Here’s what you need to know when selecting an interior designer

Interior Designer: Michael Abrams

Selecting an interior designer may seem like a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. All that it requires is some initial research and asking a lot of great questions.

After you’ve perused Refined Haystack, reviewed designers’ websites, and taken a look at their social media channels, you should have a solid list of designers that you want to meet with to discuss the vision for your home.

Once the information gathering and appointment setting is done, it’s time to interview designers to find the very best fit for your project.

But how do you know what questions to ask, especially if you’ve never collaborated with an interior designer before? How can you find the perfect match?

To support homeowners in the search for an interior designer, we’ve created a list of questions to ask that will help better determine which designer is the right fit so you can be confident when signing a contract.

Style + Vision: Finding the right designer to create your dream home

From pre-project questionnaires to sharing inspiration images, every designer has a different way of gathering information from their clients.

No matter the method, it’s important that you’re as specific and straightforward as possible during these conversations. If you struggle communicating your vision, bring examples to share as an aid.

Here are some questions to ask that will help you better determine whether a designer will be able to interpret your style and vision:

  • How will you gather information about my personal style?
  • In what ways will we share ideas throughout the process?
  • How will you come to understand my functional needs?
  • How much involvement will I have in the design process and decision making?
  • What role does your own personal style play in creating a design for a client?

Collaboration: Finding a designer with whom you can easily communicate

Communication styles, project planning, and setting expectations are vitally important aspects of a successful design project. A home might be gorgeous, but if there are miscommunications and difficulties along the way, it makes for a process that isn’t quite the experience you were seeking.

To learn how a designer plans to collaborate with you throughout the duration of the project, ask the following:

  • What methods of communication do you prefer to use with your clients?
  • How often will we connect, and will we meet in person or speak via phone or email?
  • Will I be working directly with you, or with other team members?
  • How will you handle instances in which I don’t like something that has been selected?
  • Can you please take me through the typical life cycle of a project? What are the phases or steps, and what will be required of me during each of those?

Interior Designer: Honsen Interiors

Timeline + Investment: Finding a designer that works with your schedule and budget

You might feel hesitant to discuss pricing and scheduling from the first meeting, but it should truly be one of the first things you cover in your meetings with designers. It shows that you’re a serious potential client, keeps communication open, and helps set expectations from the beginning of the relationship.

Get into the details of timing and budget with these questions:

  • How quickly would you plan to begin work on my project?
  • What would the timeline look like for completion of my project?
  • How do you manage and plan for delays that might occur?
  • What is your billing structure, and what can I expect to see itemized on my bills?
  • Do you require an upfront retainer to begin work on a project?

All of this will help pave the way in your decision making when it comes to hiring your interior designer. You’ll be happier in the end for having these conversations upfront; design is an experience — one that’s meant to be enjoyed fully!

Guest post by Refined Haystack — your guide to the best in local design.


Written by @properties
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate is Chicagoland’s #1 brokerage. Through our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate, our network spans nearly 50 countries. No matter your real estate needs, we’ve got you covered.