There are No Silly Questions!

Jun 30, 2023

Hello Friends,

We are often approached by prospective clients who don’t have much experience working with an interior designer or in interior design period. Sure, the reveals on your favorite HGTV shows are fabulous, but how much does it really cost? How much time does it really take? What if we don’t like each other? Just kidding, I know we will get along swimmingly! With all that in mind, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions to help you better understand how an interior designer works with their clients. And don’t worry, if you don’t see an answer to the question burning inside of you, you can always send us a message on our contact page. We’re happy to help!

Are you ready to get schooled?

Raised hand among blurred crowd background.
1.     What’s the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decoration?

If your project includes just the furnishings, light fixtures, and some accessories, then “decoration” is the appropriate service for your needs. Many trained designers also offer interior decorating services. If your scope of work includes new construction specifications, or you are working on a renovation of your existing home, meaning–an overall plan that takes into account a concept, a budget, and construction, you are looking for an interior designer who has received training. The decisions you make, whether with a decorator or designer lead to a comprehensive design concept and specifications, and it’s all in pursuit of one result: your stunning home.

2.     When should I hire an interior designer? 

We suggest hiring an interior designer before or around the time of hiring an architect, builder or general contractor. Knowledgeable designers are able to enhance the project and ensure that you receive the end result that is in your dreams. We’re here to guide you and be your advocate through the process.

3.     What’s the reason for bringing in a designer early in the construction or design process?

Let’s look at what happens when you don’t bring in a designer first–it’s like making a movie without a director; there’s no one holding the full vision and no one sharing information with the team in a way they are used to processing the information. With a designer on board, you will have someone taking charge of all the decisions, someone who knows exactly how all of the pieces in your very large project puzzle impacts the next, and someone who can, and will, take all those pieces and create a home that is breathtaking in every way.

4.     What role do you play in our project?

Our team is your unbiased expert resource – your advocate who is the liaison between all your various services: architect, contractor, and trades people. We communicate the information on the who, what, where and how of your home to the appropriate parties.

5.     How do we express your style?

We dig deep before we start because we want to get to know you on a deep and intimate level. To get there, we have this meeting with the intention of establishing direction through inspirational elements. In this  meeting we ask lots of questions and listen hard to your answers – because your answers tell us who you are, and what you care about. Your answers tell us what you love, what’s sentimental to you, and what you want to express about yourself. After we get to know you, and through detailed consideration, we integrate images that communicate our ideas into a new vision for your home.

6.     Can we shop together?

That’s generally not part of the equation when we work with clients. Our experience has shown us that the key idea of working with an interior designer is to allow our expertise and creativity bring ideas to you that will make your project uniquely yours. Then the design vision can be executed seamlessly, effectively and in a way that is truly service oriented for the client. However, if shopping together is important to you, we will bring you along as is necessary.

7.     What if I see something online that looks similar to what you specified for less money? Can I buy that myself?

It is tempting to do your own shopping to save money, but in the end, we find that it costs our clients in scale and quality mistakes which means that they end up buying items twice and experiencing frustration from the extra costs. If you want to do your own purchasing, that is fine as long as we know that prior to beginning the project. We ask that you show us your selections before purchasing, and if we don’t believe the item fits, we’ll let you know. You are responsible for delivery, installation, freight damages and time spent coordinating all of the services.

8.     Now that I’m thinking about renovating, I occasionally watch HGTV shows; does your process overlap with what I’ve seen?

Calling it “Reality TV” is really a bit of a misnomer to me, because it’s not “reality.” You’re seeing results, not a process, and process is a big part of any design practice. Reality shows are based on months and months of pre-planning, which is probably the only place where the processes do overlap, but they can’t show that prep work in thirty minutes. So, what you see is the big, flashy and fabulous reveal. But it’s not real time and it’s not real life. For your home to have the big wonderful reveal certainly is possible, and it certainly is our goal, but based in real time, which is often six months out, or more. Someone is paying the salaries, fees and for the materials used in the projects.

9.     How do you set a project budget?

The budget is where the realistic picture of your project begins, and we won’t start a project without one. A budget is the map that shows us how we can do the best job for you. We will walk you through the process of budgeting based on our extensive experience with interior design. We find that our clients may know how much they want to invest, but may not know what a reasonable budget for furnishings and fees would be for for a project like yours. We guide you through this process. What you choose to invest is your choice. Our goal is to work within your investment range.

10.   What if I want to do most of the work and just need an overall plan?

We suggest working with a firm that specializes in a limited scope such as an overall design plan. Our firm is geared toward full service interior design projects, whether that be a single room or an entire house. We like to see our work through from initial design concept to completion, and believe our value is in making that process enjoyable for you.

Regardless of your personal style, project size, or project location, we, as interior designers, are trained to understand your needs, anticipate challenges, and create solutions that will give you and your family a lifetime of memories in the home of your dreams!

And remember, there are no silly questions, so take a deep breath and let us know how we can help!