Everyone deserves a fresh start, and what better way to get one than to give your home a new look? For most, taking on such an endeavor falls between overwhelming to downright impossible. Never fear—that’s what interior designers are for. But before you give them the keys to the ignition and give them a go on your house, you might want to run through a few important questions to make sure they’re the best fit for you.

1. How Much Do You Charge?

Before you can begin working with an interior designer, it’s important to understand if they can work with the budget you provide them and how much they can do with it. This is likely the very first question you’ll ask before you even think about hiring someone! Designer fees can be as little as a few hundred dollars per room to a few thousand dollars—that’s on top of what you’re already paying for new design choices and furnishings—so make sure you have a clear idea where your interior designer falls on that spectrum. That said, most designers can work with any budget, so don’t feel pressured to empty your savings into a few room upgrades. It’s all about your priorities. If you’re working with a tighter budget, you might have to make a few sacrifices, such as furnishing that you might need to replace within a decade or so. However, if you have the money to invest in lifelong furnishing, make sure your designer is aware. If you’re in a tight spot, look into ways you can come up with money quickly or download a banking app that will save you money automatically. The more money you can put into your budget, the more improvements you’ll see.

2. What Do Your Services Include?

One of the reasons interior designers vary so much in price is due to how much their roles vary. Nowadays, you have  the option to hire an in-person designer or a virtual designer. Both can help you achieve your dreams for your home, but it’s still important to understand what exactly their services include before you say the magic: “you’re hired!” When you’re fronting the money, it can be tempting to want to meet with someone face-to-face and have them physically be present to run through measurements, digital renderings, purchasing, installation, and everything else the process consists of from beginning to end. If that’s your preference, then you’ll want to meet with a full-service designer. However, this much involvement doesn’t come without a hefty price tag, so if you’re working with a tighter budget, then a virtual designer might be the right way to go.

3. Do You Prefer a Lot of Client Involvement or a Hands-off Approach?

You’ve probably heard the term “bridezilla” before, but have you heard of “designzilla?” (Probably not, because we just made it up, but you can probably take a good guess at what it means). If not, let’s define it as someone who wants to play a large role and call most of the shots in the design process. If that’s the case, you’ll want to work with an interior designer who prefers to consult with you every step of the way. On the other hand, if you’re more of the “hands-off” type, then you might prefer working with a designer who prefers to have complete creative control. Ultimately, you’ll want to hire someone who meshes well with your plans and personality. Doing so will make for a smoother process and a better result.

4. How Would You Describe Your Style?

It goes without saying that every individual has their own unique tastes, but when you’re talking about interior designers, this becomes a more important matter. If you have your eye on a particular designer, then chances are their style is obvious right from the start. But that’s not always the case. Since their job is to fulfill the dreams of their clients, you might find that a portfolio of their work includes multiple styles. Hearing how a designer describes their signature style right from their mouth might help clarify where their specialties lie and foretell good chemistry between you two. But to help you narrow down your list before you start jumping on the phone, it might be worth your while to check their website and social media pages to try and gain a sense of their style.

5. How Long Will This Project Take?

If you’re unfamiliar with interior design, you might be surprised to find that many projects actually take longer than expected. It’s important to keep in mind that projects might require lead times or your name to be put on a contractor’s waitlist until work can begin. For the most part, this is beyond your designer’s control, so being patient with them as they’re working to fulfill your needs is generally the best measure to ensure a healthy working relationship. However, some projects may not be nearly as time-sensitive. For example, if you were simply looking to modernize your furniture or home decor, rather than overhauling several rooms, then you won’t need as much time. If you’re working with a tight budget, it might also be beneficial to take on your project in stages and make incremental upgrades over time. In most cases, there’s no deadline as to when your home’s new look needs to be complete, so take the time you need to make it all that you want it to be!

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