How To Find An Interior Designer

Whether you have recently moved to a new home, a new office, or simply have been staring at the same sofa in the same spot for the past twenty years … you may be at the point where you are considering to find an Interior Designer.

So where do you start? Should you do it yourself? Do you call someone? And if so, who? Deciding you need an Interior Designer is only half the battle – how to choose one is the other half – but by making a few informed decisions, you will have all the answers you’ll need to come to a comprehensive conclusion that will leave you confident in your choice with no hint of regret.

What Interior Designers Can Do For You

Choosing to pick up the phone and call an Interior Designer is a decision that usually doesn’t come easy or without hesitation. Most of us might be a little intimidated to call on professionals for projects we are considering to tackle. But the truth is, you should feel comfortable calling (or going online) to seek out the advice of an Interior Designer in regards to just about any decorating or designing dilemma you might have, no matter how small or large it might be.

No Project Too Small or Large

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to meet certain designing criteria or be rich and famous to benefit from the expert help of a qualified Interior Designer. Whether you simply need professional advice in regards to helping you pick out the perfect color scheme for your office, or if you need a complete overhaul of your Basement Design, you should never feel apprehensive or hesitant to call an Interior Designer.

An Interior Designer Can Offer You …

  • General Advice that will reference all considerations for your specific designing project. An Interior Designer can suggest the best room arrangement for your space, offer advice on color schemes, point you in a direction towards a particular style, guide you in the process of selecting furniture, offer their professional option in regards to your options, as well as fill in any questions you might have in reference to the designing process or other related concerns.
  • A Creative Perspective on the placement of your furnishings. Perhaps you’ve just relocated or you’ve purchased a new home. Maybe you are downsizing or trying to simplify your living space. No matter the reason, an Interior Designer can assist you with managing your furnishings for your new surroundings and offer advice for the optimal placement that will result in smooth traffic flow in a pleasing, aesthetic setting.
  • Professional Referrals for projects that they may not be qualified for. For instance, your Bathroom Design needs updating due to excessive moisture ruining your walls and floors. An Interior Designer will know who to call and steer you in the direction of the professional that will take care of the original problem.
  • A Starting Point for a complete remodel or new construction. If your designing project is so large that even you can’t seem to find the jumping off point, calling in an Interior Designer will provide you with the plan you need to make the project leave the paper and hit the ground.
  • Recommendations for certain design products and/or manufactures that will bring an element into your new design that you may not be aware of – and generally at a discounted rate. Licensed designers have access to an array of manufactures that (more than likely) you’ve never heard of – securing you an option for products and services that will make your home, office or business stand out from all the rest.
  • Tips and Tricks of the trade that will enable you to stretch your budget and gain more designing elements for your money. Interior Designers know how far the dollar goes – with their expertise in all aspects of designing, they can show you where a dollar can be saved while still affording you the results you desire.
  • Options. Perhaps you simply can’t afford a complete make over but you are tired of living in a stale, unimaginative space that hasn’t changed in twenty years. Interior Designers understand those situations. They can provide other options that will solve your designing needs without breaking your budget, for instance; rearranging your existing furnishings in a way that breathes new life into home and gives the impression of a total makeover or redesign.
  • Selling Your Home by incorporating Home Staging techniques. An Interior Designer is skilled and armed with knowledge that will assist you in selling your home faster than you can say “Sold”!

When faced with a designing dilemma in your home, office, or business, knowing whom to call is more than half the battle – speaking with an Interior Designer first will eliminate that concern. There is no need to second guess your decision to call a professional – your peace of mind will be well worth the effort.

How will you be able to tell if your designer is certified?

Have you contemplated to find an Interior Designer? Have you wondered if you would be able to know if the designer was certified, licensed or even qualified for your project – and what, exactly, can a Certified Interior Designer Offer You that an uncertified designer can’t?

Depending on the design project, certain qualifications will need to be met by your Interior Designer in order to provide you with the skills needed to complete your desired end result. Knowing the difference between a Certified Interior Designer and one that is not will help you in determining who to call for your design project, as well as equipping you with Questions You Should Ask Your Interior Designer before finding them.

Who Can Be Called a “Certified Interior Designer”?

A Certified Interior Designer, in a nutshell, is a design professional who has been awarded qualifications based on their level of education, experience and understanding of the designing field. This may vary from state to state. By completing a higher level of education, a Certified Designer gains additional knowledge of important matters relative to design, such as fire safety, building codes, space planning and disability access issues. In addition, a Certified Designer learns to be adept at not only designing, but preparing and submitting non-structural and/or non-seismic interior constructions plans.

“Non-structural” and/or “non-seismic” means interior elements that are non-load bearing. In other words, elements pertaining to the inside of the structure, for instance; the ceiling or partition systems like floating walls (although they may be braced, they don’t actually assist in supporting the building). Non-structural includes anything that doesn’t adversely affect the actual structure, or the seismic bracing of a building’s structural system.

Some Qualifications of a Certified Interior Designer

There are a combination of qualifications that must be met in order to be referred to as a “Certified Interior Designer” – which can vary by state. According to the CCIDC (California Council for Interior Design Certification) a designer is required to:

  • Complete a four or five year accredited interior design program and have a minimum of two years experience, or;
  • Attend a three year accredited interior design program and have a minimum of three years experience, or;
  • Obtain a combination of interior design education and experience for a minimum total of eight years.
  • Complete the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination, or
  • The Council for Qualification of Residential Interior Designers (CQRID) examination, or
  • Both parts of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) examination.
  • Continue education classes for re-certification.

In addition, the certified interior design professional has pledged to uphold strict standards, including the CCIDC Code of Ethics, further ensuring quality design services to you, the consumer. Persons who have met the above requirements – and have been certified by the CCIDC (or the appropriate state certification – may then refer to themselves as a Certified Interior Designer.

How will you be able to tell if your designer is certified? You can call CCIDC to verify whether the interior designer you are hiring is indeed certified and in good standing. (The CCIDC also requires that each Certified Interior Designer affix a stamp and a wet signature to all drawings, specifications or documents prepared for submission).

Additional Qualifications

  • Submitting Electrical/Mechanical Plans: A Certified Interior Designer can submit plans that include mechanical and electrical elements if the plans have been prepared and stamped by a licensed mechanical or electrical engineer or architect. Otherwise, they are not licensed to do so on their own.
  • Meeting Handicap Requirements: Certified Interior Designers are required by law to pass a building and barrier free codes exam to demonstrate proficiency in handicap access and other code requirements. Which means that they can easily tackle any design project that needs to meet handicap accessibility requirements.
  • Subcontracting Labor: A Certified Interior Designer would have to hold a valid contractor’s license in order to actually hire subcontractors and/or perform contract work. However, due to the nature of the profession, one of the Benefits of Hiring an Interior Designer is that they possess knowledge in regards to recommendations for subcontracting work, as well as being able to offer assistance in preparing work that needs to be performed by a licensed contractor – thus saving you time and money.

Experience Reigns with a Certified Interior Designer

The education, training and experience that a qualified Interior Designer contributes to your project will be an invaluable resource in all aspects of the designing process. They will help define your starting point and guide you through to the end, including budgets, sub-contractors, and time restraints. More importantly, a Certified Interior Designer’s extended knowledge in safety and health requirements will keep your loved ones safe and sound long after the designing process is completed.

When you are ready to start looking for professional help with your designing project, our interior designer directory lists highly qualified design firms in your area – or try visiting our new matching service where we help team you up with the right designer for the right job.

For inspiration on design themes please visit our Interior Design Ideas and Photos Gallery which is chocked full of photos and suggestions for your next designing project.

Principles to Consider When finding an Interior Designer

Sometimes, even when we ask all the right questions and take our time making a decision as important as Hiring an Interior Designer, the basic principles of doing business can be forgotten … common courtesy, customer service, trustworthiness, and compatibility. Being comfortable with your choice of designers is as essential to your design project as the hammer is to the nail.

There are many important factors to consider when choosing to hire an Interior Designer; many of which are crucial to obtaining the design plan you have your heart set on. However, there are also a few main points that should be addressed, although they might not be quite so obvious.

Basic Principles to Consider:

  • Customer Service Skills: Good old fashioned customer service is not only a way of showing respect, but it is also a means to an end … a happy end. Interior Designers understand that a client needs to feel comfortable, informed and appreciated, and they will relay that through quality customer service.
  • An Ability to Listen: Is your Interior Decorator listening to you? Communication is key within this profession as the outcome of your design relies on the designer’s ability to listen to your wishes, hear your expectations, and then provide you guidance to help you reach your desired results.
  • Do You Feel Comfortable?: Working with an Interior Designer should be a very rewarding experience; however, when you don’t feel comfortable enough to express your ideas and address any concerns, your finished project may not have the outcome you truly desire. Choosing a designer that helps you feel content and confident will go a long way in helping to achieve the perfect outcome.
  • Availability: Interior Designers understand time is money and strive to be available when you need them to be; however, it’s still very important to make sure their schedule will be conducive with yours – and it should be one of the many Questions You Should Ask Your Interior Designer. Clarifying their availability will make sure your project gets the best start and finishes on time.
  • Are They Committed? One of  The Benefits of Investing in An Interior Designer is that they possess an excitement for designing and are as passionate about successfully fulfilling your designing dreams as you are. Their desire to see the project completed beyond all expectations will only serve to help ease your mind, build trust in your relationship, and assure you that they are as committed as you are to a successful outcome.

What Does Customer Service Mean to You?

When thinking about “customer service” in today’s standards, what comes to mind? How you were treated at the dry cleaners? Perhaps you noted how polite the cashier was at breakfast? Customer service is an essential part of any successful business, however, when it comes to find a professional Interior Designer, it may not make your list of requirements – but it should.

Points To Consider When Searching for a Designer

#1 Do You Need a Decorator or a Designer?: There is a difference – and only you can determine which one will be right for the job. Perhaps you are only considering a little revamping of your interior, maybe freshening up the Painting and moving a few things around, then an Interior Decorator will serve you best. However, if you are looking to totally transform your living space, or create a new one, then look for an Interior Designer to handle those situations. A side note: Interior Designers are skilled at decorating too. If you are uncertain as to exactly what it is you might be looking for, sometimes a visual can help … a good place of reference is with Interior Design Ideas and Photos.

#2 Ask Your Friends, Neighbors or Co-Workers For Input: Who did Sally hire to decorate her office? Who did your neighbor Fred call when he needed the Garage Organized? Didn’t your Aunt just have her Basement Remodeled? Asking those you trust is a great way to start the process of finding a professional.

#3 Online References and Portfolios: With easy access to the Internet now-a-days, most professionals can be researched online. Do a little “Googling” on a particular designer, or search for “Interior Decorators” in your area. Most, if not all professional Interior Designers probably have a website, either personally, or with their associated firms. Be diligent in retrieving as much info as you can to make an informed decision based on facts and references. Using an Interior Designer Directory is a great place to start, as well.

#4 Choose a Professional That Fits Your Budget: No one is immune to wanting a “steak on a hamburger budget”. We all want the best – that’s a given. When Deciding to Hire in an Interior Designer, you’ll want to discuss the budget and payment terms upfront to make sure you not only can afford their services, but that you will be getting what you want for your money. Tip: Just because one particular designer charges more than another does not mean that their services will any less par.

#5 Consider Using a Relatively New Designer: Of course, it goes without saying that selecting a designer that has years and years of experience is always a smart move, but don’t overlook the up and coming designer who is needing to get their foot in the door and build a reputation. After all, those professionals that have had years of experience once had to start somewhere too, right? By choosing a relatively new or unknown designer, you may find their eagerness to gain your trust and your business will more than make up for their lack of a resume. However, the same rules apply … make sure they are reputable and that you feel comfortable with your choice.

By following a few of the basic questions and considerations above, you will be well on your way to finding the Interior Designer or Decorator that will fit your budget, gain your trust, and complete your project at hand, no matter what that might entail. The more informed you are … the better decision you will make. Happy Decorating!