How to Select a Designer


Hiring the right designer for your decorating/remodeling project can save you time and money. Designers can help you stay on budget, manage the work of other professionals, and steer you away from inexperienced craftsmen and painters. They can also trim costs by helping you work with what you have. Should you need products, a designer can utilize their wide range of resources to obtain items (often at a discount), that you might not have access to on your own.

Once you’ve decided to utilize the services of an interior designer, it’s important to find one that will meet your needs and expectations. Below are some important points to consider at each stage of the process.

Before You Begin
Before contacting an interior designer, you should have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. Search through magazines for examples of what you are looking for and make a list of the areas and items you want included in the project. It is also important to have a budget and time frame in mind.

Starting Your Search is a great place to start your designer search. Click on the Locate A Designer tab to access designer portfolios by proximity. The portfolios provide you with important information on a designer’s style, qualifications, and experience that can help narrow your search.

Interviewing Designers
Once you’ve found a couple designers that meet your criteria, you should take the time to interview them. Acquaint the designer with your project, request an estimate, and learn more about their services, experience, professional affiliations, time availability, and fee structure. During the interview, you might want to get a list of references as well.

Hiring a Designer
After interviewing designers, reviewing estimates, and calling referrals, it is time to make a decision. Keep in mind that a more experienced or better qualified designer may cost more, but might be timelier in completing your project or have access to better quality materials and craftsmen.

Once a designer has been hired, it is important to ask them for a contract that defines the responsibilities, time frame, and budget limits. It is best to have a signed contract before any work begins or any money is exchanged.

Project Budget
As the client, you should play an active role in developing the budget. A designer can help assess your needs and determine where you should spend and where you can save. They can also assist in prioritizing your expenses and developing a long-range plan to help optimize your budget.

The Designer’s Fee
A designer’s fee is influenced by many different factors, including experience, reputation, skills, and specialty areas. Most interior designers, and many commercial designers, charge a fixed fee (a total fee that covers a complete range of costs, exclusive of reimbursement for expenses), an hourly fee (based on time expended by the designer) or cost plus (the price of materials, furnishings and outside services plus a specified percentage). It is becoming more common for a designer to charge an hourly rate and cost plus for products.

Many designers require a retainer before beginning a design project. This amount is applied to the balance due at the end of the project. It is usually paid upon the signing of the contractual agreement.

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Helios Carpet