working with an interior designer

If it’s your first time, working with an interior designer can be seriously overwhelming. You’ve decided that you need a little help with creating your dream home, and you’ve put aside some cash so you can get the ongoing advice of an expert. You’re excited, and you can’t wait to see the ideas they’ll bring to the table. But you’re also more than just a little bit apprehensive about what you should expect.

First of all, know that nerves are normal. You’d be crazy to think otherwise. But it’s also a really exciting process, and you can take so much away from it. Knowing what to expect when working with an interior design can help to alleviate those worries. Here’s what you really need to know…

Make sure that you have realistic expectations

If you think that your living space in going to end up looking like a stately home purely because you’re working with an interior designer, when the reality is that you’re living in a one-bedroom flat in Central London, it’s safe to say that you’re going to end up being hopelessly disappointed.

A similar principle applies with your budget. Though experts can often make your cash go further, but they need to work within the restraints that you give to them. The bottom line with this one is that interiors designers may be great at what they do, but don’t expect them to turn up with a magic wand!


Be prepared to ask plenty of questions before making your decision

Not all interior designers are cut from the same cloth. They all have different styles, different preferences, and different signature looks, so do make sure that you shop around and get all the information you need before you decide to move forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for photographs of their previous work, and testimonials from clients.

Another really important point to consider here is not just the design style of the professional in question, but how they run their business. Will you be offered a free consultation to see if you’re a good fit to work together? Will you have to pay upfront, or do they offer instalments? Will you have support between your sessions to ask questions? These are all vital points that you’ll need to take a look at. Research shows that design is currently one of the fastest growing creative industries in the UK, so you definitely won’t be short of options!

Creating a scrapbook in advance will be hugely useful

They say that a picture paints a thousand words, and this is so true in the world of interior design. Your interpretation of ‘shabby chic’ might be slightly different to the next persons, and what you consider to be cosy might leave others feeling a little bit cold. When you start to work with your designer, it really helps if you’re armed not just with the words that describe what you want, but plenty of pictures.

Start a board on Pinterest. Cut pages out of your favourite magazines. The more resources that you have to look at together while you bash around some initial ideas, the better.

You must be willing to listen

At the end of the day, you choose to work with a professional because they know more about the subject than you do. So if you go into the relationship without an open mind, you’re really not going to get the best possible value for your money.

Along the way, there’ll be ideas that you’re probably not sure about. Remember though that they’re all part of the process, and it’s your designer’s job to make sure that they’re bringing variety and inspiration to the table. When you really engage, you’re likely to come across a ton of ideas that you truly love, that you’d never even thought about before.

…But you should still have a voice during the process

Okay, so the working relationship does of course work two ways. It’s your home. It’s your money that’s being spent. So you should never feel like you can’t pull back a little when the suggestions really aren’t floating your boat, or you know that the designs have taken a tangent that just don’t suit you or your personal lifestyle.

It’s all about communication. You and your interior designer will no doubt have opposing views along the way, but it’s all about being able to move forward towards plans that really do work, and give you what you both want and need.

It makes sense to use their trade recommendations when working with an interior designer

One of the beauties of working with an interior designer is that they’re going to have a little black book that’s absolutely jam-packed full of quality contacts. They’ll have worked with them before, they’ll have vetted them, and they’ll be people that they trust. As well, this makes for a great and productive working relationship between the two.

It may even be the case that they can use their contacts to secure the best possible deals. It’s not always the case, but it’s definitely worth doing a little enquiring. This way, you can save a good chunk of your budget for the fun stuff!

Have you ever worked with an interior designer? If so, what tips would you share with others who are about to go down this route for the first time?

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