15 Apr What should you ask an interior designer?
If you’re already asking the question, “what should you ask an interior designer”, you’re one step ahead of many. We believe that the discovery process between interior designer and client is one of the most important parts of the entire project. Interior design is not just about the finished product, but about the journey it takes to get there. You need to make sure you’re working with the right designer for you, who can bring your vision to life, and the only way to do that is to ask the right questions, right from the start.
As a longstanding voice for interior design in Sydney and around the world, today I would like to give you some ideas of questions that I personally think a client should ask, to help understand if they’re the right person to work with.
Do you welcome client involvement, or prefer them to be “hands-off”?
This is top of the list for a reason. Although we are the ‘designer’, we are essentially working to bring YOUR vision to life. It’s only natural that clients want to know if they can be part of that process, as you have your own strong ideas and beliefs about how to achieve the aesthetic that your imagination created.
A good interior designer should welcome client involvement. Interior design is a collaboration; how would a designer know how you plan on using your space, your likes and dislikes, what you need from the design, without it. We want our clients to be proud of the space once it has been completed, and we find that client involvement during the process is the best way to achieve this.
This question gives you a secret insight into the mind of the designer. For example, I take my inspiration from a wide variety of sources. It may be from a book I stumbled upon, I’m inspired by fashion and art, whether it be in a magazine or in a beautiful gallery. I take inspiration from walking in nature, especially in Sydney as we are so fortunate to have such beautiful oceanic scenery. And even with such an abundance of beauty on my doorstep, I love to take inspiration from international travel and exploration.
Do you feel like you know me a little bit better now? That’s the aim of this question, to see if the designer’s inspiration aligns with your own. You may take your inspiration from Instagram or Pinterest, walking through vintage shops in cool suburbs or from an old 70s film you finally watched after a recommendation from a friend. Establishing this now will give you confidence your interior designer can see things the same way you do.
What is your project management style?
Well, interior design isn’t just about the design element, an important part of our role is project management. Are you somebody that wants to know which stage the project is at with regular updates? Do you expect your interior designer to take full responsibility for project management? We are only ever disappointed by something if it doesn’t meet our expectations. This is why this question is important, as it’s setting your expectations early.
We manage our clients’ design from inception to installation, including all sourcing, procurement, ordering (and managing those orders, not always an easy task!), we manage the builders (who manage the construction). Add on top of that updating clients on discussions we’ve had with contractors on-site, timeframes and how we’re meeting deadlines, you can see how somebody’s project management style is important to any project.
How do you prioritise budget planning?
Now we have covered design, how it is brought to life through effective project management, but how much does this all cost? Most of us are working on a budget, you want to make sure that your interior designer is working to the same budget you set, and whichever end of the spectrum it is in terms of affordability, it’s always important. Your budget determines a lot about your project, so should be discussed in detail with your interior designer at the start.
Budget management is important because it can have a serious impact on the outcome of your project. Budgets should be monitored throughout the project (for example, we list all procured items using specialised software), and liaise with the client should things change. It’s all about being able to tweak certain areas if needs be, to ensure that everybody is happy with the outcome. So don’t forget to ask!
What if I don’t like my design?
This is probably the most natural question to ask, but also one that people often feel uncomfortable bringing up during a consultation. In our experience, we find that if we are given a very good brief, that our interpretation is 95 percent correct. We’ve never had to begin again or scrap a design. But unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone who has had experience with interior design.
If you’ve started by asking the right questions (see above) this should mean that this question is irrelevant. If you identify with a designer in terms of inspiration, feel comfortable to work with them collaboratively to create your image, are confident in their project and budget management skills, then you should feel completely satisfied with the design and project outcome.
If you’re looking for an interior designer in Sydney to work with, we would really like to hear from you. Ask us some questions (maybe even the above) or book a consultation and we can see if we are a good fit to be the people that transform your next space, together. Click here to contact us.