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  • Megan Paterson

How to Hire an Interior Designer + What to Expect

Updated: Jul 12


I think one of my main goals for being an interior designer is educating people about - well interior designers. I remember thinking for a good portion of my life that interior designers were only for the rich - and that couldn't be farther from the truth.


Interior designers are for anyone that has a space - just a space. Yes, there are fees associated with hiring a designer - just like there are fees associated with any trade - but the benefit outweighs the cost and stress you end up saving in the long run.


So how do you hire an interior designer? I want to break it up into a few quick and easy categories to ask yourself before hiring a designer.


- First, understand that not all designers do all things. You want to make sure the designer you're choosing has the service and expertise you're looking for: Window Treatments, Furniture and Accessories, Kitchen Remodel, Bathroom Remodel, New Construction, Wallpaper, Paint Color Selection, Landscape Design, and so on. Make sure you look into your potential designer to find out if he/she offers what you're looking for. For example, my focus is on kitchen and bathroom remodel design - if someone asked me to design their landscaping I would be scratching my head! We become experts in certain areas and then we put all of our focus into those areas and we stay up-to-date on current materials and trends so we can give our clients the best service, in those areas, as possible.


- Your design budget and project budget - two completely different things, but both very important to know from the beginning. For example, I know designers that charge close to $1k hourly and if your total design and project is about $60k - well your project may take 10-20 hours which means you just spent about 18-34% of your total project budget on design. For higher budgets and more complicated designs - that design fee is so worth it, but for smaller projects - it just doesn't add up. We like to give our clients an idea of our design fee and total project hours before the consultation, so they know exactly what to expect from the very beginning.


- Do you love their work? Do you dislike their work? So important!! This sounds like a silly thing to have to add, but unfortunately, I've been there. A prospective client wanted to hire me, but they didn't like my work or respect that my work was specific to my past clients - so it just wasn't a great fit, and we both figured that out from the beginning - which was great! So make sure you love your potential designer's work because it is tailored around the client, but ultimately a reflection of who they are as designer.


- Do you need a full-service designer or do you have your own contractor? Sometimes designers are completely full-service which means they design, order products, project-manage, hire the contractor, schedule, and install. Some designers will design only, for the client to use their own contractor. Some designers order products and install them, some designers provide links for you to shop and install on your own. What works best for you and your family? We take a slightly different approach. We design only and we have contractors and project managers that we partner with to take over the project that we can trust with you and your project. It takes us out of the margins for project managing and we work with you and your contractor the entire time to answer questions - kind of a middle ground and has been working beautifully for our clients that both need a contractor or want to use their own.


So what can you expect when hiring a designer?

Keep in mind - all designers and their processes are so unique. We will just tell you what to expect when you hire us based on each service.


Kitchen, Bathroom, and Basement Remodel Design


- Contact Us Here and tell us about your project! The more detailed the better. This way we can make sure we're the right designer for you based on a few of the items I listed above.

- We'll reach out to you via email and tell you a little bit about our process, design fees, deliverables, and our current schedule

- Once we've answered all of your questions, book your initial consultation online.

- At the consultation, we'll meet face to face, see your spaces, go over the remodeling goals in-depth, discuss the functionality needs of the space, your aesthetic, and take detailed measurements.

- Post consultation, we will email you an invoice for our design fees based on hourly time to design your space with the specific deliverables discussed (cabinet plan, technical drawings for the contractor, complete material selections, 3D renderings)

- Once you've paid your invoice for the design fees, we begin working on your design. Some designs take about 2 weeks, others can take up to 4 weeks. We really take a collaborative approach, we will send you drawings and renderings throughout to make sure you love it and that we're on the same page!

- Receive your complete design plan and hire our partner contractor or use your own. Then ask us questions throughout the entire process!


A full kitchen or bathroom remodel design plan typically includes:

- A completely new space plan design

- A cabinet plan, planned specifically for how you use the space - A mid-project 3D Walkthrough to get your feedback and make sure we're on the same page

- A dimensioned floor plan

- A complete design mood board with cabinetry style and color, hardware, countertop, tile, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, accessories - and links to shop.

- Technical drawings dimensioned with notes

- 3D Realistic Renderings with the materials chosen and to scale

- 1 revision on the space plan/1 revision on the material design


Paint Color Consultations


- Book Your Consultation Online Here for an Interior or Exterior Paint Color Consultation

- We'll meet with you at your home and talk to you about the specific areas being painted and any ideas you have for the space and future designs. We do not choose colors at your home - there are thousands upon thousands of paint colors - so we take all of the information and photos back to our studio and we choose a color plan intentionally created for your home.

- Then we email your plan with an extremely detailed guide for the paint color, paint color location (room and type - walls, trim, ceiling) as well as paint finish, type of paint, and where to purchase to receive our discounts

- Then we mail you large 8x11 sheets so you can visualize the colors in your home!

- Don't love your plan? We offer 1 free revision.


Interior Design + Home Styling


- Contact Us Here and tell us about your project! The more detailed the better. This way we can make sure we're the right designer for you based on a few of the items I listed above.

- We'll reach out to you via email and tell you a little bit about our process, design fees, deliverables, and our current schedule

- Once we've answered all of your questions, book your initial consultation online.

- At the consultation, we'll meet face to face, see your spaces, go over the spaces and design goals in-depth, discuss the functionality needs of the space, your aesthetic, and take detailed measurements.

- Post consultation, we will email you an invoice for our design fees based on hourly time to design your space with the specific deliverables discussed (furniture and accessories design, space planning, 3D renderings, styling guide). At the consultation, we can discuss if you would like the items shipped to your home for you to install or if you would like white glove delivery.

- Once you've paid your invoice for the design fees, we begin working on your design. Some designs take about 2 weeks, others can take up to 4 weeks. We really take a collaborative approach, we will send you drawings and renderings throughout to make sure you love it and that we're on the same page!

- Receive your complete design plan and shop the items and install based on our styling guide! Or we have you sign off on each item, order the products for you, and deliver and install with white glove delivery - your choice!


E-Design

- Contact Us Here and tell us about your project! The more detailed the better. This way we can make sure we're the right designer for you based on a few of the items I listed above.

- We'll reach out to you via email and tell you a little bit about our process, design fees, deliverables, and our current schedule.

- Checkout Online for Your Project Here , send us photos, and answer our design questions - then we'll begin working on your design!

- Receive your complete design plan and shop the items and install based on our styling guide! - perfect for budgets of any size.


I hope we helped to make hiring an interior designer feel more attainable - always feel free to ask us any questions you have or say hello to us on Instagram.


xoxo