Everything You Should Know Before Hiring An Interior Designer

If you're not known for your artistic eye but want to decorate (or redecorate) your home, an interior designer is the way to go. However, like with most home projects, you should do your homework first to make sure you know what to expect from an interior designer.

Doing some research beforehand will also make sure you get what you want from your experience with an interior designer. Maybe you have some ideas in mind but you're not sure how to make them work in your house. Or maybe you went to a friend's house and loved their style so much that you want to redo your house now, too.

Keep reading to find out everything you should know before hiring an interior designer, including what you should have prepared before you meet and what questions you should ask them to ensure your vision for your home is realized — so you can start living in your dream home stat.

Know your budget before meeting with a designer

Like with any home project, you should have an idea of how much the services are going to cost and how much you're willing to spend on them. Since interior designers are more specialized in the work they do, there is a lot of variability in how much they cost, from $50 an hour to $200 an hour (via Home Advisor). Some of this depends on the area that you live in. For example, if you live in an urban area like New York City, interior designers will probably cost more on average.

Another reason for the difference in cost among interior designers is their level of experience. If you want to hire a well-known interior designer in your area, chances are you'll be paying more for them. A younger, less-experienced designer may charge significantly less per hour than someone who has been working in the field for a long time (via The Spruce).

Once you know what your interior designer will charge, you can more accurately assess your budget. This will depend on how much of your home is going to be included in the project. It's also important to note that the cost of an interior designer, whether it's an hourly or flat rate, does not include the cost of materials (like furniture and decor), so keep that in mind when coming up with your budget.

Have a few ideas of interior designers you want to meet

Hiring an interior designer isn't all about how much they charge. In the end, you should hire someone who understands what you want, has the skill and taste level you desire, and is willing to collaborate with you.

You'll most likely have to meet with a few different interior designers in order to get a feel for whom you're comfortable working with. The first designer you meet with may not be a fit, and that's okay. You shouldn't expect to go on the internet, find one interior designer in your area, and immediately hire that person.

Think of it like hiring a plumber. Yes, plumbing work and interior design are very different, but when you're looking for a plumber, you most likely search around a bit, maybe ask your friends for recommendations, and read reviews on plumbers in your area. Hiring the first plumber that comes up in your online search may leave you disappointed with the work you have done. 

Alternatively, if you are unable to find an interior designer in your area that works for you, there are also online interior design services that can assist you when it comes to decorating (via Havenly).

Gather some inspiration before meeting designers

Even if you don't have an aptitude for interior design, you probably know what kinds of styles you do or don't like when you see them. In order for an interior designer to best understand what you want your house to look like, it's a good idea to have some photos of design inspiration before you meet with them (via Decorilla).

Although you don't need a specific, drawn-out idea of what you want your home to look like, it's important to communicate the things you want to your interior designer. Look at Pinterest, magazines, and design blogs for decor elements you like, and show those to the designer to help them understand what direction you want to take.

You should also decide how involved you want to be in the interior design process. If you want to be hands-off and let your designer take the wheel when it comes to picking out pieces and making decisions, that's great. If you want to have more input and decide on a concept together, that's great, too! Just make sure you communicate what you want your role to be with the interior designer.

Discuss the timeline of your project with the interior designer

Communication is also key when it comes to deciding on a timeline for your interior design project. Your deadline for when you want the project completed is something that you should bring up when you're in the process of interviewing possible interior designers.

Letting your designer know when you want to have everything completed is important because it will tell them if they have enough time to actually get it done, and it will most likely have an effect on the overall cost as well (via Chique Home Living). For example, if you want a project done very quickly, it may cost you extra.

Communicating your timeline is a way for you to respect your interior designer's time, too. They are professionals running a business, and in order for them to do the best job they can on your home, it's important to give them ample time to do it. Deadlines are usually flexible, but, by setting one, your designer knows what your expectations are, and you can plan on how long your house will be remodeled.

Know the scope of what you want done

One of the benefits of working with a local interior designer is that they most likely have a network of local contractors that they work with regularly. Depending on the scope of your interior design project, you may need electrical work, painting, or flooring done (via Go Downsize), and the designer can connect you with the right people for each job.

However, maybe you just want your interior designer to help you pick out some new furnishings for your home. The scope of a project like this is much smaller and most likely won't require outside contractors coming into your home.

These are things that you need to discuss with a possible interior designer before hiring them. They may have a vision of knocking down a wall in your kitchen to create an open floor plan, but if a furniture refresh is all you're looking for, you should have that conversation before you start working together.