You’ve been visualizing your dream home for years, following your favorite interior designers, and maybe even creating inspirational Pinterest boards. You feel like you can’t wait any longer — you’re finally ready to hire an interior designer and break ground on your project!
But wait… are you really ready?
Throughout my years as a designer, I’ve spoken with many people who would have been wonderful clients but simply weren’t ready to move forward — even if they originally thought they were.
Why? I believe this happens largely because TV and magazines, where we see gorgeous spaces, leave out the actual process of design. Many people simply don’t know what the process entails or which ducks you’ll need to have in a row before getting started.
This disconnect between appearances and reality is the exact reason I’ve spent a LOT of time on our blog showing you real behind-the-scenes of what we do — like our Design Process, Installation Day, and Design Markets. In the hopes that you will have a realistic view of this incredible thing we get to call our job. (Seriously, we LOVE our work.)
So today I’m going to go even deeper. I’m going to share the qualities and preparation needed to take on the intricate and deeply rewarding process of interior design. It’s not for the faint of heart, but together, we will make it a journey as vibrant and enjoyable as the destination!
1. Are you fairly flexible on timeline?
When it comes to interior design, TV makes projects look as if they come together a lot faster than they really do. If you’re hoping your project will be done in 1-2 months, it’s simply not realistic. It can take up to 12 weeks just for a custom piece of furniture to arrive!
The reality is that every project is different. Our design team needs time to develop concepts, floor plans, color schemes, choose fabrics and paint colors, source furniture, and coordinate orders. (This doesn’t happen overnight!) Some projects may take 4 months, while others may take over a year. It all depends on the scale of your project.
As a design firm, we are also balancing several projects at a time, so we deliberately schedule our weekly calendars with everyone’s project timelines in mind. Good things take time, my friend.
That said, there are some cases where we can do projects on a faster timeline if absolutely needed. Just be aware that you’ll have some tradeoffs — such as having limited fabric options, not being able to customize sofa depth for your tall husband, etc.
For additional insight, you can check out our post on design timelines here.
P.S. If you need a little design direction and you need it now, we do offer 90-minute Design Consultations. We’ll answer your questions on furniture layout, review materials samples for a renovation project, or offer general design recommendations based on what isn’t working for you — or what we see that could work even better!
2. Are you good at making quick, thoughtful decisions?
Trust us when we say that there are SO MANY choices when it comes to designing a home. And with more options, comes more decisions to make, and you know what they say… time is money!
Our job is to choose every piece of furniture, paint color, and fabric with your tastes, lifestyle, and goals in mind. Hours go into these selections, and believe me when I say that each item is chosen for very specific reasons on its own and for how it works with the design as a whole! After narrowing down all the choices, we save you time by intentionally showing you only the BEST.
That said, if you’re the type of person who needs to see every rug option in a given color before deciding that the one we presented is the best, you may not be ready for a designer. Anything beyond our included round of revisions will drive up design costs, so it pays off to be decisive!
That’s why recommend that you feel comfortable making quick but thoughtful decisions before you start working with an interior designer. It will keep your project on budget and on track!
3. Do you appreciate the art of delegation?
You’re probably accustomed to delegating, whether that be to your family or in the workplace. But when you hire us, we become your chief delegators! We handle all parts of the design, working with trades, manufacturers, retailers and more and communicating with you along the way.
By allowing us to take your entire project into our hands (not piecemeal), we are able to create a holistic design that speaks to your aesthetic, is designed to endure, and will absolutely delight you. In addition to saving you time in all areas of the project.
We don’t want you to worry about checking the availability of items or calling around to different painters to find the best one. From the big picture down to the fine details, design is our job. Design is our zone of genius. Design is what consumes our lives and lights us on fire!
And you need a little courage to let go of the reins, don’t worry — the trust that we build with you along the way makes it much easier. 😉
4. Are you ready to give a professional your trust?
TRUST — it’s critical and goes beyond delegation. Imagine hiring an attorney and then telling him or her how best to represent you. Or advising your surgeon on how to operate on your knee. Sure, the stakes may not be as high in interior design, but I think you get my point. 😉
At Blakely, we LIVE interior design, renovations, and serving clients every day. In fact, we have a buttoned-up design process that starts with cultivating authentic relationships with our clients. We listen and take it all in… what you love and how you live (or want to live), your style, your vision.
This is how we gain and keep your trust, and this trust is SO important for a final result that exceeds all your expectations. In fact, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that nearly every client at the end of a project says to our future prospects, “Trust the process.” (And those words mean the WORLD to me!)
I know trust isn’t always easy, which is why I always suggest doing your due diligence first, finding a designer whose work speaks to your aesthetic, and seeing if you have a connection with the person before hiring them.
5. Are you prepared to make a design investment?
I really mean it when I say that we want you to get the absolute best value for what you are investing in. And by value, I mean quality, longevity, and beauty at a smart investment level. We’re not just here to make it pretty. If you’re investing in a designer, it needs to last!
Which is why I have to be honest with you: hiring an interior designer when you don’t have a healthy budget to support the project will be difficult for both parties and is unfair to you. You deserve to live in your happiest, most vibrant home. If that means you need some extra time to assemble the budget that will get you there, that’s a great strategy.
To help you quickly gauge typical investment levels, most furniture investments when working with a professional designer start around $75/square foot on the low end and upwards of $300/square foot on the high end. (We start at this budget because we have to stand behind the products we source.)
That said, we are always upfront with our clients from the get-go when it comes to investment level, so you will know approximately what it will cost during our first Schematic Design Phase meeting. To further plan your budget on your own, check out our post on developing an interior design budget here.
You are ready for an interior designer if…
- You have a healthy budget to devote to your home’s interior, and you see the value of investing in professional design.
- You can make quick but thoughtful decisions.
- You love to delegate to professionals so you can go about your daily life.
- You are ready to trust in a process that will bring you the best results
- You are willing to wait 4-6 months for the design of your dreams
If all of these stars align and you’re feeling the trust, then you’re ready for an interior designer!
You are probably not ready for an interior designer if…
- You are unsure how much you can spend on a project, or you don’t see the value in investing a pretty penny in your home’s interior.
- You don’t trust that a designer can understand your style.
- You like to take matters into your own hands when it comes to getting things done or want to do some of the design yourself.
- You need your kitchen renovation finished by next month in time for a family party.
- You want to see alllll the options. (Trust me, you don’t. It’s very overwhelming!)
I hope this topic gave you a deeper look inside the world of interior design and what really goes on behind the scenes of a project.
If you’re ready for an interior designer (and looking for your special team), I highly recommend checking out Blakely’s Design Process here and chatting with us on a Discovery Call. This call is a great way for us to get to know each other and see if there’s a good fit.
If you’re not ready for an interior designer just yet, we have so many resources to help you fall in love with your home, right now. Our Resource Library and blog are full of actionable tips for styling your space, selecting colors, mixing patterns, and more. Take a peek, and you can always ask us questions in the comments!
Whether it’s over a call or in a conversation below, I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to meet you!