If I weren't an interior designer, I don't know if I could hire one.
When it comes to hiring a professional of any kind [think doctors, lawyers, mechanics, cosmetologists], a person usually seeks referrals from friends, or family. Sometimes it's a good fit, sometimes not. That's why finding and hiring a designer can be tricky. I say this because I know many of my fellow designers [you know who you are] sell "their look". This isn't a bad thing as most designers have exceptional taste, but it's problematic if it doesn't match their clients. Over the years I've found that most of my clients have really good taste, they just don't know how, or can't conceive how to pull it all together. That's where I come in.
I always stress to my clients that my number one priority is to keep them from making expensive mistakes. My number two priority is to give them the best possible design within the parameters of their taste, not mine. Here are a few pointers for finding a good fit for yourself...
- Ask your potential designer if you can see pictures, or board presentations of work they've done. Most designers will have some sort of portfolio to show you. How diverse is it? A good designer is comfortable working in multiple genres of design., and will tell you so.
- If you found him or her by referral, how did that person find them to work with? Are they reliable? Did they meet, or exceed the expectations?
- What kind of experience do they have? I'll catch some flack for this one, but an education in interior design does not equal taste, creative vision, or integrity. It does however give them a huge "leg up" on product knowledge, practical applications, working with architects and builders, and of course the fundamentals and principals of good design.
- And then of course there's the money. In Part Two of Designer's Choice, I'll clear up the mysteries of how designers make their living...