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Professional Interior Designers: Why You Need One and How to Find One

Do you ever find yourself standing in a room of your house, wishing you could figure out how to make it look “right”? Do you look at an empty white wall and freeze because there are just too many possibilities? If so, it might be time to consider interviewing some professional interior designers.

Regardless of the scope of your project, having an interior designer on your side will help you achieve the look you want. Reach out to Kym at Design Elements NW for a free consultation to start creating the home of your dreams.

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

Back in the day, the stereotypical interior designer was all about picking drapes and helping a homeowner accessorize. The old sitcom, Designing Women, may come to mind for some people. 

Professional interior designers in previous generations could come across as being over-the-top and only for the immensely wealthy.

Fortunately, modern sensibilities now recognize how valuable a designer is for just about any space. People want interiors that feel comfortable and luxurious and well-planned. They want their areas to feel welcoming and relaxing. Most importantly, homeowners want their spaces to feel right for them.

Gone are the days when an interior designer only considered paint colors and drapery styles.  Today’s professionals can play many roles and work in various settings:

  • Project Manager – Some interior design experts are the general contractor on their projects. They find and hire all of the sub-contractors needed to complete the job. For example, they choose who to use for cabinets, countertops, flooring, and more.
  • Remodel Work – Designers are not only there to help with colors and fabrics. They have the skills to help you envision a whole new space. They can draw up plans that show new layouts and additions.
  • New Construction – Brand new building projects are an excellent opportunity to utilize a professional interior designer. Working from the ground up. Your design expert can help with planning, blueprint assessment, and job completion.
  • Sustainable Building – Interior designers with training in sustainability help you make Earth-friendly choices. Typically, these practices focus on using energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly building materials.
  • Universal Design – This type of design expertise focuses on making spaces accessible to everyone, regardless of age or physical abilities. It is also useful for allowing people to age in place.
  • Corporate Design – Interior designers do not work only in homes. Businesses and government agencies also need these services. Modern corporate and government spaces rely heavily on sustainable, universal design.

How Do Professional Interior Designers Work?

Each professional will have their own process, but in general, you can expect them to touch on each of the following areas.

Initial Consultation

Many designers offer a free short consultation to get the ball rolling. If you decide to move forward, you can expect a much longer and more thorough appointment the next time. The designer is likely to have you fill out a questionnaire to help them understand your wishes and goals. 

This step is when the designer will explain their process, their payment structure, and what you can expect from them. It is also when you should ask any questions you have about how the project will go. Don’t hold back. Construction and remodeling projects have a lot of moving parts, and you deserve to have all the information possible.

Budget Talks

No matter the size of your project or the size of your bank account, you have to set a budget with your designer. This step isn’t the most exciting and glamorous part of the process. But it is one of the most critical steps. It will determine almost every choice as you move forward.

Design Plans and Boards

Your design pro may ask you to start a notebook, file, or Pinterest board filled with examples of looks and styles you like. This collection could include color swatches, fabrics, or pictures from a magazine. If you have a specific statement piece that will be in the room, be sure to share that with the designer.

Eventually, they will create a design plan for you to approve. It may have drawings, 3D renderings, or a physical design board with fabric and countertop options attached. Their plan may include all of those pieces. They won’t move forward with the project until you approve the design.

It is vital to remember that after you give your approval, it is likely that any changes will involve a fee. So work through all the nuances with your designer before you give the green light.

Project Completion

Once you give the plan a thumbs-up, your design professional will work their magic. Depending on the scope of the project, there may be other check-in times along the way. At these points, you may need to approve the next step before work resumes.

For significant remodels or new construction, there will be a lot of people involved in the work. Throughout the project, you may see:

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Flooring Installers
  • Cabinet Makers
  • Window Installers
  • Painters

Final Walkthrough

Once the job wraps up, you and the designer will walk through and check everything. This opportunity lets you enjoy and admire your impressive new space. It also gives you the chance to discuss anything that isn’t quite right or that still needs attention from the design team. 

How Do I Find an Interior Designer?

When it’s time to overhaul your home or start a new building project, you want the best designer for the job. But choosing a professional for the project can feel overwhelming. Here are some steps you can take to be sure you have a great experience.

  • Seek referrals. Your friends and family may have someone they have worked with and can recommend. Asking around is a perfect first step.
  • Ask plenty of questions. When you meet with a prospective designer, ask all you can about their process. You don’t want any surprises down the road.
  • Look at their portfolio. Be sure to ask to see photos of the designer’s work. You want to find someone whose style suits you and your needs.
  • Find someone you connect with personally. You will be spending a significant amount of time with your designer. And you will need to make many decisions together. Be sure you feel comfortable with the person you choose. You want to enjoy a smooth journey to your new beautiful space.

A Design Expert at Your Side

When you need to find an interior designer you can trust, reach out to Design Elements NW. As the premier design firm in Portland, OR, we have the honor of helping our clients create beautiful spaces. We look forward to helping you reclaim the haven in your home.