Elite Pro Interview: How to hire a great interior designer for your home

Hiring an interior designer is a smart move if you want your home to look its best. Even if you have a natural flare for decorating, drafting in a professional can be an easy way to save time and money.

Whether you already have an idea of what you want, or are starting the project from scratch, a skilled interior designer will work with you to create the home of your dreams.

Here’s what three of our Elite Pros have to say about the best way to hire an interior designer for your next home makeover project.

What services can an interior designer provide?

You can hire an interior designer for projects of all shapes and sizes, from renovating a single room to an ongoing relationship to help you reimagine your living space many times over the years.

But whatever the scope of your home improvement project, the role your interior designer will play can be broken down into three phases: 1) concept design, 2) detailed specifications and 3) implementation.

“Implementation sources and delivers all goods and provides input to the build process on site if required,” explains Decodence’s Elina Helenius. “The concept provides an idea of the desired end state – finishes, materials and layout. The detailed design provides drawings for layout changes.”

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Decodence cultivated an air of class for this boutique winery

What should you ask before hiring someone as your interior designer?

Before you begin contacting interior designers, you should have a rough idea of what your home improvement project will involve. Take a look at the space and think about which features you’re ready to change, as well as what impact your lifestyle will have on the finished space.

“Give the designer as much information as you can – including budget, styles, colours, any photos, swatches anything that inspires you,” says Hazel Nutting from Hazel’s Interiors. “And don’t forget to mention any items that you may want to keep.”

She adds: “When choosing an interior designer, you will need to find someone that you get on well with. I believe that if you like their portfolio it will help the process.”

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Hazel’s Interiors created this light and airy country home

When you book an interior designer, what happens next?

When you find an interior designer you think you can work with, the next step is to meet in person and hammer out the details of your project.

“The process starts with a first consultation to find out the details of your project and your personal preferences,” explains Dennis Teepe, from Bespoqe Interiors. “Once appointed as your Interior Designer I will provide you with first design ideas and drafts.”

He adds: “After the concept design has been agreed, I will prepare a detailed design including colour schemes, fabrics and furniture recommendations. Sourcing suitable suppliers, overseeing the order and delivery process as well as project management is all part of our service.”

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A stylish fireplace centrepiece courtesy of Bespoqe Interiors

How much does hiring an interior designer cost?

The cost of hiring an interior designer can vary wildly depending on the scope of the job and the experience of the professional in question.

“Anyone can set up as an interior designer, and there are many advertising their services who are both untrained and unqualified,” says Hazel. “Their services may be cheaper but the service you receive will be very different and may not meet your requirements. I would make sure that the designer you choose is both qualified and insured too.”

Every interior designer will work differently and charge accordingly – either by the room, on a percentage basis, or even as a fixed lump sum. Comparing quotes from a selection of qualified pros is the best way to ensure the job is done at a price that works for you.

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Why should you hire an interior designer for your next redecorating project?

Hiring an interior designer to remodel your home does more than just save you weeks of time and effort – it can also save you money.

“Updating and decorating your home can be a daunting process for many who just don’t know where to start or how to make the best decision,” says Hazel. “Interior designers are professional people who will take you through the process without any frustrations.”

She adds: “An interior designer can save you both time and money, providing you with a professional design within your budget and timescale with no costly mistakes.”

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The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY: When to Leave It To The Expert

Let’s be honest: We all fancy ourselves as a bit of DIY genius. No job is too complex or great. When it comes to doing it yourself, any danger of causing serious injury or seriously botching up a job goes out the window; it’s all about ego and proving that not every job requires calling ‘The Man’.

In the real world, however, there is only so much the common homeowner can achieve when deciding to do a touch of handy work around a property. More often than not, it pays to get the expert in. Here’s a list of some household tasks that shouldn’t be too difficult to handle, and those that most definitely require a professional. If you’re one of those who thinks you’re a DIY jack-of-all-trades, look away now…

Don’t Get Wired On Electrics

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Anything electrical in your home that requires attention is best left untouched. Not only do you skirt with the obvious risk of electrocuting yourself, meddling with the wires behind that dodgy plug socket could wreak havoc on your home’s entire wiring. The appeal of deciding to fix a light fitting without the costly expense of calling in a professional may seem alluring, but just think about the potential spiralling costs in the event you botch it up and need to find a professional electrician to rewire your whole home. Bottom line: Don’t fiddle with electrics.

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Leave electrics to the expert

Different Strokes

Moving on to something a little safer, there’s nothing wrong with attempting painting inside your home. Obviously there’s more to it than simply taking a pot of paint to your walls, but it’s certainly one of the more ‘doable’ DIY projects. As Interior specialist Gemma Cheney writes in the Guardian, there are tricks to adding a professional touch to your painting: “preparation is everything”. For ease and for covering a larger area, a roller is probably best, but for the more intricate jobs, a paintbrush is more ideal. The beauty of it all is that even if you do somehow manage to make a hash of it, you can always hire a painter and decorator to save the day.

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Unleash your inner painter

Avoid the Waterworks

When it comes to plumbing, there are a handful of simple jobs that do not require a plumbing service: a leaky tap, installing a new shower head or unclogging a drain are all perfect and scalable jobs to keep you occupied at the weekends. However, the more complex tasks will require a professional plumber. Much like trying to fix a problematic wire, fiddling with your home’s plumbing could have disastrous consequences that could leave you more out of pocket to fix than if you called the plumber in the first place. Moving away from the job at hand, hiring a plumber has other benefits. He or she will help you stay within your planned budget and will likely get the job done within your envisioned timeline.

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Time to call in the Plumber?

Take it Outside

Of course, DIY isn’t just contained to your home; the garden represents a wide range of DIY jobs you can do yourself, from mowing the lawn and painting the fence, to the more difficult bricklaying or pond installation. You may laugh, but there is a method to mowing the perfect lawn, but it’s probably not worth calling in the man. However, installing that nice, new water feature or building a new shed is probably better left to the professional – Bark can help you find local Bricklayers if you need them. Regardless of perfecting the bricklaying when building a new shed, there are also legal complication such as obtaining planning permission that a professional will know inside out and offer guidance. On top of all that, there’s the slight issue of landscaping. We’d all love a garden that wouldn’t look out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show, but left to your own devices you could just as likely end up with the garden from hell. Again, probably best to hire a landscaper for that major redesign.

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Shaping your dream garden

Inspired to Do It Yourself? Consider calling in a local professional first. Bark.com has a wide range of house and home services to help spruce up your property.

For more Bark.com tips and insight, why not check out our other blogs?