Things to ask an interior designer when styling your home

In this post, we take you through the most important things to consider when working with an interior designer, to get the most out of the relationship and their expertise.

How to choose the right interior designer for you

Word of mouth, or seeing and loving the work of a designer in someone’s home, is the best endorsement. Many people look for a designer whose brief is to make the client’s own design preferences work, rather than wanting the designer to overlay their style on to the home.

The counter to this is when a designer is well know for a specific style and has been brought in to work on a project for that very reason – to infuse that style into a property.

Most designers excel in one thing – modern/contemporary, or traditional. It’s unusual to find an all rounder, so try and figure out what you like and look for a likeminded person, as you will get more out of the relationship that way.

What do interior designers do?

Interior designers offer a number of services, from planning of room layout, through to setting out lighting and electrical plans that work with a layout, choosing furniture and accessories, such as lighting, paintings, objet and rugs – right down to commissioning soft furnishings, such as curtains. Some interior designers prefer the term, ‘interior decorators’, if their niche is the latter of these elements.

If you have a nice room and just want an update, a decorator will often offer better value for money than a designer, who may have fewer decorating contacts than they have contacts in building or trade, so it just depends on a client’s individual needs.

How does the relationship between an interior designer and client work?

Open and honest relationships deliver the best results, especially where fees and remuneration are concerned, as different designers charge in different ways. Always focus on the deliverables and ask for set costs up front wherever possible.

Where to find a good interior designer and how much should you expect to pay?

Word of mouth, Google, or a good local interiors shop, are all good places to start. Some designers charge by the hour and offset their fees by sharing their trade discounts with clients. Others charge no fees and earn their way purely on commission from items they specify (this is becoming rarer and harder for designers as most internet sites offer discounts on many goods, which they would need to sell at full retail price to work this way)

How does the process of working with an interior designer work?

Brief and fee

Taking a brief is the usual start point, (once you clarify how the relationship is going to be structured, above), which can be a simple process of chatting, sharing images, or looking at a room together and discussing ideas. A couple tool to help you do this remotely is Houzz. The brief stage is a good moment to set and agree an overall budget.

Ideas stage

The next stage is for the designer to show you their ideas. This is traditionally in the form of a mood board, but can simply be samples, drawings or sketches. It really depends on the individual designer. There is usually an outline cost for the design (which should reflect the previous budgetary discussions).

Approval and work commencing

Once approved, the designer can start to work with the client to organise and schedule the work to an agreed timetable.

From there, some designers will project manage entirely, but most work in conjunction with the client to get it all booked and sorted.

Added extras to consider

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a good designer needs to have formal qualifications. The most important thing is that you find someone with a good track record and whose work you have seen and like.

Sherry Wales

Julie Moyle

Nicola Holden


Have a particular project in mind? Why not speak with one of our designers today.