Ask a Designer: Your Top Questions, Answered
If you’ve ever wondered how the mind of an interior designer works before you start making calls and spending money, we’ve got answers.
First, should you even consider working with an interior designer? That depends a lot on the scale of the project and your handiness level ( let’s face it, most of us are not) Tom Silva. But generally, a designer will not only give you a realistic idea of what you can do with your space, they will guide you through difficult decisions, and ensure that your ideas come to life in a cohesive way. Just because you have good taste doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from expert suggestions! You’re still in charge, but a designer will almost certainly come up with ways to make all of your thoughts come together seamlessly in ways you’d never expect.
Designers wear many hats. They have established relationships with contractors they trust, or work for a company that also employs the contractor (and subcontractor) team. They will be the essential project management lead and project coordinator you’ll need with any size project.
We asked a real-life interior designer in Phoenix, Arizona to get the answers every homeowner needs in order to successfully engage with a designer.
What are some must-haves that a potential client should prepare before their first meeting with you?
We love a client that comes with a wish list, a timeline, inspiration pictures to share their vision, and a budget. Every project has a budget — even those at the top tier, and it is essential that we know where our clients feel most comfortable so that we can best serve their goals.
Photo credit: Jaimee Rose Interiors
What are the most important questions you wish clients would ask?
We have extensive question-and-answer sessions with our clients and make sure we cover it all — I used to be a journalist, and those interviewing skills are one of my best assets as a designer.
Some of the most essential questions are simple things:
1. Do you have an aging parent that may live with you or spend significant time in your home? (If so, we design a beautiful, but safe, bathroom.)
2. Is the primary cook left-handed or right-handed?
3. What's more important to you: maintenance or beauty?
4. How do you want your home to feel when you walk in?
How do you adjust your style for different clients so they get exactly what they want — but you're still happy with the overall look?
We do extensive interviews reviewing inspiration photos and design boards until we've created a space that makes them happy.
We design spaces for our clients, not for ourselves. We don't show them items that we don't encourage. If we feel things are heading in an unwise direction, I tell the client kindly and help them find something else that they love.
Photo credit: Jaimee Rose Interiors
What are some fun design trends you're excited about this year? We love the new Pantone Color of the Year; what else do you turn to for inspiration?
I find the most inspiration from travel, and taking cues from history, since we root all of our designs in classicism. We try to stay far away from trends, but we sure do love all of the wallpaper and clean lines that we see everywhere!
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