How to get the best from your interior designer

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Interior design, being a luxury service, is often considered extremely expensive so here are five tips on how to get the best from your interior designer…..

You only get out what you put in

Investing at least a little time and energy in your project is a good idea, even if your main reason for hiring a designer is that you are too busy to do it yourself. Choosing a designer who is the right fit for you can take time and you’ll also need to decide how much money you want to dedicate to your project budget before hiring. Thinking about your needs, wants, nice-to-haves and absolutely-nots for the finished room ahead of your first designer meeting will be invaluable as the project progresses. Checking colours is best done in natural light so if it is winter time, or your project is a building site still without power, you will need to make yourself available for at least one daytime meeting. Be prepared to take a day off work. It will help your designer get it right first time for you.

Be clear in your brief 

Giving your designer a sound brief at the beginning will help keep things running efficiently and on the right track. It’s okay to change your mind about what you want, but bear in mind that if you do this after design work has started you may incur a change-of-scope charge. This will cover the extra time and effort spent dealing with the knock on effect of your changes, so it is really worth engaging with the briefing phase at the start.

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Respect their rates

Asking for a discount before you’ve even begun probably won’t instil much in the way of goodwill. If your employer asked you to work this month for a reduced wage you’d probably tell them to jog on and book a load of time off. Although you might like to, chances are you wouldn’t haggle with your solicitor, dentist or osteopath. Qualified interior designers are skilled professionals too. They also carry a weight of responsibility and risk in their work for which they should be adequately insured, so there are overheads that may not be immediately obvious. It might seem expensive when your designer appears to solve or source something in five minutes flat, prompting thoughts of ‘I could have done that myself’, but it will have taken years of training, experience and accumulated knowledge to do it that quickly.

When there are multiple rooms each needing bespoke design input, the amount of work required intensifies, so ‘quantity discount’ does not apply. It might be possible if your designer is supplying multiples of mass produced products, but generally interior designers are creating bespoke items which require careful specification. It is not usually possible or appropriate for designers to pass on their trade discounts when supplying goods, because they are liable, just like any other retailer, for the quality, guarantee, return / exchange / replacement and administration of those goods, so to provide these at a reduced price would be totally unsustainable - business suicide. Clients always have the right to source things from wherever they like, but the main benefit of central ordering is that it is nice and convenient, and convenience is often a premium worth paying. 

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Keep an open mind

By all means have a look around on Pinterest in the beginning, but once your designer has begun designing for you try to resist the temptation to keep looking for more inspiration, it will only confuse and distract. You are paying an expert to do it for you, so leave them to get on with what they do best. Trust in your designer’s process and allow them to challenge the boundaries of your brief and take a risk to achieve something with wow factor.

If you start getting excited by the creative momentum of the project then try to avoid making purchases without first checking in with your designer, as every surprise new element you add will require the him or her to rework the whole design around it. Ultimately this could end up costing you more in design fees and compromise your designer’s vision for your project. If you want to be quite involved in the project yourself then you might be better off investing in a consultation or workshop for a steer, rather than committing to a complete design service. Too many cooks spoil the broth. 

Unless you are a real risk taker, a fan of surprises and specifically request a Changing Rooms style reveal (don’t ever do it!) no one is going to do anything to your property without your prior permission. The designer’s drawings, moodboards and samples should convey clearly to you what is proposed so you can relax in the knowledge that you are in safe hands.

Enjoy the process

If you have any concerns about anything to do with the design work it is vital that you flag it up immediately so that it can be resolved before it becomes a problem - either expensive to rectify or an unhappy atmosphere. Most designers are passionate about their work and want nothing more than to create fabulous spaces that make people happy, so will usually go the extra mile for their clients. 


If Stylemongers Of Bristol might be a good fit for you then please complete the enquiry form to find out how Zoe can help you. If your project or deadline is not the right fit for Stylemongers Of Bristol fear not, we will refer you to someone more suitable in our network.

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