Do I need an Interior Designer?

1903 Craftsman remodeled formal living room.
Remodeled living space with new fireplace surround.

Once you and your architect have gone through the Building department and are ready to break ground on your dream home you may wonder if you need an interior designer.

Interior designers serve many purposes. They educate the client, help the home owner make informed decisions, and act as a facilitator between the homeowner and building contractor. Designers can be helpful in determining how the rooms will best be used and where to place furniture and lighting.

In order to find the designer that is right for you, review the style the designer works in to determine if it is your style. Ask to see examples of previous work and talk to previous clients. Try to clearly define what decisions you want help with. Get a rough time estimate of how long they think it will take to create the plan.

Designers typically charge hourly because the design changes as it develops. They typically charge between $100 and $200 per hour. Some designers may offer a one-time design consultation for about $400. Usually this is limited to a review of the floor plan, cabinets and colors. When looking for an interior designer start with someone who is a member of the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). Membership in the ASID shows that the designer has a minimum amount of years of study and apprenticeship in design. Look up a local ASID chapter in your area by looking at their web site:

Decide how involved you want the designer to be during the construction process. Learn about design styles and notice ideas that you like. Take notes and pictures. Bring this to your meeting to help the designer know your preferences.

Next, define the terms of your business relationship with the designer. Clarify the hourly rates and percentage mark-ups on items purchased through the designer.

Some clients are overwhelmed by all the decisions and feel more comfortable working with a designer. Others are too busy with their professional or family lives to dedicate the time needed to make the design choices. For them, hiring a professional is the right decision.

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