Everything you should know before hiring an interior designer for your next project.

If you’re considering designing your space but have questions, this guide will help cover all the ‘ins and outs’ of hiring and working with an interior designer. Using a professional interior designer is the surest way to achieve stunning results, but what do they really do for you? How much does it cost?

Now you can get answers to these questions and more to help prepare for your upcoming design project. You’ll learn from our award-winning interior design firm who has compiled over twenty-five years of industry expertise into this must-have resource. We hereby present to you, Everything you need to know about hiring an interior designer.

The Hidden Power of Interior Design

Interior design transformations can be exceptionally rewarding. Whether you’re a homeowner or in charge of corporate space, your interior design is a reflection of you. It’s a sensory display of your creativity, drive, passions and accomplishments. It’s where you find beauty, peace, solitude and daily inspiration. It invokes many emotions from you and all who encounter it.

Most of us are motivated to design our home or office interiors because we want our space to look great. It’s where we spend most of our time so we’re compelled to act. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. On the surface, we’re drawn to a design or arrangement that is simply beautiful and then we get inspired. What also occurs is that subconsciously, our minds see a design as “beautiful” because of how it makes us feel. Our eyes see beauty, while the mind sees an environment where we’ll be more comfortable, think more clearly and function better.

A well-designed space combines many aesthetic elements including color, scale, texture combinations, lighting, furnishings, layout and function. When brought together properly, they create an elevated standard of living. One where you have better performance, more clarity and a masterful space that’s unique, beautiful and powerful.

Back to the top

A Designer’s Tip: Choosing a Design Style

As you’re thinking about your space and the creativity is flowing, make sure you review numerous design styles. This is a vital part of the creative process and is often key to your inspirations. However, most people forget to consider the newest design styles.

No one wants to find a great inspiration after their design is done. So you should expose yourself to the very best there is before selecting a design style. The best way to do this is to keep your eye on the interior design industry’s cutting edge. Each and every year the international design market comes out with stunning new furnishings. New materials broaden a designer’s creative scope and help each interior to be unique and amazing in its own right. There are new, unseen designs being created right now that include the newest inspirations. Will yours be one?

Additional Resources:

See the Latest Design Trends

Back to the top

Different Types of Interior Designers

After considering your design style, it’s time to decide if you’re going to do it alone or hire a professional. There are different types of design talent including interior designers, interior decorators and the often heard, “friend of a friend who has an eye” or another common one is, ”he/she has a real knack for design.” But how do you know which is the right one to choose? Let’s take a look at the different types and what makes them unique.


Do-It-Yourself or “DIY” is a category for people who like to roll up their sleeves. For some, it can be one of the most rewarding projects they undertake. However, it can also be full of pitfalls. DIYers have full autonomy to develop the creative designs, but have less ‘insider advantages’ so they usually tend to smaller projects. For example, they won’t have access to exclusive materials or furnishings that aren’t offered to the general public.

Cost: $0/hr.

Interior Decorators

Interior decorators are adequate for smaller projects such as accessorizing, window treatments, paint, wallpaper, and general decor items. However, they don’t have the training or certifications to handle the construction elements of a remodel. If you need to add a new room, tear down a wall, or modify your structure you’re going to need a certified interior designer. Decorators can give you a flashy upgrade, but make sure your check their background and credentials before committing to a project.

Cost: $50-$150/hr.

Professional Interior designers

Professional interior designers can handle projects of all sizes and are versed in several different design styles. They know how to make projects successful, have a team and are skilled at weathering through project challenges.

They work in more than one venue such as residential, commercial, new construction and remodel. They’re used to reading and reviewing architectural plans and advising at different levels of each project.

They have a college degree with a major in Interior Design. They maintain industry standards and can have certifications in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), International Furnishing and Design Association (IFDA) and other professional affiliations. They may carry ROC licenses in order to specify materials. They’re skilled in architecture, and often computer-aided-design (CAD) programs. They’re also a great resource for helping you find other professionals that might be needed for a project.

While their rate is higher than an interior decorator, interior designers have the full range of skills and expertise required to offset costs, and perform large-scale and premium interior design projects.

Cost: $250-$500/hr.

Deciding whether you’re going to do it yourself, or enlist the help of a professional is a critical step to ensuring a successfully completed interior design project. Try to match the one you feel will produce the best results for your design goals.

Back to the top

Tips for Working with Interior Designers

If you haven’t worked with a professional interior designer before, it can be helpful to understand what the experience is like. You’ll get more comfortable with the process, what they’re doing for you, and how you can best work together.

1. Upon initial contact with the interior designer be honest and open about what your needs are. Even if you’re not quite sure, you can just scream….HELP!! They will understand. A designer is there to help you so the more clearly they understand your needs, the better it is for you.

2. Designers not only help you with putting together great colors, textures and styles, they also serve as project managers which is an important part of a successful project.

3. Your input is the foundation to the outcome of your project, however most Interior designers like to have creative control. A designer will help educate you on the process initially and should make it easy for you to understand. If you have trouble trusting the process and the design professional, or have a hard time making decisions, it can bring on costly delays and stifle design creativity. Determine how much involvement you would like in the process early on.

4. Some Interior designers have special design signatures, while others work in a variety of styles. Don’t be shy to ask questions and above all view their portfolio and reviews.

5. A good interior designer loves the work they do and spends many hours making sure that what they do – they do best! A positive “get to it” attitude is always a good sign, because it means they are confident they can help and are interested in making a difference.

Additional resources:
The Impact of Color and Interior Design
Specialty Design: Wellness Interior Design

Back to the top

Top Advantages of Hiring an Interior Designer

There can be a lot to think about as you prepare for your upcoming design project. While it’s an exhilarating experience, it can be overwhelming at times. If you feel like there’s a lot of details, don’t worry. That’s one of the main benefits of hiring a professional. Their job is to provide you with some premium advantages.

1. Your design firm will help you layout the appropriate steps when approaching your project.
2. Your interior designer and their team will help you to put together a plan that is creative and right for you.
3. Your design team will help you apply an appropriate budget for your project.
4. Your design team not only designs, but also manages all the aspects of the project thereby taking the stress, wasted time and worry out of it for you.
5. Your design team will deliver amazing results.

Additional resources:
Interior Design: See the Before and After

Back to the top

How to Hire the Perfect Interior Designer 

After you’ve decided to use an interior design firm for your project, it’s time to choose one. They range greatly in expertise, specialty and cost. So how do you find the best one? Use the below checklist to help identify the designer that’s a perfect fit for you.

1. Start by checking references and reviews, find out how long they’ve been in business, and look at their portfolio. This will get you headed in the right direction and you’ll determine that you’ve found an established, reputable, qualified designer that can produce the result you’re looking for.

2. Ask if they have professional affiliations. At a minimum, are they ASID certified? There are many certifications an interior designer can earn, but you’ll want the peace of mind that comes from a designer that has obtained the industry’s most thorough and long-lasting benchmark for interior design standards and quality. It’s a great first accomplishment for many interior designers, and a good sign of quality work.

3. Do you connect with them upon initial contact? This is important because anytime you embark on a new project, you want to make sure it’s a smooth process. Should something come up along the way, do you think your designer will handle it and be flexible? Or does it seem like it’s going to be a difficult journey together? Much like spotting that perfect design, it’s best to go with your gut instinct.

4. Does the designer have good energy and vibes? This helps make sure your designer is aligned with your personality. Your space will be a reflection of your unique creativity so make sure you and your designer feel right together. This is something you’ll determine after having a consultation with your prospective interior designer.

5. Does the designer have time for your project? Don’t forget that interior designers are running a business too, and they manage some extremely detailed projects. So take the time to talk about the timeline for your project. Do they have time to complete it prior to your deadline? And does it seem like your project is one they’re passionate about?

6. Is the designer receptive to you sharing your thoughts and ideas? Some people prefer to have an interior designer take care of everything. Some prefer to be very involved in the details alongside their designer. It’s important to discuss this with your designer upfront.

7. Does the interior designer have prior expertise fulfilling projects with your desired style? There really is no substitute for experience when it comes to interior design. So make sure your designer has produced the same or similar designs and within a similar project scope.

8. Do the interior designer’s fee schedules work with your project budget? It’s important to be comfortable with your designer’s fees from the get go. If not, it’s only bound to create issues or frustration down the road. If there’s a fee or cost you don’t understand, take a moment to ask if they can elaborate on it.

9. Does the designer have multiple ways for you to contact them? Are they personable and confident on the phone? If you were not able to reach them at first attempt, did they respond back in a timely manner? Do they seem happy that you called? These are good signs to help you determine their professionalism ahead of time.

10. Always go with your instinct. It’s important to keep in mind that when you invite an interior designer into your personal space often this person becomes an integral part of your life. Sometimes forever. Clients and designers often get very attached, so it is good to go with your instinct.

Back to the top

How to Prepare for your Interior Design Consultation

When you’re paying for a professional’s time, you want to get the most expertise from them as possible. Most interior design consultations last one hour and although you’ll gain lots of great insight from them, it’s important to be prepared. Take some time to review, and then act on the following tips. You’ll get your project started off on the right foot and put your design team in a great position to succeed.

1. Identify the design professional or firm you would like to work with. Expect to pay a design fee for an initial consultation.

2. If you’re doing a remodel and you’re lacking ideas about which contractor you should use, ask your interior designer for guidance. They’ll help you understand how to interview and select a contractor. They usually have key people that they have relationships with who can make this process easier.

3. Collect inspirational photos from the web to share with your designer during your initial consultation.

4. Identify what times you’re available during the work week and weekends so you can meet for your initial consultation. Designers work many hours so often they’ll charge an additional fee if they have to meet outside of regular office hours.

5. Make a priority list of what you want to get accomplished and have an idea of your budget parameters. If you’re not sure, an interior designer should be able to help you estimate a realistic budget based upon your expectations.

6. Consider a timeframe and time of year you would like your projected to be completed in.

7. Decide the level of involvement you want to have in the project. Do you want to be very involved, a little involved or not involved at all?

Additional resources:
Learn more about Interior Design Fees

Back to the top

“Your project implementation is where the really heavy lifting begins for your designer” – Athena Vigil, ASID, IFDA

What to Expect During your Design Project

It can be helpful to understand what to expect while your interior design and remodel project is underway. Your project can take a few weeks, or it may take months depending on the size. Getting familiar with the process early on can create more comfort and clarity as your project progresses.

Site Review and Consultation

On-site design consultations are very rewarding for both you and your interior designer. Here, the collaboration establishes a) the vision you shared for your project and b) the scope of work for your designer. It’s a fun and energizing moment when discussing what your space can become!

Design Planning

This is the most critical step to ensuring your end result is achieved while avoiding costly mistakes along the way. Your designer will help create a plan that is tailored to your needs with a clear, step-by-step path to complete your project. This requires extensive time from the designer and includes lots of research, design creation, planning and budgeting.

Design Review

Once a design is created your designer will contact you for a preliminary design review. This is the second best day for design clients and their designer as they get to unveil the long hours of work they’ve invested into creating your design. A visual layout with materials, drawings, photographs, fabrics and finishes are typically provided. This gives you a tactile experience with the materials so you can experience them and feel the connection.

Project Implementation

Now this is where the really heavy lifting begins for your interior designer. Once you’ve signed off on your new design, it’s your designer’s responsibility to make sure the vision is implemented correctly. This is no small task! A designer works with a variety of sources, contractors, teams, companies and people to turn your vision into reality.

The MOST rewarding day for you and your designer is when your completed project is revealed to you. You should expect to say “Best day ever!!!!!”

Back to the top

“Expect some hurdles along the way and have faith in your team that they will rise to the occasion.” – Athena Vigil, ASID, IFDA

Avoiding Obstacles During your Interior Design Project

Once your interior design project is underway, it’s important to remember obstacles can arise. This is true for any large project, and interior design is no different. But you can still benefit from knowing about common hurdles ahead of time. Take a moment to review the most common issues that can occur during an interior design project and how you can avoid them.

1. Assemble an interior designer and contractor you trust as your lead team.

2. Always be upfront and honest about your project requirements, budget and timelines. A good designer will be honest if either of these don’t match the amount of work and materials required to produce good results.

3. Make sure you’re available for questions when your team needs them answered along the way. Be sure your answers are timely and concise.

4. Once design work and bids are presented by your team, be sure to respond quickly with approvals. This will have an effect on staying on track and not losing the rhythm of your project.

5. Expect some hurdles along the way and have faith in your team that they will rise to the occasion.

Remember, one of the main reasons you’re hiring them is to handle the headaches of the project. So expect them to make the best decisions on your behalf, but there are times when they can’t move forward until they have input from you. The best advice for eliminating obstacles within your project is to keep open and prompt lines of communication with your design team.

Back to the top


There’s many important things to consider before your upcoming interior design and remodel project. By now you should have a good expectation of whether an interior designer is right for you. You should also have a better comfort level for what it’s like to work with one, how to hire one, what to expect and how to position yourself for success.

With so many questions answered, now you can put your mind at ease and get back to the fun and exciting part of creating your next design!

Want to improve how you think, feel and function with masterful interior design? Schedule an interior design consultation with Interiors Remembered today!