How to Hire a Designer

Steps to take BEFORE and DURING hiring an Interior Designer

Detail shot of custom club chairs with marble side tables and textured rug.

Recently, I was curious to see what would show up on Google if I searched for tips to hire an interior designer and I was surprised to find a pretty good list. It made me wonder why more people don’t search for the same advice so I’ve included some helpful tips for those just getting started in their search!

Below is the list I found…..

  1. Identify your style.
  2. Take a look at some portfolios.
  3. Set a budget.
  4. Meet with designers
  5. Ask a lot of questions.
  6. Compare notes.

This may be pretty generic but it’s not bad advice!

Let’s start with identifying your style. There are so many different variances on design styles it’s almost endless! We recommend starting with the most basic: Traditional, Contemporary, or the in between of Transitional. For the most part our clients fall between Transitional and Contemporary because they enjoy clean lines and not a lot of over the top details and fluff. This is because clean lines create a more classic design. Classic design = not tired of it in three years!! What we strive to do for our clients is bring out their own personal style and taste….even if they don’t know what it is! This is why all of our projects look different and unique.

In addition to these three basic styles, you could love Mid-Century Modern, or the one that we are hearing non-stop seems like nowadays: Modern Farmhouse. These are more particular styles that you may find you like if you do a quick search on Houzz.

Next, do a search for local designers and skim through their portfolios. Do they have a particular style that maybe you really love or do they have a variation in their projects that draws you in because of the unique approach? Again, this is a personal preference but we love creating something different EVERY project particular to our clients.

Ok, now #3 must be addressed and not skipped! It can be a touchy subject but what any good designer you meet with will want to avoid is designing without a budget. The last thing we want to do is spend time putting a design together, presenting it to you so that you can fall in love to find out it was way beyond what you were wanting to invest. It’s a good idea to think about what you can invest in the project BEFORE even calling designers. It is also VERY common for our clients to want the project completed in phases. So, maybe we do the family room furniture right now and tackle that kitchen or master bathroom remodel a few months down the road.

When it comes to furniture, window treatments, artwork, and all the interior design soft goods for your home, the first thing we do is create a budget so that we have a common goal in mind before even beginning any work. This budget is agreed upon by the client and then we move forward with the fun stuff!

Next, meet with a couple of designers either at their office or at your project location so that you can see who is a good fit. Meeting on site is always a great way to see how the designer would address specific needs you have.

Asking a lot of questions is great! Below are examples….

  • How do you charge and what does that include?
  • Can I see examples of your process?
  • (Remodel or New Build) What documentation do you provide for the contractor/builder?
  • Will you be working on my project or will a design assistant mostly?
  • If you do not know what your budget should be, ask the designer what a typical family room would cost. Have them break it down per piece to give you an idea if you’re on the same page for the budget. For instance, how much would a good quality sofa cost that you don’t have to replace in a few years?
  • Can you source Trade-Only pieces or do you shop retail or showrooms?
  • Last but NOT least: Are you full-service? (We LOVE taking care of it all so that you don’t have to worry about a thing! On the other hand we have a great E-Design option HERE.)
  • What’s your timeline like?
  • How do you communicate? (We use a great cloud based platform that is specifically for designers to run ALL of their business. This keeps us super organized where we are able to propose, invoice, and order directly from the platform. )
Close up detail shot of hair on hide rug with leather swivel chairs and natural wood table.

Ultimately, you have to go with the designer that feels like the best fit for you and your home or office. There are several websites available such as Houzz or Google that are great resources for looking at many design firm profiles at once complete with reviews…..another great resource when making your decision!

Have a question for us? Please feel free to send us an email at or comment below!