How To Hire The Right Interior Designer For Your Project

You’re ready to transform your house into the home of your dreams, but don’t know where to begin. An interior designer is the obvious answer, but with an abundance of amazing firms to choose from, how do you narrow it down? It takes a bit of prep work to find the right fit, but when you start working with a firm that you jive with the design process is a delight. We’ve created a step-by-step roadmap for you to follow to help find that perfect match.

Look Inward

Before you start looking for an interior designer, take some time to define your style. Look through design magazines, websites, Instagram, create a Pinterest board, and take note of the styles you are drawn to and those you dislike. This will help you find an interior designer who can bring your vision to life and once the design process is underway, it helps the design team understand what you’re going for.

Define The Project ParametersTake some time to define your project goals and budget. Are you looking to do a major renovation or a decoration refresh? Most firms will have a questionnaire for you to fill out asking about the scope of the project, timeline, spaces you want to touch, projected budget and your level of involvement in the process. Thinking through this with the other decision makers in your household will help you to focus on finding the right firm. MGI’s inquiry page covers all the basics.

Do Your ResearchOnce you have a clear idea of your style and project parameters, start researching designers in your area. This prep work will help you weed out firms that can’t handle the scope you’re looking to tackle or have a design process that doesn’t align with how you operate. Read reviews from past clients, check out their portfolio and read about the services they offer and their design process.

Jump On A Discovery CallEvery firm operates differently, but the process normally begins with a discovery call. This is a chance for both parties to ask important questions that help determine if the project is a good fit. Below are the top five questions to ask a potential firm and why:

1. What is your process?Make sure the firm can clearly outline how they take their projects from loose ideas to installed realities. Michelle Gage Interiors is a full-service design firm, which means we do the legwork of sitting on sofas and combing through thousands of selections, then present curated options to you during pre-scheduled meetings. Our process is collaborative and streamlined for busy design buffs with limited free time, accommodating your schedule and needs.

2. What do you charge?Money conversations can be hard, but they are a crucial part of the process to ensure clients don’t fall in love with a design they can’t afford. Many clients aren’t clear on how much a project costs, current prices and what portion of their budget will go to design and project management. It’s important for you to understand how and when a firm will charge for their services and products and for the designer to know what you’re comfortable spending. A quality design firm can talk through this confidently. Coming into a call with a rough budget and sharing that with the designer means they can keep the project on track from the start.

3. What types of trade relationships do you have?

Designers are only one part of a large industry. A solid firm has deeply established relationships with quality contractors and to-the-trade-only vendors. Beware of a designer that can create a beautiful design but can’t or won’t work with trades to execute it. MGI has spent years working with contractors on small and large renovations, making sure the project is managed seamlessly behind the scenes. The team travels to High Point Market each year – vetting new vendors and sitting on every sofa and turning on each light fixture, ensuring we can confidently stand behind each piece we offer.

4. How will you communicate and resolve any issues that come up?Here we are talking about project management again – it matters. A décor or renovation project has numerous moving parts, and you are hiring a designer to guide you through the process. Will the firm be calling and emailing you daily or handling the project behind the scenes, reaching out at scheduled touch points? How do they handle damaged goods? Is there a dedicated team member coordinating your project? You should feel fully taken care of and in the loop without being overwhelmed with the minor details. The Michelle Gage Interiors team has a dedicated project coordinator and team members with expertise in every area of a project. We put a clear chain of command in place on job sites, field the questions from vendors and handle all receiving and deliveries. This is the benefit of using a full-service design firm.

5. When can we get started?The designer has answered all your hard questions and you’re ready to launch, but are they? Make sure you understand when the design process can start and how long your project could take from idea to installation. Timing is key and you want to make sure you’re in alignment.

Updating your space is a major investment and you should feel confident the firm you hire is in your corner. This is a long-term relationship for both parties, so you’ll not only want to ensure you’re on the same page, but that you are also working with someone your personality vibes with!Don’t keep putting off your project until “someday.” You deserve to be happy at home. Interested in working with the Michelle Gage Interiors team? Get the process started here and look out for more helpful tips and inspiration on our blog and socials.

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