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How to Choose the Right Designer for your Project

By Maria Dinshaw | Jan 2020

choose the right designer for your project

Areas of specialization

Broadly there are two areas of specialization in interiors. Residential and commercial. In the residential segment, we have apartments/studios and independent dwellings such as single-family homes, rowhouses, etc.

In the commercial segment, we have office spaces, hospitality spaces and retail spaces very broadly.

About your project

  • Type – Your project type will determine the direction of your search for an interior design partner. Preferably choose a designer with a specialization in your project type, as they are more likely to be able to apply their diverse experience to the many nuances of your interior design.
  • Scale – Consider choosing your interior designer on the basis of the scale and proportions of your project. The interior designer you choose for a bedroom makeover would be different from the interior designer you choose for a large luxury apartment makeover or for the interior design of a villa. The scale of your project and the resources of your interior designer should be a good match for each other.
  • Budget – The charges of an independent designer may be considerably different from those of a small, medium and large firm. This is on account of resources, brand value, etc. Consider your budget allocation when you start searching for interior designers. 
  • Timelines – Professionally managed interior design firms are generally more adept at adhering to timelines due to their internal systems and processes as well as their resources. If timelines are important to you choose a firm that can coherently outline their project management process.

About you

  • Expectations – Ask yourself about your own expectations and about what’s important to you. Once you are clear about your own expectations, you can then discuss these with your interior designer to understand how they align with the service that they provide.
  • Sense of aesthetic – Arguably most important when choosing an interior designer is to be able to appreciate, admire and identify with their sense of aesthetics. Make the effort to look through all of their work, more than one time if required. Reach out to them and ask them questions.

Other factors 

  • Proximity – Consider if proximity and location are important to you when choosing an interior designer. If you expect a greater degree of personal interaction then this is an important factor. However, if you love their work, then no distance is too great especially given the modern communication tools of today. Think of what makes you comfortable.
  • Accessibility of senior management – Depending upon how things progress with your project, accessibility of senior management could become vital at some point during the process. With some large firms, easy accessibility to senior management may not be realistic. If this is an important consideration for you, ask your interior designer about their policies on access to senior management.
  • Work culture – When selecting an interior designer for your project, it is important to understand their work culture. The easiest way of doing this is to insist on visiting their office. The work environment itself speaks volumes of a firm’s culture and values. Put your questions to the management and to the designers or just have a casual conversation with them over a cup of coffee. When entering into a relationship with your interior designer, understanding their unique work culture will help you assess if you are the right fit for each other. If you are, the experience can be immensely rewarding and pleasurable. In case you are not the right fit, the process can be taxing and tiresome. Choose a firm with whom you can enjoy the process of designing your space.
  • Track record – Experience is a critical factor when it comes to interior design. Interior design is a highly complex industry where each project can be a valuable learning experience. A firm with a good track record of delivering projects consistently year on year will also be able to effectively apply its collective knowledge to your project. For you, this would mean fewer mistakes, better details, more practicality, sound construction techniques and honored commitments to timelines. 

Conclusion

Eventually, when all else is equal, the culture of the firm’s leadership should appeal to you and its work must speak to you on a very personal level.

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