HOW DO I FIND AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
If you read my first post in this series, “Do I Need To Hire An Interior Designer?” and decided, “Yes, I do”, you may be now asking yourself, “How Do I Find An Interior Designer?” “Where do I begin looking to find an interior designer I would enjoy working with?”
I hope today’s post, the 2nd in my new series, will answer that question for you, so please pull up a chair around the fire, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, grab your hot chocolate or wine, and read on. (And, in case you’re wondering, the pretty header image on this post is a colorful teen’s bedroom Sally recently completed. We can’t wait until we can celebrate Spring here! )
The web has become a tremendous search/research tool for all of us, and if you are looking to find and hire an interior designer in your area, here are some of the best web resources for you.
- Check your local ASID Chapter’s website. ASID stands for the American Society of Interior Designers and has one of the country’s largest databases of professional interior designers who have all paid for membership. ASID’s site will have a listing of ASID members in every chapter around the country. Keep in mind that ASID does not vet the interior designers who are paid members, so you will still want to check references carefully.Here is ASID New England’s link. http://asidne.org/find-a-designer/
- Search HOUZZ – a website where hundreds of thousands of professional interior designers have uploaded their portfolios and where you can also read reviews of their work posted by their clients and the sub-contractors they have worked with. Use Houzz’s “Find a Pro” search function here: http://www.houzz.com/professionals. The two images, below, are from one of our recently completed Cape Cod projects and you can find our own HOUZZ PRO link, here:http://houzz.com/pro/wilsonkelsey/wilson-kelsey-design.
- Although a searchable database is not yet available, but is coming soon, the National Council for Interior Design Qualification ‘s [ NCIDQ ] new site will be another place to find an interior designer for consumers who want to know that their interior designer has passed a very rigorous testing process leading to certification as an interior designer. The testing necessary to receive NCIDQ certification is extremely difficult and if you hire an NCIDQ certified interior designer you can be assured they understand codes and construction in a way that many others do not – especially important in extensive renovations and commercial design work. NCIDQ certification is not a test of a designer’s creativity, however, nor their ability to execute beautifully on a design job and many interior designers who are well known experts in the field do not have NCIDQ certification. Here at Wilson Kelsey Design, Sally and I are NCIDQ certified and Sally is a long standing Professional member of ASID. For more information on what it means to have NCIDQ certification, see the NCIDQ’s new website, here.
- Do a Google search. For instance, Google, “Boston’s best luxury interior designers North Shore” or “best coastal interior designers Boston” or something similar. The more specific the words you enter into Google, the closer the results will be to what you are looking to find.
OTHER WAYS TO FIND AN INTERIOR DESIGNER:
- Ask real estate professionals: If you are purchasing a home, often your lawyer, real estate broker or title company officer will be able to make several recommendations.
- Ask architects, sub-contractors and renovation professionals: If you are renovating a home and have hired an architect, general contractor and/or sub-contractors, all of these professionals often have working relationships with interior designers and can recommend those to you that they know do excellent creative work, on time and on budget.
- Ask neighbors and friends: Ask your neighbors and friends whose homes you admire if they have a recommendation and, if they do, ask them: “Would you hire them again and why?”
4. Visiting the designer’s website: Take time to visit interior designer’s websites. Look at how they present themselves online. Is their site presented with care and attention to detail? Do you find yourself resonating with the overall feeling of their site – the fonts, the colors, the images, the wording?
For instance, on our own site, we showcase one of our strengths, our artistic hand rendering and illustration capabilities that we use to help our clients visualize what their completed rooms might look like. They appreciate having these sketches as mementos of our work together.
Does the interior designers website describe their approach to a project and how they work with their clients?
Look carefully at their portfolio, but also recognize that a designer’s portfolio is not always indicative of what they are capable of doing for you, as an interior designer’s portfolio is dictated by their client’s desires, needs and budget.
That is why showhouse rooms, such as the one that Sally and I did for the Wenham Museum a few years back, showing our love for Belgian antiques and a more colorful palette, can give you another look into what a designer is capable of doing.
You won’t always find showhouse rooms on a designer’s own website, (this one is not on ours ), so search the web like this: “showhouse rooms ______enter name of designer” to see if the designer(s) you are considering hiring have done showhouse rooms, so you can get an idea of what they might be capable of creating, given free creative rein.
Does the website reflect what you value?
What Should You Do After You’ve Identified 3-5 Designers You Are Interested In?
Your next step is to call your *short list* and have a conversation with them over the phone.
Based on the conversation, you may decide to ask them to visit your home to further discuss your project and to meet them in person. Some designers will charge for this first short “getting to know you”, “pre-screening” visit, and some won’t.
We don’t charge for the first short visit, assuming it is a home close to Boston, but it is perfectly normal to charge, so it’s good to ask ahead of time if the designer charges, so you will be prepared to pay them for their time, if they do.
A brief, initial pre-screening in person is always a good idea to insure that both you, as the client, and the interior designers, as the creatives and responsible parties for executing on your design, feel that working together would produce a mutually satisfying experience and result, beyond the technical and budgetary aspects of what will be required.
By asking the appropriate questions of the designer at this initial pre-screening meeting, and by answering the designer’s own questions of you as forthrightly as possible, you will both be able to get a good sense of whether you would like to have a more in depth meeting.
“What are those questions you should ask an interior designer?”
The answers are in my next post in this series!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, and have learned the answer to,
“How To Find An Interior Designer”
One last note:
If you are a fellow interior designer reader of ours, I know #DesignCognoscenti readers would enjoy hearing any further suggestions you may have about they can find an interior designer in their local areas, and if you’re a non-designer reader of ours, we would all enjoy reading your own story about how you found your interior designer, and what your experience has been.
Thank you for reading this, I hope you’re enjoying the series so far, and I invite you to share your stories, ideas and suggestions in the comments!
You can also connect with us, if you’d like to, here: