You’ve been imagining your dream project for ages. You’ve saved editions of House Beautiful and bookmarked the pages of the designs you love most. You have even located your favorite interior design team for that happy moment when you can finally give them a call. (I hope that’s us!)
But how do you know when the timing is right?
In reality, every design project is a bit different. For example, are you planning a new build? A major remodel with walls being moved or new construction? Would you prefer a light renovation and design refresh?
Then, we have to talk about timing… Are you hoping to enjoy your finished space over the winter holidays? Would you like it complete in time for summer relaxation with your family? Are you looking to get on a designer’s calendar as soon as possible?
Your answers to these questions will determine the best time to involve an interior designer in your project. Together, we’re going to walk through each one, so you can be as prepared and knowledgeable for a full-service design project before it even begins — the surest path to achieving your dream space.
Quick Note: Before you dive in, please keep in mind that these estimates are for starting to work with an interior designer, not necessarily the date you reach out to them. In many cases, there may be a delay getting on their/our calendar. Case in point — we’re currently booking 2 months out!
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: By Season
In Time for a Very Merry Christmas
Historically, most people who want their homes completed in time for Christmas contact us in September. (I bet you see the problem!) By now, you know that this timeline is impossible for full-service interior design. Small renovation and design projects (even just a few rooms) can take up to 6 months; double that for a whole home renovation.
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: Start working with an interior designer no later than May/June for smaller renovation projects, which means reaching out around March/April to get on our calendars. For larger renovation projects, you’ll want to reach out early in the year. (If that’s you, let’s talk ASAP.)
In Time for a Sweet Summer on the Coast
Summer on the New England coast is a special time, so it’s not surprising that we get a lot of requests for homes to be completed by Memorial Day. The renovation and design timeline mirrors what I shared above, so again, you’ll want to count backward on your calendar anywhere from 6-12 months.
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: For smaller renovations complete by summer, start working with a designer by November at the latest. For larger renovations, I suggest reaching out in mid to late summer of the previous year.
We recently wrapped up the design of the Barrington Bay Project, a coastal retreat where the views make every season feel like the best one of the year.
To Catch Us During the Slow(er) Season
Spring and fall historically have been the busiest times of year for us. We never really have a “slow” season, but as summer arrives, locals start traveling or enjoying their homes on the coast, so the number of renovations on our calendar decreases. This is the perfect time to get started with us without a long wait time!
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: Reach out in the summer to get on our calendar (more) quickly.
Myself with one of the many rockstars on the Blakely team, our Design Director, Becky Cordle.
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: By Project Type
Bringing us in at the start of The Jersey Palm Project meant our clients got their full wishlist!
1. New Construction & Renovations
If you’re considering new construction, a major remodel or renovation (walls being moved, construction, an addition), there are a few signs that indicate the time is right to hire an interior designer:
- You’re in the initial planning stage of building your dream home
- The moment you have a vision for your space and understand how you want it to function.
- The moment you decide you want something that your current home doesn’t allow you to do (e.g. you want a mudroom as a drop-zone for your kids).
Assuming you’re ready to act on the above situations, it is important to bring in a designer at any of these junctures. We’ll help you think through the possibilities, plan, and budget accordingly. Is it new construction that needs a design plan? Can we achieve your goal if we remodel the existing space? Do you need an addition?
If we meet early enough before a renovation, it may turn out that we can address your needs and goals without major construction. We’ll also collaborate with the architect/builder — or if needed, introduce you to ones in our network — to make sure we meet all of your goals for your most vibrant home. (Here’s a great overview of our design process for custom new builds.)
“What if I’m already engaged with a builder?”
Good question – this happens often! If you’re already engaged with a builder, I recommend reaching out to your desired interior designer as soon as possible, because we can start collaborating with the builder right away. The longer you wait, the less value and impact your designer can have. More decisions will be pre-set, potentially eliminating the possibility of carrying out new and brilliant ideas, which would be a shame!
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: As soon as you decide how you want to update your space (or start from the ground up), and you’re committed to making it happen.
The Lemon Tree Project was a major kitchen renovation that required an updated floor plan, new built-in, a double island refresh, and much more. It took time, but I think we can agree that the results are spectacular!
2. Design Refresh with Light Renovation
A design refresh typically includes some cosmetic renovations, like new tile or built-ins, new furnishings, and zero moving walls. Since this type of project starts with the design, you’ll want to hire an interior designer first, and we’ll bring in our trusted trades.
As far as timing goes, our Design Process requires about 6-8 weeks (based on scope) before we can even place product orders. We dedicate this time to developing your space plans, design concepts, and specifying all design elements and requesting quotes for furnishings and labor. Then, we have to place orders and wait for items to arrive. Custom pieces like sofas in a specific upholstery, or window treatments with custom fabrics and trims, all need time to be constructed and shipped, which factors into the overall timeline. (You can see our full breakdown of project timelines here.)
So, all that said, when should you hire an interior designer for this type of project?
Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer: In general, 6-9 months before your desired completion date. With current COVID delays and decreased availability, I would say about 7-10 months prior.
Our Safari Coastal Project is an ongoing first floor renovation that started in our clients’ master bedroom. We updated the space with bold and fresh color, patterns, textures, lighting, functionality, and of course… this stunning custom built-in with sliding doors.
In summary, the short answer for most of these situations is that the best time to hire an interior designer is as soon as you’re thinking about it. Designers and builders get booked quickly (especially right now), and it might be a few months before you can even get on their calendars. So, go, go, go!
In the meantime, our Interior Design Project Planner can help you map out your project wisely and thoroughly. When the moment comes, you’ll be ready to communicate your home and lifestyle goals effortlessly. Hello, vibrant living.