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Where do you start when you are looking to hire an interior designer? The search can become difficult when you don't know what to look for. And the big question, how much will it cost? Most of our clients do not have a clue when it comes to how much to budget for their project.

People can be hesitant to reach out to designers that market that high end look because they believe the price tag once they do will get out of control. They are not wrong for the most part. Another concern is that people need to have livable spaces. No one wants to feel like they live in a stuffy museum where you cannot sit on the sofa.

Then there are the design sites that turn out designs quickly that seem trendy and lack sole and personality. No problem if you intend to redesign every 2 years and don't care about the longevity of the items you are purchasing. Designing your home should be a more intimate experience. It is your home after all and your designer should know everything about how you like to live.

Finding the right designer that takes the time to understand your goals in regards to functionality and budget is important. You need someone who is not going to judge you in regards to your budget or make you feel inadequate if you aren't purchasing designer everything. A good designer understands the livability factor and wants quality items at a fair price that look beautiful.

So where do you start? Let's walk through a few important things you can do before selecting your designer. Starting your project with these tools in hand will help the experience to be successful and enjoyable.

  • Start with a scope of work

  • Consider areas where you want to invest and areas that you can be more conservative

  • Define your budget

  • Collect inspiration images

  • Share your likes and dislikes

  • Select a designer you relate to in regards to communication style and someone who has a personality that makes you feel comfortable

  • Trust the process.. you have done your homework!

Scope of work

When considering a project within your home, I recommend you start by creating a scope of work. Making a list of your expectations and goals for each area will help you to better communicate your needs for each space when working with your designer. You will find in doing this exercise, you begin to carefully consider the functionality that each space needs to have in order to work for your lifestyle. You could also consider this to be a wish list . Good design needs to speak to your spirit so let your imagination play a role in the process. You may not get everything on your list but it doesn't hurt to list it and you never know how your designer may be able to work in some of the items you may have otherwise deemed unnecessary.

Consider areas where you want to invest and areas that you can be more conservative

If your goals started with a dream kitchen and led you to include the family room and some other areas on your list. It's important to share your must haves with your designer and in turn let them know what areas may be less important to you. With this information and their expertise, you may find they can stretch your budget to give you the feel of that high end look you are striving for with the practicality of more livable pieces. Good design does not have to be expensive. Being creative with the budget is as important as being creative with the design.

Define your budget

When I meet with my client for the first time, I am always sensitive to honoring quality design within a given budget. However, most clients really have no idea what things cost. Having a comprehensive look at what things cost is an exercise that cannot be skipped. Your designer should provide you with a budget guide before any actual design work has started to ensure you do not end up spending more then anticipated. Having a general idea on how much you are willing to dedicate to the project is good to share initially with your designer if you have pre-determined it but generally speaking, this is not the case.

Collect inspiration images

Sharing images with your designer is such a great way to communicate what inspires you and makes you feel at home. Often my clients have no idea what their style is. There are also so many style fusions out there it is hard to keep track of the language. Pictures say it all and designers speak the language. Weather you are an avid Pinterest user or you cut out images in magazines, sharing images is a essential way to ensure the end result will be one that you can call home.

Share your likes and dislikes

I find that although people may not know what they like, the generally know what they don't like. The design process is one that you will only go through a handful of times in your life and it should be done with care. Understanding your dislikes can play a vital role in getting to the core of what drives you to have a positive emotional connection with your home. Don't be afraid to share both the good and bad with your designer.

Relating to your designer

This is a very personal process and should be done with someone you can feel at ease with. Trust is plays a key role in a smooth process an successful final result. Take time to make sure the person you select feels approachable and is a great communicator. You should feel free to ask questions and have a clear understanding on budget and other matters throughout the process.

Trust the process

Building trust should happen quickly and innately when working with someone who takes the time to get to know what drives your passion for home. In turn, you will enjoy all the benefits of good design from a professional who wants you to love your home for years to come!

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