10 Tips to Remember when Engaging an Interior Designer

An interior designer with the right experience and knowledge can make your dream home a reality. Here are ten tips to guide you through this project.

Seeking a professional interior designer for the task in Singapore may be a daunting prospect; understandable, given that this is tantamount to entrusting another person with the right to build the home one would be living in for a long time to come. However, with sufficient preparation, the engagement of an interior designer will yield the best results, without necessarily invoking the troubles one may fear from this prospect. Here are ten tips to keep in mind when it comes time to hire a professional to decorate your home for you:

1. Know what you want

Before you begin, have a clear picture of the kind of home you want in mind. If you go to an interior designer without a clue as to what you’re looking for, the interior designer will have to spend time helping you to narrow down your choices; a waste of the designer’s time, and your time AND money. It can be as simple as collecting samples from magazines and coffee-table books which strikes your fancy, and showing them to the designer.

2. Make a list of potential interior designers

Do your research; make a list of interior design companies and freelance designers whom you think might be suitable for the job of bringing your dream home into existence. Search on the Internet, look through books and magazines pertaining to interior design, search through the classifieds, keep an ear out for word-of-mouth... it should not be difficult to come up with a tentative list of candidates before long. Narrow down your choices to several of the most suitable designers, whom you think may have what it takes.

3. Mind your budget

Keep your budget in mind, and ensure you stay within your means. Remember to communicate this to whoever is your chosen interior designer, for this will help save time for both yourself and the latter, and avoid unnecessary time wasted being shown ideas beyond your price range. Also remember that this budget also has to take the designer’s fees into account; interior designers have different rates and may not always charge the same way, so make sure to enquire thoroughly about the cost for their services. There are many local reported complains in Singapore about extra charges incurred after completion, and thus safer to avoid such problems and misunderstandings.

4. Have a realistic timeline

Reality TV, contrary to its name, does not reflect reality; homes do not undergo a radical transformation in the span of a weekend. Be advised that depending on the scope of the work, home decoration is going to take a good amount of time; set aside 2-3 months for a single room, and more than a year for an entire home.

5. Check out their portfolios

Now you’re ready to pick the interior designer you’re going to entrust your home to! To begin with, take a look at their portfolios; their past projects can tell you a lot about their capabilities and suitability. Is there anything they’ve done that you like? Do they have much experience in home decor? Anything they’ve done that looks like the kind of home you’re looking for?

6. Ensure that they have the appropriate credentials

Don’t forget to make sure that the interior designer you’ve set your sights on is actually accredited for his line of work. Every country and state has its own set of credentials for interior designers; check that the designer has the appropriate qualifications and certificates, or you may end up with substandard work courtesy of a fly-by-night operation.

7. Make sure they have the appropriate insurance

While you’re checking over their qualifications, you may as well find out if the interior designer has the appropriate insurances for their profession while you’re at it. The best-laid plans don’t survive contact with the battlefield, or in this case the actual work of setting up the home, so the possession of insurance can buy peace of mind at least. This also goes for the contractors that would be engaged to refit the home in time.

8. First impressions count

Once you have made a shortlist, it’s time to see for yourself just how professional they are in their line of work. Set up appointments with the interior designers in your shortlist, and ask them for ideas. Does the designer look competent and professional? How did the designer deal with issues that cropped up in previous projects? Does the designer listen to your needs and concerns?

9. Communication is key

Once you have decided on the interior designer, be sure to work with him or her every step of the way. If you see something you like or otherwise, speak up about it. Worried about how that nice sofa will hold up under the depredations of your highly destructive kids? Let the designer know. Source the designer for ideas, make sure the latter knows what you need, and understands what you want.

10. Trust your interior designer

Finally, if you’ve done your homework up to this point, trust the designer you’ve chosen for the project of creating your dream home. Make your own suggestions whenever necessary, but don’t make it a point to question every decision made by the designer. Don’t get in the designer’s way, since that will just cause needless frustration on both sides. Just let the designer work his or her own magic on your home, and you’ll be all the more grateful for it.



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