When you search the internet for advice on decorating your sunroom, you will find lots of advice out there. How do you choose from all the suggestions? How do you avoid mistakes that cost you money? In my experience, if you are not confident in your skills as a designer, you can save money and time by choosing an interior designer. Here are 10 questions for an interior designer to see if they are right for you.
10 questions for an Interior Designer
- Do I like the designer?You will spend a lot of time with him/her? Good communication is a must. Working with an interior designer involves some give and take. You will share ideas, and the designer will contribute insights and advice based on his or her talents, knowledge and experience. Depending on the scope of the project, you could be working with your designer a couple of weeks to many, many months.
- Does the designer ask questions to get to know me better? The key to success is getting to know you in the early stages and how you and your family’s interests and how you use your home.
- How does the designer charge for her time? Designers can charge for their time in many ways: many may charge by the hour, which can be anywhere from $35 to $300. These costs can quickly mount up. Others may offer a free first consultation, and then quote you a flat fee on the basis of your discussions. Some may charge for the first meeting in advance and then a fee for the whole project based on the estimated hours. Others may bill each month a level amount. Some may get a designer discount and pass some or all the savings on to you. Make sure you know how the designer gets paid and that you both agree on the budget.
- Can we accomplish the design and still be on budget? Your designer will be able to estimate how much time and money it will cost.
- Do I still have to pay for it if I don’t like the design? “Yes! When you decide to hire an interior design firm, you have decided to trust the design recommendations of that firm.”
- Are you available by phone about changes and fine-tuning? A good designer may present you with several options and give you the choice of one or the other. The American Society of Interior Designers recommends you: “Minimize changes to your plan. Changes or special requests can require any number of adjustments that will add time and expenses to your project.”
- Why shouldn’t I listen to my friend who doesn’t like your ideas? If you have to ask this question you should probably have hired your friend.
- Can I go to the local Design Center, with or without you? Of course, just let them know that you are working with a designer and his/her name.
- What do I do if a piece of furniture comes damaged? The furniture store should inspect the furniture when it arrives. The designer should also inspect the furniture before it goes to the client. If inspection misses a defect or the furniture breaks when used, the designer and the furniture store will work together with the vendor to resolve any problem.
- How long does it take to receive things, once you place the orders? Here’s a rough guideline:
Upholstered Furniture: 10-16 weeks depending on the vendor.
Wicker Furniture: Generally, 4-6 weeks. Custom painted items vary with collections, which can take as long as 10-12 weeks and as quick as 3-4 weeks.
Case-goods – Chests, bookcases, tables, hutches, etc.: As quick as a couple of weeks and up to 8-12 weeks depending on the vendor.
Window Treatments: 6-8 weeks depending on the size of the job
Accessories, Lamps, Art Prints, Silk Flowers/Plants: 4-6 weeks or less.
Rugs: If machine made, 2-4 weeks. If hand knotted, 3-4 months
Wallpaper/Fabrics: 3-5 days.