Your home is your castle. It, therefore, stands to reason that there’s a whole industry dedicated to ensuring we decorate and furnish our abodes in the best possible way.
Some people prefer to do this themselves, but if the thought of designing the interior of your home singlehandedly fills you with dread, or if you fear you don’t have the creative mindset required to make your home a stunning place to relax, work and entertain, you’ll need help.
Thankfully, interior designers are relatively easy to come by these days and the best can turn even the humblest of abodes into beautiful castles fit for kings and queens.
This blog post is designed for anyone who’s considering hiring an interior designer but hasn’t had prior experience dealing with someone from that trade.
What does an interior designer do?
Interior designers work with their clients (be they businesses or homeowners) to create rooms and spaces that are aesthetically pleasing.
They’re capable of marrying good looks to functionality, which is why the best interior designers will ensure your house looks fantastic, without making it an impractical space in which to live.
The rooms interior designers create are as varied as the types of client they work with. They range from simple indoor spaces, to vast lobbies and entire mansions.
However, for most of us, an interior designer will be tasked with turning a modest home into something far more spectacular.
But, what does an interior designer do beyond the obvious stuff? Well, good interior designers also have safety at the forefront of their mind, and will ensure the elements they add to your home are in the best interests of your family’s wellbeing.
Most interior designers will spend a great deal of time with you during the planning phase. They’ll want to hear about your likes, dislikes, and the way in which you’d like to see the house flourish.
Plans will then be drawn up, along with mood boards and suggested sources of inspiration. Once you’re happy with the theme, choice of colours and any additional building work or furnishings required, the interior designer will work with trades to ensure the job is completed as envisioned.
How much does it cost to hire an interior designer?
Before seeking quotes for interior design, it’s sensible to work out a budget.
Like anything relating to home renovation, you’ll have a finite amount of cash you’ll want to spend, and it’s vital you take time to assess the affordability of the project.
Draw up a realistic budget, but maintain a bit of headroom. Projects rarely go one-hundred percent to plan and some extra expense relating to unforeseen issues or mid-project design changes will almost certainly be needed.
With your budget in hand, you can start the process of finding an interior designer (see below).
But, what should you expect, price-wise? If you’ve tried to search for interior design fees online, you’ll no doubt have discovered that it’s a pretty tricky task, because few people in this industry will advertise their rates.
This is usually because they’ll quote on a per-job basis. The price you pay will be entirely dependent on what it is you want undertaking, how long it’ll take and the types of material and furnishings you desire.
The cost of your interior design will also be determined by some other factors, such as the designer’s expertise, their experience and exactly how hands-on you’ll need them to be after the design process is complete.
Although not guaranteed, there are three potential ways an interior designer will charge you:
1) Fixed. This is where the designer will multiply the estimated time required by their hourly (or daily) rate. It’s a good way for you to budget, as you’ll have a solid figure to work from, but there will probably be some caveats relating to work outside the agreed project.
2) Time taken. Another common method for charging, this is where you’ll agree an hourly rate with the interior designer with a rough estimation of how long it’ll take. As a result, you may pay in stages throughout the project, and the bill might be more (or less) than you expect at the end. Expect to pay anywhere between £50 to £150 per hour.
3) Room-by-room. If your project is relatively small and straightforward, some interior designers might suggest that you pay them a fixed fee per room. Expect to pay anywhere between £300-£500 per room, depending on the size.
Good interior designers should be prepared to negotiate – particularly if the project is of a significant size. Make sure you shop around, too, and avoid opting for the first person you find (no matter how nice they seem!).
How to find a good interior designer
Before you hit the internet and start searching for your interior designer, there’s some homework you need to do.
Start by noting down answers to the following questions:
What exactly do you want doing, room-by-room?
How long do you expect the job to take? Must it be done by a certain date?
Are you open to input from others?
How much do you want to be involved personally in the creative process?
How much do you want to be involved in any research relating to furnishings?
Are you a visual person, or do you prefer to get your hands on stuff? Will you be happy enough be shown concepts or would you rather see things ‘in the flesh’?
How directly do you want the interior designer to be involved during any building work that results from their designs?
Once you have answers to the above, you can confidently approach the market and provide any prospective interior designers with everything they’ll need to both assess their suitability for the job and provide you with a relevant, fair price.
There’s a few ways to find an interior designer. You can start by researching online. Our advice would be to look locally, in order to avoid paying through the nose for people to travel and meet you at your home.
The interior designers worth investing in will be those with attractive websites and plenty of genuine customer testimonials (if possible, ask to speak to their past customers to make your own judgement).
It’s also worth speaking to people in the trade. If, for example, you know of a builder or architect (either in the family, or who has done good work for you in the past), they may have a contact you can speak to, and there’s nothing quite like personal recommendations.
Just remember to get more than one quote. Three or four is a good base from which to work and will give you a broad scope of potential suitors.
How long does the interior design process take?
This depends entirely on the size of the job in question, your budget and the competencies of the interior designer.
From the outset, it’s sensible to ask this question of your shortlisted interior designers. How long do they think it’ll take? If they’re experienced, they should be able to give you a pretty reliable estimate.
Interior design will typically take a few weeks to bottom out all of the details, but it can be quicker if the project is small. The key here is to not rush it, because interior design is something you really don’t want to get wrong.
You’ll be living with the results of your interior designer’s hard work for many years. So, enjoy the process, but use our tips above to ensure you’re left with something you love deeply.