An interior designer is able to take any space and conform it to your lifestyle. Color and style are not the only factors that this profession covers. It also includes solutions for managing space, forming environment stability and creating aesthetic appeal. The ability to look beyond borders is so important in today's fast-paced world where organization and comfort are intertwined. This is wonderful news for the homeowner that needs professional intervention in providing the perfect setting. However, not all interior designers are equal in their approach with creativity. Look carefully for an interior designer that clicks with your personal goals and has the portfolio to prove it. The right interior designer will do more than offer a few suggestions to please you. They will picture a space through your eyes and begin the professional process of making your individual tastes to shine. Here are 10 questions that should be asked of potential interior designers before entering into an agreement.
1. Are you an Interior Designer or an Interior Decorator?
Some people confuse the term 'interior designer' with 'interior decorator'. While there are similarities in both professions, an interior designer goes far beyond the realm of creating a certain feeling within a given space. Some of these abilities include:
- State and local building code requirements
- Layout for plumbing and lighting
- Ability to manipulate a space
- Enhancing or reducing sound qualities
There are many other areas of expertise that an interior designer can deliver according to your wants and needs. Always ask to see a completion of education background and a list of any interior designer organizations that they may be active in.
2. Do you have any areas of expertise?
Almost every interior designer has a specific area of design that they are drawn to. It may be LEED, kitchen or bath layout, climate control or a host of other noted strengths. Perhaps you are looking for someone that has worked on projects with green materials. Letting them share their achievements without directly asking a question can gain much insight. You may also hit upon a subject of importance that has escaped you until now.
3. Can you show us examples of space planning?
A professional interior designer will have a portfolio with dates, pictures and locations for your viewing. The type of projects can shed light on their ability to work with your particular project. For example, if the designer being interviewed can only deliver examples of work done with restaurants or corporate buildings, a residential property may be outside of their scope of professional capabilities. Look for someone that you feel comfortable with considering their past endeavors.
4. Can we speak with your referrals?
Being able to speak directly with a past client can give you an inside glance of how an interior designer works. Homeowners are proud to show off their house and to expand on any problems that were or were not handled. They are also quick to point out any difficulties that they experienced with designers, contractors, and workers. Use this knowledge to get a feel on how willing an interior designer is to work as a team, collaboration, client participation and satisfaction.
5. How familiar are you with custom designs?
Every homeowner has at least one idea that they hope for. It could be a media room, a sauna or a fountain on the patio. Run your idea past the potential interior designer and ask him/her to explain the difficulties in achieving such an action. A good designer will be able to consider the space, the wiring and the plumbing without much thought and present the obstacles and solutions to you. You are looking for someone that has this type of knowledge and expertise in rearranging plans and working with contractors.
6. Do you understand our wants and needs?
An experienced interior designer will be able to look beyond their own personal likes and dislikes. They will be able to take any style, space or specific need and turn it into your dream. Explain what your life is like, what you want in a home and ask how he/she would begin to achieve. From a short interview, a great designer will be inside of your head and toss out perfect ideas. This quality will instantly let you know that you have found the perfect choice for your new home.
Lastly, ask other professionals that you intend to use on your new home about a potential interior designer. If all the above questions have left you with a positive feeling, their reaction should also be good. It takes more than having a degree in interior design to be able to get a project done to your satisfaction. Look for someone that respects your needs and wants, works well with other involved professionals, and can work with a deadline without compromising quality.