So you’ve decided to work with an interior designer, good move! That means you already know the benefits of hiring an interior designer….that they will greatly improve your quality of life and enhance your home’s value by updating, upgrading, and transforming your spaces. That they will save you vast amounts of time, money, and stress by helping you to navigate the multitude of design decisions and help you to avoid costly mistakes. To ensure you develop the most positive and productive relationship with your interior designer, I’ve created an important series of posts revealing the most important aspects on how to work with your designer. In this post, I focus on the essential topic of trust, with the 5 key things to know for a great and enduring working relationship!
Your interior designer will be in charge of the look, flow, and quality of one of your most important and treasured investments. So, you’ll need to trust that they will make the hundreds of detailed decisions that goes into the home design process correctly and to your liking. You’ll need to trust that they have the experience and design knowledge to answer and resolve the design questions and challenges that arise during a project expertly and efficiently. You’ll need to trust that they’ll work seamlessly and professionally with your design team, and also bill you appropriately and to the terms of your agreement. That’s a whole lot of trust going on!
When it comes to the billing and purchasing, if you’ve done your homework and asked lots of good questions upfront, you shouldn’t experience any billing surprises. To uncover the key questions to ask a prospective designer during your interview, please read my incredibly insightful post on How to Work With an Interior Designer – The Interview. Understanding how your designer will charge you and how much their fees are is a crucial step in setting the stage for a long lasting and trusting relationship.
I also must note…like with any good relationship, trust works both ways! Your designer also needs to trust you’ll keep your end of the agreement too. For example, if you’ve agreed to have your designer do all the purchasing for your home and you start to make a bunch of purchases, this could create tension in your relationship. Or, if you don’t take your designer’s design advice, second guess them, or overrule them without a discussion first, it’s sure to cause friction. To avoid these detrimental pitfalls, I’ve put together these 5 key points for you to consider when working with your interior designer to ensure you have a great design experience that surpasses your expectations:
Lara's five key points for a great and trusting relationship:
1Do your vetting homework thoroughly upfront.
As I mentioned before and in my separate blog post on interviewing, it’s so important to take your time and ask lots of pertinent questions during your interviews with your prospective interior designers. Make sure to also call their references and view their portfolios to learn as much as you can about their experience, style, processes, and billing practices. Doing this part well will enable you to feel secure about your decision and super trusting in the designer you select before work even begins.
2Adhere to the agreed upon terms of your contract.
If something in your designer’s contract is not quite working for you and you wish to change something, discuss it with your designer to come to a mutual decision on resolving it. Most designers are flexible and very willing to accommodate reasonable requests. I know that addressing money issues can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but discussing your concerns in a calm and rational manner is usually all it takes to fix issues. Remember, interior designers want to keep their clients, (you!) happy, so it’s in their best interests to thoughtfully come to a resolution if an issue arises.
3Believe in your designer’s design decisions, they really do know what they’re doing!
You hired your designer (hopefully!) because you loved their work, have extensive design experience, and got rave reviews from their references. Constantly second guessing your designer’s decisions, or worse over-riding them, is sure to cause a slow death to your relationship and could harm the outcome of your project. If you’re uncomfortable about something, tell your designer why and ask them to further explain their design plan. Sometimes some additional information is all that is needed to see that they have good reasons for their suggestions. Remember, interior designers always have the big picture in mind. Our unique talent is that we can piece together all the little details while always knowing what the total room design will end up looking like in the end. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask your questions, even if you think they’re silly. A good designer is happy to educate you and keep you in the loop on everything that’s happening with your home!
Building, renovating, and designing is a long, messy, and often stressful process. Sometimes it seems that progress is not happening or things are even moving backwards. Experienced interior designers are used to the ebbs, flows, and surprises that typically occur during home design projects. Therefore, they can create a realistic project schedule for you. This can help you immensely to manage your expectations and reduce stress. We are not magicians, but we can (and should!) educate you on the process so you know what to expect and therefore will enable you to be patient with the process and trust that it’s moving along at the appropriate pace.
5Don’t take too long to make decisions.
Sometimes clients are afraid of making mistakes and therefore will have trouble making decisions. This is when you really need to trust your designer’s talent and knowledge. It’s also a main reason why you’ve hired a designer in the first place! Not being able to make timely decisions will cause delays of your project and can ultimately sabotage your schedule. Again, if you’re unsure about something you’re designer is specifying, communicate your concerns and allow them to explain the reasoning behind it. It’s worth reiterating that since we designers always have the big picture, or “end game” in mind, there’s usually a good reason behind all our choices.
I hope you found this post helpful! I’d love to hear about your interior design experiences, thoughts, or relevant questions in the comment box below ☺