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When approached by a potential new client, there are a number of questions I ask to better understand what the specific project requirements are, and also if we would be a good fit. In most cases, people have never worked with a designer and are not sure what the process involves. Generally, before you contact a designer you should know a few things to help the process and to provide a clear picture of what you are looking for. Here are the top three things you should know before contacting a designer.
How much do you want to spend? How much do you want to invest in your project? Sometimes it is hard to know, right? But if you really ask yourself what you are comfortable spending you should be able to settle on a number. Also ask yourself if that amount is firm (in which your designer should work in a contingency) or if it is a range. Ask yourself hypothetical questions and really gauge your response. Simply by asking yourself if you are comfortable spending a certain amount should give you an idea of what your budget is. Once you engage the services an interior designer or decorator, you can work out a more detailed budget and they can talk to you about what you can get for your budget, but by asking yourself these questions before you hire a design professional, you will be able to find the correct person for the job and enjoy a smoother process.
Clients I have worked with range from those that have no idea what they want, to those that know exactly what they want to do – most fall somewhere in the middle. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, take a look at the designers portfolio/website and ask yourself if you like what you see. Do you like the style? The feel? The furniture? The colour pallete? If you like the overall feel of the spaces, it could be a good match. This isn’t the only place you should look though, because portfolios aren’t always a great representation of the designer’s style. So you can look at their Pinterest page, and even Instagram. This will give you a well-rounded idea of the designer’s style.
Your designer is there as a guide, but unless you want to give them free reign (and are going to be totally comfortable with the outcome), give yourself some time to think about what your expectations are for hiring a designer and the outcome of the project. This is especially good to think about before you hire someone, so that you are clear without letting the professional muddle too much. Just like you had a list for non-negotiables when searching for a home or a partner, you can also have a list for doing interior design projects. This way when you contact the designer and tell her that you’d like it done in six weeks or want to install an indoor above-ground swimming pool, he or she can gauge if your project is the right match for the company. A question I love to ask and one you can ask yourself is, “How do I want my house to feel?” Bottom line: If you’re not clear about your expectations your (potential) designer isn’t getting a clear view of the project.