5 Essential Tips for Hiring An Interior Designer
Save Money on Home Improvements
Working with an interior designer on a home improvement project can be a time- and money-saver if you plan the collaboration carefully.
But first you need to understand that for all the expertise and creative ideas that an experienced interior designer can offer, there are just two questions that only you can answer.
What do you want, and just how much do you want to invest? Once you've figured those things out, you will be ready to start the process of choosing a designer.
Find the Right Designer for You
The first step is to ask around for referrals. Real estate agents are great, (along with) your neighbors and friends... whose homes you have seen that you enjoy. In addition, if you see something in a magazine or an article online, those are great places to start.
Once you have a list of interior designers you'd like to check out, head to the computer. It is estimated that 75 percent of interior designers these days have websites, although the extent of the information they contain will vary. Try and pay close attention to the visual samples on each website.
Together with the photographs that are on the Site, you can get a good idea about design and whether you enjoy what the designer is doing,
Think about hiring designers whose services fit your needs. Some specialize in renovations. While others prefer to utilize new construction projects. Some designers offer nothing but window treatments. Others focus on kitchen and bath design.
Research Project Costs
If you have never done an interior design project before, you'll want to do a little homework to determine a reasonable budget. Friends and neighbors that have done makeovers similar to what you have in your mind -- and are willing to discuss what they spent -- can provide a fantastic basis for a ballpark number.
Another helpful resource is Remodeling magazine's annual"Cost vs. Value" report on some of the most popular remodeling jobs, based on a poll from the National Association of Realtors. The most recent report appears in the November 2010 issue and can be accessed from the magazine's website.
On the midrange scale of luxury, a major kitchen remodel averaged $58,367, according to Remodeling. The average price of an upscale kitchen remodel was $113,464. The cost of a midrange bathroom remodel averaged $16,634, while the upscale variation averaged $53,759. A master suite addition averaged $108,090 in the midrange and $232,062 for an upscale project.
Be Clear About your Budget
We can't stress enough the importance of being upfront about how much money you are prepared to spend on your own design project. However, according to Sheridan, the difficulty in getting customers to discuss their budgets is a frequent source of frustration for interior designers.
"It's a real cat-and-mouse game. They leave it up to the designer to somehow, with a crystal ball, figure this out.
Sometimes your vision for a design project will turn out to not match your budget. If you're dreaming of a custom kitchen but have a budget of only $20,000, it is probably not likely to happen.
An interior designer can help you prioritize your wish list, showing you what your budget will allow you to do today and how you can work toward your goal a little bit at a time.
Interior designers can supply you with ballpark figures on the price of doing a particular kind of job, say a whole living room or a bathroom renovation. But with such a broad range in the quality and costs of materials, how much you wind up spending is mainly around you.
Understand the Billing Method
According to the Design Success University website, interior designers frequently charge an hourly fee, and a markup for handling the purchase of furnishings and materials. Some give access to a discount on retail purchases.
A handful of designers simply bill by the hour with no purchasing services offered. There also are designers that charge a flat project fee.
Be aware that if the interior designer does the purchasing on your behalf, you will be expected to pay 100 percent of the costs upfront. Many designers also require the payment of a retainer, ranging from $500 to $25,000, when you register the contract, according to the Design Success University website.
Make certain the designer you hire is selling the services you want to purchase. For instance, if you are thinking about a do-it-yourself room makeover, some designers will offer consultation for an hourly fee to provide a few ideas or some planning assistance. But many won't take on these kinds of customers.
They're likely to do a comprehensive project... from conception all the way to implementation.
Allow the Designer Help you Find Contractors
One of the greatest ways an interior designer can save time and money is by helping you find decent building and remodeling contractors.
This is what we do all day long. Usually we have a set of contractors and subcontractors that we work with each day. We know they're likely to show up on time, and they're going to be respectful of people's homes and their personal possessions. They're going to have integrity and do what they say they're likely to do for reasonable prices."