Four questions to ask before you appoint an Interior Designer
Choosing the right interior designer for your project is crucial for getting the home transformation of your dreams. A good designer will create a home for you that not only looks better, but helps you to live better too. This is what we mean at Sturman & Co. when we say that our mission is to help our clients to, 'Live Beautifully'. But whoever you appoint, here are four questions we think you should ask before starting a project.
1. How do they approach their design work?
All Interior Designers work in slightly different ways depending on the nature and scale of the projects that they work on. Figure out whether the designer works in a way that is suitable for your needs.
At Sturman & Co. we specialise in larger (often heritage) renovation projects, where we offer a complete end-to-end service, integrating our design work with architects to collaborate at the start, then selecting and coordinating contractors during planning stages, to checking every last detail at the final implementation phase. This means we will manage every aspect of your interior design and installation for you, so you can take a hands-off approach, or get more involved alongside us with design decisions as you wish.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of highly-skilled freelancers around, who will give you a helping hand to sense-check your views and share their experience and 'eye'. Most will not have our priority access to a wide network of trades and won't have expertise in large-scale project management or the technical issues that arise on larger projects, but their consultancy fee reflects this.
It's not 'better or worse' but horses for courses, where getting the right fit for your project is the best starting point.
2. How do they charge for work and how can they support with budget planning?
The way that an interior designer charges varies from one practice to the next and there is no right or wrong way. What’s important is finding the practice that charges in a way that best suits your needs.
At Sturman & Co., cost transparency and budget planning is a crucial part of our process. We charge professional fees for our design work and apply a set formula to our costs for installation. We also have various tools that we use at the outset of a project to support with budget planning and would always discuss this with anyone who is considering a project with Sturman & Co. If you like to ponder and try out different options, a business model where you only pay for the items you purchase may work out better for you.
The key point here is not how much you are paying, but whether you are comfortable with how you are being charged? There is, after all, no such thing as "free" design. The costs of this service are usually hidden in a mark-up somewhere, which could mean you are not getting such good value from your purchases as you may have hoped.
3. How long they have been in practice and what examples of similar work can they share with you?
Experience is invaluable in this industry so make sure that you challenge your Interior Designer to provide examples of similar projects that they have worked on and also to show you how they are rated within their industry.
It’s also worth checking out reviews to get an insight into their client’s experience of working with the designer, perhaps even asking for references. You can take a look at reviews of Sturman & Co. by visiting [Sturman & Co. Houzz] and we are also accredited by the BIID, which is our professional body and operates stringent entrance criteria and professional standards we must work to.
4. Do you feel you could collaborate well with the designer?
Transforming your property can be a lengthy process so you need to trust the team you engage, whilst enjoying the journey as it unfolds. A good designer will take the time to get to know you and your family and what makes you tick, using this information to inform their designs. Make sure you feel a connection with the designer before you embark on the journey together. This is, after all, is an investment in your ultimate lifestyle, so you need to have a great working relationship with your designer and a good chemistry to start with.