speaks to your personal tastes. Although perhaps the primary consideration, there are other less obvious, but important, things to think about when making your choice:
Are you compatible?
I often say that the relationship between an interior designer and client is like a marriage. You are inviting us into your home. It’s a very personal experience, and can have its ups and downs as we navigate the challenges thrown up by any design project. If we are simpatico, aesthetically and also in personality, the marriage is more likely to be successful. Consider whether you think you will get along. Does the designer understand your vision? How easy will it be to communicate, not just when things are going well, but also if problems or issues arise, even though they may have nothing to do with you or the interior designer?
What do their suppliers and contractors think of them?
Client testimonials are definitely important, but another way to assess how well your project will go is to look at supplier and contractor testimonials too. Good relationships between the designer and supporting professionals will get you better outcomes, whether it’s sourcing unique items, getting things delivered urgently, ensuring smooth installations, dealing with issues, or just making the whole process less stressful.
How much do you want to be involved?
Do you want to be hands off, just providing approvals as needed, or do you like to be involved in every detail? Does your prospective designer’s way of working suit this? Will they welcome your input (or lack of), or will it cause tension in the relationship? Understanding both your expectations up front will save you from potential misunderstandings and disappointment down the line.
What do you expect to spend?
This can be the elephant in the room that no-one wants to acknowledge. A good interior designer will want to give you your ideal home, whilst also being true to their own standards. However it can be difficult to ascertain what is and isn’t reasonable without an honest discussion about what you want to spend. Making sure your designer can work within your desired budget means you’ll both know what to expect.
All these things can make the difference between a smooth and successful project and one wrought with stress and strife. I aim for my client’s experience to be a delight from start to finish. A selection process that takes all these things into consideration can go a long way to making that happen.