We’ve spent a remarkable amount of time in our homes for the past 1.5 years and are all likely reassessing whether or not they’re still meeting our needs (from both form and function). If you’re thinking about hiring a designer, you’re most likely in one of two mindsets. You’re either at the point where you’re in complete analysis paralysis (a state in which your inability to make a decision prevents you from moving the process forward in anyway), or you’re thrilled and excited about your project, but are terrified that you’re going to be spending your hard-earned resources on items that will later be a “mistake”. The good news is, regardless of where you land, a designer can help move you through the process. Finding the right designer is a beautiful thing! We can help you see the macro and then zoom back into the micro, making sure that you’re getting the reassurance you need to feel confident in your decisions along the way.
With that being said, finding the right designer is essentially like entering into a brand new relationship. Whether it’s a home refresh or large renovation, your designer instantly gets thrust into your inner circle. We’ll get to know you really well, see you try to compromise with your spouse on design directions and may literally be in your bed (putting on bedding) as we bring the project into fruition. We’ll see pictures of you and your family throughout the years and see your home in its natural state (whatever that may be). So you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to find the right fit for you.
Finding the right designer is easy if you follow these tips
Pay Attention to Brand
I know that this may sound trivial to some, but we are in a visual industry. Our literal livelihood is based around being able to synthesize an overall idea (your vision), and presenting in a way that is clear, compelling and beautiful. Pay attention to their social media presence and website as usually their true persona is somewhere in between. If a designer is going to promise you the world, you want to make sure they can pull together their own website. A web page with Comic Sans font and clip art graphics is a red flag.
Reviews have become the new hottest commodity in any service industry. Now when I say read the reviews, I mean really read the reviews. Sometimes numbers can be deceiving because design is so subjective. Make sure you pay attention to what past clients have actually said and noted as strengths. If there are multiple comments about professionalism and organization, then you know that you’re going to be getting someone who is adept at project management. And if there are some questionable comments, make sure to take the time to read it in full (is it actually rational or was someone just upset at a delay in delivery that is outside of the designers control?). More importantly, observe how the designer responds. This is a two sided relationship, so both parties have unique points of views.
Synergy in Style
A good designer should be able to take any vision you have and bring it to life, regardless of their personal style. But if you can, try and find someone who has a similar natural sensibility to you. If you’re wanting a bold, traditional and Parisian inspired bedroom, then maybe someone who specializes in neutral minimalism isn’t the most natural fit for you. Regardless of design styles, it will just be a more fluid process if you work with someone where there is some form of natural synergy. Furthermore, a designer who has a specific area of expertise will likely execute it extremely well.
Understand Their Process
There are a variety of ways in which you can work with a designer. Some designers operate on a cost-plus model (your budget + adding on a mark-up percentage), some just bill hourly (asking for a retainer payment upfront with top-ups when required), and some are fixed fee (quoting out the scope of work up front and staying within that pricing so long as the scope hasn’t changed). Make sure you ask your designer about how they work and bill so there is transparency from the get go.
Trust Your Gut
Our intuition is a powerful thing. They say you make a split decision about someone within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. Now I’m not saying to solely base all of your decisions around your gut reaction, but pay attention to that little voice inside of your head. This is an important relationship you’re about to enter into that is extremely personal. Your designer will see you at your best and also worst because any major renovation or project comes with unexpected challenges. You want to make sure you’re working with someone that you trust, and will guide you through the process.