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Blog Post: What to ask before hiring an interior designer

You may be thinking about hiring a professional full service interior designer. After all, a pro can create a beautiful, functional space in much less time and with less stress and heartache than most people could do on their own. 

Sure, you can scour Pinterest and daydream about the fabulous rooms you see. But creating something similar in your own home? It feels impossible, especially when you consider the millions of options available and the fact that just because something looks beautiful doesn’t mean it will work in your house with your existing pieces and elements. 

But don’t feel bad! Designing a space that meets your functional and aesthetic goals, all while staying on budget AND feeling confident that your choices are, in fact, ones you will love forever, is not an easy feat for most people. 

Interior designers, on the other hand, have access to a multitude of resources and can put together a cohesive vision that meets all of your goals AND will withstand the test of time. Simply put, when you hire a designer, you are hiring an expert to solve your problem.

There are many benefits of working with a professional full service interior designer. We have extensive expertise and knowledge that allow us to hone in on solving unique design challenges. We have access to a vast range of products not available to homeowners, and we have connections to reliable contractors and skilled tradespeople. 

When it comes to hiring a full service interior designer, you will likely have a myriad of ideas about how the whole process will unfold. So you can be an informed consumer — and to ensure an effective working relationship with your chosen interior designer — it’s important to ask the right questions.

While your interior designer should know and be upfront about the project costs, billing and payment terms, and project timelines, there are a few key questions I/we think are the most important to ask your interior designer to better understand what the collaborative process will really be like

1: What’s your design process? How much time does each part of the process take?

This question is critical to understanding what to expect as you move forward working with an interior designer. Although most designers follow a similar process, it is important for you to understand your designer’s particular progression from initial ideas through completed space.

Here’s what you can expect when you work with me:


  2. Discovery Call, Here we will learn more about each other and your project to see if we are a good fit, 20-30 minutes

  3. Consultation, You show me around your home (if it's a renovation project) and we chat in more detail about what your top priorities are. 1 hour

  4. Preparation of Scope of Work & Contract, Based on what I learned during your consultation I prepare a proposal including what I can do for your project and the cost, 2-3 days after consultation


  6. New Client Onboarding, You will be asked to complete some homework to support future design work like a detailed questionnaire and Pinterest board upon receipt of the signed contract + design fee deposit

  7. Design Phase, 6-10 weeks after we officially kick off your project we’ll be ready to present your design

  8. Management Phase/Support Phase, once you’ve approved the design, the management phase can take 4-12 weeks for furniture-only projects or 12-24+ weeks for projects that include construction

2: What will you need from me, and when will you need it? When will you need me to be available?

You’ll want to know what your time commitment will need to be throughout the interior design process. Every interior designer offers different services with varying levels of support and access so you’ll want to make sure you fully understand whether you’ll need to be hands on or hands off, or if there are certain parts where you’ll be more involved than others. Yes, you are handing the bulk of the work off to a professional — that’s the whole idea, so the design process will be easier on you and your family. But to ensure your interior designer has everything they need to design the perfect space for you, your involvement in providing key information about your needs and your vision is critical. 

And, at other times you will need to make your home available so that the designer can take measurements, tradespeople can do the work, and all of the finishing elements can be brought in and installed. You will want to have a thorough understanding of when you will need to devote time toward getting your project completed.

At BHID, our clients are the most involved at these key phases:

  1. Onboarding. I want to know all the details about your lifestyle, design style, and functional needs. This is what will allow me to fully understand your style and goals to ensure I design a space you love. Typically, during the onboarding phase, our clients will complete a questionnaire, and contribute to a collaborative Pinterest board.

  2. Design Phase. During the design phase, you’ll want to set aside time to attend 2 design presentations (initial presentation and then revised presentation) in their home or virtually and then provide feedback and any change requests to us within 10 days of their presentation. 

3: What if I don't like the design you come up with?

The reality is that experienced interior designers are very well-versed in collecting all the right information from you to help ensure the design concept will be perfectly aligned with what you are hoping for (and, maybe exceed what you are expecting!). They know the right questions to ask, how to spot patterns among your inspiration images, and how to distill everything you tell them into a design that is custom-suited to your needs and wants.

But there may be instances when a designer misses the mark just a bit. And you want what you want, right?! So make sure to understand your designer’s process for revising the design concept, or making re-selections of items that just don’t resonate with you. There should be a workable and efficient process in place if you are not 100% happy with what your designer proposes.

At BHID, I want you to love your design and that’s why I spend so much time during the onboarding phase of each project to truly understand each client’s style. Then, once they’ve seen the design at presentation, there will be  a dedicated revision period specific to the service booked. During the revision phase, our clients are able to request changes so we can make new selections that work with the other design elements. .

If you are considering hiring an interior designer and have enjoyed learning about our design process and team, I’d love to hear from you. The first step in my process is to submit a Project Inquiry here. Then, we’ll be in touch with more information.


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