Working with an interior designer: everything you need to know

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Hiring an interior designer is a game-changing experience for many and isn’t necessarily as expensive as you might think. An interior designer will help you get the best out of your interior, both aesthetically and functionally, while saving you time and money. But the process can feel intimidating when you don’t know what to expect. In this article, I’m sharing everything you need to know about working with an interior designer, so you’re fully informed about the process, costs and the many benefits of getting professional help.

Images: | @caprinipellerinarchitectes | @byron_beach_abodes

Why hire an interior designer?

Interior designers are here to help you bring your vision to life. Working with a professional will save you time and avoid costly mistakes, making the process as stress-free as possible for you.

Whether it’s to redesign the entire floor plan of your house or to decorate a nursery for your newborn, interiors designers can help you and will work within your budget. They work their magic to create the perfect space for you, that is harmonious and reflects your personality.

As interior designers, we have access to trade only products, letting you obtain furniture or fabrics you wouldn’t have been able to purchase otherwise. We are also able to custom make furniture or joinery, so it's perfectly adapted to your tastes and space.

Images: @cmstudio | @oliviathebaut | @nicole_franzen

How to choose your interior designer?

Choosing the right interior designer is crucial to the success of the process. You will most likely be working together for several months, so take your time when choosing your designer and ensure the relationship will work.

We all have our tastes. And although an interior designer will adapt to the taste and personality of their client, it will be more complex if your tastes are radically different. So be sure the designer you hire is a good match for your style. Having a look at their previous work and Instagram feed will give you a good idea of their aesthetics.

Make sure you feel comfortable sharing your honest opinion with your interior designer. What matters at the end of the day is that you’re happy with the final result! Find a designer who you can trust and be completely honest with about your expectations and budget, plus what you like and don’t like.

Your budget will also have an impact on the interior designer you choose as not all designers charge the same rates. This will depend on their seniority and popularity so ensure you hire a designer that is within your budget.

What is the design process?

Each project is different, and the design process will vary from one designer to another but below is a breakdown of our standard design process.

  1. Initial design consultation. We will meet with you and discuss your project, style, vision, budget and timeframe. After the initial consultation, we will provide you with some design recommendations and ideas, along with a customised quotation for each stage of the project to avoid any surprises down the track.

  2. The design concept. In this part of the process, we will define a colour palette plus provide mood boards, spatial planning recommendations, technical drawings, 3D visualisations and samples of finishes. We will work closely with you on creating a space you'll love, that reflects your style and personality.

  3. Procurement. Once we have agreed on the design concept, we will start sourcing everything for your project, from finishes to furniture, fabrics and lighting. In addition to knowing the best local and global suppliers, we also have access to wholesale and trade discounts with a wide range of them (which is another benefit of working with an interior designer). We will then help you find the best contractors to ensure the process is as stress-free and seamless as possible.

  4. Completion and styling. We will assist with the installation and add the finishing touches to make sure everything comes together exactly as you imagined!

The time to complete a project will depend on the scale of your project and can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months. Some furniture suppliers have significant lead times and custom furniture can take several months to be built.

I recommend that you keep an open mind during the process, you might not love every suggestion that your chosen designer will come up with at first but be sure to give it some thought as you might end up loving it. As mentioned previously, always be honest with your designer and if you don’t like it, don’t hesitate to say it.

Images: @chloeandyou | @greenhouseinteriors | Whyte Lilja Architects

How much does it cost?

Hiring an interior designer is not only for the rich and famous! Rates will depend on the designer you choose, the scope of your project and the level of support you need. Different designers also have different billing process. Some will charge you an hourly rate, while others will charge you a flat rate for the entire project or per stage of the project. When being charged an hourly rate, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300 per hour. Most designers also take a mark-up on materials and furniture that they buy.

Working with an interior designer will save you time and stress, plus help you avoid purchasing the wrong tiles or hiring a dodgy painter – expensive mistakes. As interior designers, we also have access to trade discounts with a large range of suppliers that will save you money from the retail prices. Some suppliers offer up to 50% off their retail price so even if your designer charges a mark-up, you will most likely still be paying less than the retail price.

I hope I have demystified the interior design process, and you now feel ready to hire a professional who will create a space you truly love. If you’d like to book a design consultation with us, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we would be more than happy to have an initial conversation with you.


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