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What should you do before hiring an interior designer?

Most of our clients haven’t worked with an interior designer before but have found themselves in a position where, for a variety of reasons, they need help to create a home that works better for them and represents them and their style.

But if you haven’t done this before, what do you need to be thinking about? And how can you make sure that you’re working with the right designer for you?

Here are some hints and tips for what you should do beforehand to make sure that you get the most out of the process.

Make sure you get a designer involved early in the process

There’s a tendency to think that you only need to get an interior designer on board later on in the process of renovating your home.

Lots of our projects are where families are planning to undertake large scale renovations with extensions to create more space. But the assumption is that we won’t be required until the builders are in and they’re ready to start thinking about the interiors.

But if you want to make the most of the larger space you need to think about the interiors way before the builders start. Things like the placement of a kitchen in a rear extension, what size of sofa/bed you want and where will this be placed in the space, what storage needs you have an making sure there’s enough of it are all fundamental to the success of any interiors. And these things need to be known before any internal stud walls are built, any wires are run above ceilings or pipework run under floorboards.

Even if you’re not undergoing a large renovation and just want to refresh a room in isolation. It’s still key to get your designer on board early in the process. It’s amazing the number of times we’ve started working with people who’ve already bought a sofa or two for their living room (one of the biggest investments in those spaces) but then want us to retro-design around it. It’s not always easy, especially if those sofas aren’t the right size for the room or are not the best style or shape for the scheme.

Think about how you want to live in your home, not just about what it might look like

Clients will often try and provide solutions to their design dilemmas, rather than articulating what their aspirations are for the space. This might be in the form of rough sketches of an extension or a collection of product samples that they’ve pulled together.

But what makes for a fruitful consultation meeting for us is understanding what isn’t currently working in your home and what it is that your home needs to do to enable you to live better or easier in the space.

This means talking about what an average day might look like for you, the challenges you have with storage, the need for dedicated space for family time vs. grown-up time, wanting more light, needing more worktop space in a kitchen.

We will then take those issues and desires and create a design that works better for you and how you live. This will involve layout, flow and space ideas as well as what the end product will look like.

By all means, show us the Pinterest board and give us those sketches or samples that you’ve prepared. But, if you’re hiring a designer to help you, then be prepared for the ideas that come back to challenge your initial thinking and solve your problems in a different or more unique way.

Collate thoughts and ideas of all the people involved

In most cases, one person in a family will lead the charge on working with a designer. But often, there are others who live in that home and will have an opinion about how they want the space to work.

In fact, quite often those people’s opinions are quite different from each other and our job becomes that of marriage counsellor as well as interior designer! Even if most of our dealings are with one person, we always value and encourage others to provide their input and opinions. And, we’d rather this was at the outset rather than later on, as it’s easier to meet the brief if we know these things upfront.

Think about how involved you want to be in the process

Some clients want to be heavily involved in the design process, while others are very hands off and leave us to it. Neither way is the ‘right’ way, it’s what’s right for you, and it will all depend on why you’re hiring a designer in the first place.

Many of our clients are families with small children and full-time jobs. They don’t have the time nor inclination, frankly, to think about interiors in their already limited time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have ideas or aspirations for their home. So, for these clients it’s about taking the hassle out of the design process, making it feel less of a chore whilst still engaging them at key stages in the process with clear goals. This also means that we often take the designs and implement them: engaging trades, ordering products and managing the process from start to finish.

For others, they have the time but just don’t know where to start or get lost in the plethora of choices that are available and can’t quite commit to a decision. For these clients a lot of is about the experience of working with a designer and they want to be involved every step of the way. This often means that we’re only involved in the designs and don’t always manage the implementation.

It’s always worth thinking about how involved you want to be in the process and be upfront about that when you first engage a designer. But the key is, whether you want to be heavily involved or not, that you trust your designer. This means enabling them to challenge your thinking and being open and honest with each other.

Be clear about the type of designer you want to work with

Following on from the last point, it’s really important to find the right fit between you and your designer. Much like making friends or finding ‘the one’ it’s hard to pin point exactly what it is you’re looking for. But you’ll often know after spending a short amount of time with them that they’re the right fit and ‘your kind of designer’.

So, don’t be afraid to speak with a few before you decide who to work with. And ask to speak with previous clients or see more examples of the types of work that you’re planning to undertake if that will help you come to a final decision.

So, if you’re thinking about hiring an interior designer, why not start thinking about some of these things? It really will mean that you get more out of the process and out of your designer. And if you think we could be the right designers for you then do get in touch with us here. And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.

Fresh Start Living is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and covers surrounding areas as well as offering a remote interior design service.

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Email: hello@freshstartliving.co.uk

Telephone: 07483 864633

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Fresh Start Living, 24 Gledhow Wood Grove, Leeds, LS8 1NZ

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