Thinking about hiring an interior designer can be a little intimidating; but unlike the 'difficult creative genius' types you see in movies, getting help with your decor by a sane and stylish designer is completely do-able in real life. Especially if you know these tips to make the process even smoother.
Not every designer and client is a good match
Like every relationship, it's all about meshing personality and style. As a client, the last thing you want is to wind up in a bad relationship, so you need to get proactive on your first date. Check out your potential designer's portfolio and make sure you like his or her style. Ask about the design process and share important things about what you're looking for and budget restrictions. You are each interviewing the other to make sure that you will be able to work together productively.
Sometimes all you need is a consultation
If you're the type who just needs help to determine a jumping off point (or a firm push) then you may only want help at the beginning of your project. This is called a consultation and it will run you waaay less than hiring a designer to complete the whole job. If you think that's all you want, be upfront about what you're looking for and ask your potential designer what they'd charge for a consultation only.
Indecision makes the job harder (and more expensive)
If you do decide to have someone do the whole job, every time you change your mind, you're adding time and effort to the job and your designer will (justifiably) add more money to your final bill. If something really isn't working and you need to change your plan, that's fine, the middle of the project is a much better time to do it than a month down the road. However, you can save everyone a lot of aggravation by getting really clear about your wants and needs at the very beginning.
Stop trying to copy magazines
It's great to pull pictures as inspiration and examples of things you like, but a magazine picture is not real life. Don't forget that you will have to exist in this space for a long time and you want it to work on many levels (not just visually). You need to talk about things like how many people this room will accommodate and how you hope to use the space, not just what wallpaper you covet.
You don't have to spend the moon
Any designer worth his salt will be able to work within your budget. If you're feeling pressure to spend, spend spend, then you need a new designer. The oft-heard perk that designers get industry discounts does help, although designers also sometimes add on a percentage to cover their own time, so it often comes out about even. Often, hiring a designer is the best way to get the look you want within your budget because they have tons of experience with where to scrimp and where to strategically splurge.
Weigh in! What was your experience like working with an interior designer?