Hiring an interior designer to help bring your vision to life is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or an addition to your home. Finding the right designer for you – what to look for, what to ask, how to keep connected – can be a big process in itself, so here are ten steps to help you on your way to designing your dream home!
Step One – Determine Your Style
Before you begin interviewing interior designers, you need to know what you are looking to accomplish. Know what your style is so that you can hire the right person for the job. If you are not quite sure what your style is, check out some websites and put together some ideas to get a clear vision for your home.
Step Two – Set Your Budget
It is important to know your budget before you start to remodel. Expect for larger projects to carry a larger price tag. Know the scope of your project and how much you’re willing to spend upfront. The amount should be discussed upfront with the designer. Some designers may take on jobs only of a certain size and this will help you eliminate candidates right away.
Step Three – Find Candidates
By asking friends for recommendations or utilizing professional organizations, you can find designers that fit your criteria. Many designers have a signature style and tend to work on projects that appeal to them. A good designer, however, should be able to adapt to your tastes even if their personal style is completely different. To find the right designer that matches your style, take a look at their portfolios to see what they’ve created. A well-connected designer is essential when looking for specific products such as flooring or countertops because of their connected suppliers who can reduce the costs. If you are in the San Francisco East Bay (Alamo, Walnut Creek, Brentwood, Clayton) Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California is an excellent resource for you to connect with.
Step Four – Meet With the Designers
It’s not easy ensuring you found the right designer on paper, so once you’ve narrowed down some potential choices, meet them face to face. Most designers don’t charge for these sessions but ask about a free consultation just in case. During this time, ask about their experience, certifications, services, costs, and any specifics that you can think of.
Step Five – Discuss Fees
Once you’ve selected the right designer for you, make sure you discuss budget limits for your project. Interior designers have three fee structures: a flat fee, an hourly fee, or a “cost-plus,” in which they buy furnishing and services at cost and add a mark-up agreed to with the client. Many designers use a combination of these three to develop an initial plan and then cost-plus to execute it. Ask for an estimate and a clear schedule for payment. Find out in the beginning what you may be billed for. In addition to the design itself, you may be billed for travel time, site visits, shopping, phone conversations, and more. If you’re on a tight budget, arrange a few hours with a designer for consultation to help you source furnishing and decorative accents.
Step Six – Confirm Indemnity Insurance
Interior designers should have indemnity insurance. Designers must interpret the tastes of every individual client and successfully construct their vision and with that can be an opportunity for error. Professional indemnity for design professionals covers legal costs and expenses if interior designer is alleged to have provided inadequate advice, services or designs that causes the client to lose money. This assures that the business is financially strong enough to withstand a worst-case scenario.
Step Seven – Sign a Contract
Once you’ve decided who to work with, sign a contract that specifies responsibilities, a timeline, budgetary limits and important aspects of your project. This letter of agreement or contract will serve to resolve any disputes or liability issues.
Step Eight – Communicate & Keep Track
Clear communication about budget and expectations can save a lot of headache. Put together a plan of attack – select materials and pieces with the help of your designer. You must be able to communicate what you want for your home, if you are not happy with a designer’s choices, let them know! Clients and designers must know who has the responsibility to choose and purchase items. Who is buying, when you are meeting and when and how often updates are needed should be clear before you start. The designer should have a system in place to manage the project budget.
Step Nine – Adapt & Keep an Open Mind
Depending on your existing work schedule, you’ll have to adapt your lifestyle and schedule in case you need to be home for certain parts of the project. Your designer might recommend a piece of furniture or art piece that you won’t like at first – let the idea sink in. Interior designers want the best for your home and that doesn’t always go well with a tight budget. Chances are that you’ll appreciate suggestions in the long run if it works with your space and your checkbook.
Step Ten – Enjoy the Fruits of Labor
Ask your interior designer if tune-up visits in the future are an option, whether they involve simply swapping out a few accessories, reupholstering furniture or choosing new paint colors. Your final project should reflect your interests and function within your lifestyle. If you follow these steps, you will have a smooth time in finding the right designer to transform your space.
Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Bath?
Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in. Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.