Everyone would like to keep interior design fees low, and it is possible with these 7 tips! People often ask how much design services will cost, and how to keep the interior design fees low. The total will depend a great deal on you, the homeowner, and it's not at all based on what you'd think!
Below we list 7 tips to help insure that design consultations are an efficient use of time. An efficient use of time will benefit both you and the designer!
7 helpful tips to keep design fees reasonable:
1) Communicate with your spouse beforehand.
Anyone who is involved in the decision making process should talk before your first meeting with a designer. You may even want to provide two separate lists for each of your goals. A qualified designer will find ways to provide solutions that appeal to both parties!
2) Convey your personality.
Gather photos, a few that convey your favorite colors and rooms. This is much more helpful than general words such as "we like greens and tans". You know the saving, "A picture is worth a THOUSAND words".
3) Communicate Function.
How will you use the room? Think about how you need the room to function. Do you need to seat 8 to 10 people, or is it more important to your that the lounge chairs are generous in size? Do you need the sofa & rug to be child and pet friendly? Do you have allergies? All this can be helpful information for an interior designer.
4) Don't make impulse purchases!!
This one may surprise you, often people think it's smart to do some shopping before the designer starts the project. But this one is the biggest and most important cause for a designer to have to work MORE hours. Here's some examples....
Often we'll walk into a home for the first time, to see what a homeowner already had delivered. They'll express words like "it's way too big, isn't it?" or "the swatch looked so different that it does on the entire window", or "The furniture store designer said the fabric is durable, do you agree? People often spend money on things they regret, then call a designer after they realize it doesn't look the way they hoped it would, or isn't as durable as they hoped... It would be much more cost effective to see what sofa (or rug or lighting or drapes) the designer can provide. Why?
Because of the following ...
a) Designers have access to more. They are constantly in showrooms, trade shows, and stores. Often they travel to markets all over the nation. Sources that sell to the trade only open a vast new window of amazing options. Once the designer knows your budget, they can tell you what options will fit within the budget.
b) A qualified designer has years of experience. They have learned what people love and what size/scale/colors/textures work well together.
c) An experienced designer has seen thousands of BEFORE and AFTER rooms. They can help you visualize end results and their "vision".
d) They know what to avoid!!
Those things that would back you into a corner. For example that rug which is VERY hard to work with, or not durable, or too trendy. These type purchases makes the designer have to work harder and more hours "to pull it all together" and to make the rooms "make sense" or "flow". So, before assuming the designer's furniture, art or fabrics will be too expensive, ask them what they can provide! You may just be pleasantly surprised!
5) Use the time wisely.
Designers can cover a tremendous amount of information in an hour. We cover so much, in fact, that homeowners often say they wish they had taken notes.
6) Use them for their talent.
People often ask us to find things like a metal bed frame, or a washer and dryer. It's fine if that's your choice, if not, it's a great place to save money. If you're willing to do some technical research about sizes, reviews (such as which washing machine is rated high by consumer reports and which one will fit in your space) this is an area you can save money.
7) Find a designer that stocks product.
If you have trouble visualizing, you'll appreciate a designer that can show you actual merchandise (such as art, lighting, fabrics, end tables) actually in your home. This is much easier than trying to order from photos!
Traditional Home (below cover) said it best, a qualified designer can have "a discerning design eye - the ability to walk into a house and see past it's glaring design flaws to the potential beyond".
A good interior designer will help you think outside the box. To find the best one in your area, check their portfolio, web site, and blog. Look at their before and after pictures which show what they're capable of, even when the client's budget forced them to keep the old mantle, or the same sofa, etc.
A good portfolio should reflect all of the following:
1) That the designer can work with a variety of styles.
Does their web site show modern to traditional? Family friendly to luxurious?
2) That they can work with a variety of budgets!
Is their experience with high end only? Or does their portfolio show they made strides even when they were forced to use certain elements the client could not change?
3) That they will LISTEN to you, and understand your goals.
Do their reviews indicate they truly listen regarding budgets, timing, function, and your taste?
To keep interior design fees low, it's all about using time efficiently, and good communication. Find a designer who will really listen and communicate well. Their experience will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.