The Interior Designer-Client Relationship and how to make sure it’s awesome

I have the best clients! Over the years, I have been so fortunate to have some fantastic people hire me as their Interior Designer. Many of my clients have been with me since I started designing nineteen years ago. Some say they will not conquer a home project without me.

I started thinking, what makes these relationships successful? What advice can I give to those seeking a designer? I think most people know to choose a designer who can create warm and welcoming interiors and has a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of design. It is also common sense that he or she should have knowledge of products, brands, and trends. But there are additional qualities to look for, which are not the first things that come to mind. Also, there are things you can do to make sure your designer-client relationship is successful.

Compatibility is key

Hire an interior designer with whom you are compatible. Designing your home should be a collaboration in which your designer helps you make the best choices for your style, taste, and budget. Often it is a give and take of ideas that are shaped by both the designer and the client. I genuinely believe that with my long-standing clients, our successful track record is because we make a great team and work well together. Look for a designer who will be a good fit for your personality.

Make sure your Interior Designer is a good listener

Keep in mind; all designers are different. One essential point to note when hiring an Interior Designer is to make sure he or she is a good listener. You want to be sure that your wants and needs are heard and used to make design decisions and purchases.

A good interior designer creates a space that reflects the personal taste of the client. If the client is traditional, it will be traditional. If the client has a contemporary flair, their home should reflect it. All too often, I am asked, “What style do you do?” I do my clients’ styles. I help them make choices that they like and that works for them in the best way possible.

My work is not a reflection of my taste. When my clients love their home, I feel the project was successful. In the end, that is the only thing that matters. Anyone you hire should have a similar outlook and goal.

Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay
Make sure your interior designer listens to your “wants”

Make sure you communicate your “wants” clearly

As important as it is for your designer to be a good listener, it is equally essential for you to be an excellent communicator. Initial consultations are idea sessions in which design goals are determined. You will benefit a lot from providing your designer with a list of wants, “must-haves,” and a budget. It is also helpful to have pictures collected of styles that you like. In this case, pictures are worth a thousand words because sometimes words mean different things to different people.

I have had clients express their taste to me in words. Then came to realize in time that their verbal portrayal was not an accurate description of what they meant. Pictures would have eliminated this communication error and saved us some wasted time. Having a folder of inspiration pictures can give insight to your taste and style. Also, it can help you pinpoint your authentic likes and dislikes. This knowledge will help your designer with shopping selections.

Your designer should be easily accessible, reliable and trustworthy

Often on the job, your contractor will have a question, and you will need to get an answer from your designer as fast as possible. It is best to pick a designer that is good at returning phone calls promptly. Also, you will be making many appointments with your designer. You want to make sure they show up when they say and that you are their priority for that slotted time. Also, you need to be able to trust your designer. You will be writing them checks to make your purchases. You will need to know that you can count on your designer to order on time, and follow through with your project appropriately.

interior designer returning a client call
Image by AllClear55 from Pixabay
Your designer should be easily accessible to answer questions during your project

Establish a Budget

Be sure to establish a budget with your designer. A budget will give your design professional a guideline when developing a plan. It is a good idea for you to do some preliminary footwork to have a sense of a range that things could cost. They will help to make sure your budget is realistic and that you don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you do not have experience with home projects, you may be in for a surprise when you start costing things out. Don’t use television design shows as a guide for the cost to do a project. Prices vary from region to region, and some of the shows omit labor costs. Most importantly, always keep a buffer in the budget for unexpected expenses. Feel free to use my printables to help you with this.

Free printable form for kitchen remodeling budget
Free printable form for kitchen remodeling budget and others available

Hire an Interior Designer

If you are losing sleep and are overwhelmed with a design project, stop! Hire an interior designer. Follow this advice, and you will have a rewarding experience. A designer will make the project fun and take the stress out of it for you. Interior designers are creative people with a keen eye for detail and balance and bring with them much experience. Working with a designer has many benefits, and can keep you from making a costly mistake.

I hope you were able to read last week’s post on clutter. I have been taking my own advice and cleaning out some neglected storage closets in my home. If you have started some organizing projects you may want to check out the Container Store’s blog, it has great ideas!

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Barbara Rose

Hi I am Barbara Rose. I am an Interior Designer and I started design2bhappy to inspire others to think of Interior Design as more than just creating a beautiful home. It is about living comfortably, while being surrounded by things you love. It is about creating an environment that we feel good in while providing a sanctuary to counter- balance the stress that life can throw at us. This blog is aimed at helping others achieve that "there is no place like home" feeling.

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