Designing a home can be an intimidating process. I often get phone calls from potential clients who sound hesitant or they apologize for rambling because they’ve never worked with a designer before and didn’t know how to start the conversation. I’ve even had potential clients tell me how scared they were to call me because they weren’t sure what to expect. Me?! I’m not scary! I’m human, just like you.
If you’re considering hiring a designer, it’s helpful to know how the process works. The relationship between a client and a designer is collaborative, so it’s important for everyone involved to be the right fit for a successful end result. Below I’m going to share some tips on hiring a designer, so you understand a bit how the process works…
Do your homework. Take some time to look at photos to see what your design style is. You don’t have to fully commit to a specific style – clients always get scared to be pigeonholed into one style – but once you start gather images you may notice that you always gravitate towards a specific aesthetic. Look at magazines, houzz, pinterest, and design blogs. This information is helpful for you to decide which designer and designers’ aesthetic is a right fit for you.
Do your research. Once you have an idea of your style, take advantage of the internet and social media. Ask friends if they’ve worked with designers, because after all… word of mouth is the best reference! Make sure the designer you decide to work with has a portfolio with images you respond to, and has a mission statement that you believe in. Check out their social media to see projects they’re working on or to see a bit more of a designers’ personality on their posts. You want to make sure you’re working with a designer who will not only design a beautiful space and keep the project under budget – but you also want to make sure you’re working with someone you’ll enjoy spending time with. Some people may disagree because, after all, business is business. But, I personally feel like the relationship with a designer and a client is much more than that. A client lets a designer into their home, shares their personal stories and how they use the spaces. I strongly feel that it’s important to feel connected to the designer you hire.
Establish your budget. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend allows me to do my job properly and efficiently. Sometimes clients will say they don’t have a budget, but then after I do a full presentation they’ll then say, “Oh, I was expecting to pay only $X”. Having a general idea of what you’re able to spend saves us both time and makes the process move along quicker. It’s important to be honest and to make a list of your “wants” so I can help you decide how to spend your money wisely. While I can help you develop an appropriate budget based on your wishlist, but it’s ultimately up to the client to give a rough number of what they’re willing to spend.
Ask about the process. Asking a designer their process will get everyone on the same page, and manage expectations. I have a full list of my design process on my website here.
Trust your designer. This is the most critical element for any designer/client relationship. My entire goal is to create beautiful, livable spaces, to make my clients happy, and for the process to go as smoothly as possible. I do my best work when clients trust my skill set, experience, and talent and remember why they hired me in the first place. As a designer, I have the ability to envision the space and how each piece will work together to create a cohesive, beautiful space. Once the trust with the client is established, it’s important for clients to trust my vision and allow me to push them just a bit outside their comfort zone … after all, there is a reason why the client hires a designer. Our common goal for the spaces is for them to reflect the style, lifestyle and interests of the people who live in the spaces, all within budget and the clients’ timeline.
If you’re looking to hire a designer, feel free to contact me! I promise I’m not scary! :)