Once the decision to hire a professional interior designer is behind you, with the contract signed and in the drawer, it is time to refine and reprioritize your goals, organize your personal resources and just begin.
First, let’s look the dragon in the face. Regardless of our financial means, there never seems to be enough money. It can help reduce stress around funding if we consider “budget” a verb, and keep that budgeting in mind every step and decision of the way. Remember that some of the elements that can negatively impact the budgeting process are “hurry-up,” untested short cuts, bargains that aren’t a bargain in the long run, and the wrong kind of help – no matter how well meaning it is. So, take a deep breath and decide that your adventure will be great.
Depending on the scope and complexity of your project, your designer will probably have a long list of questions needing answers only you can provide. In the beginning there will be a lot of conversation not unlike those preliminary discussions, except these answers must be carefully thought out and are critical to the project’s integrity. Take your time. Ask your own questions and relate it all to the anticipated end vision.
Above all, be honest including the times when you may disagree and question a suggestion or advice from your designer. Good design takes time, and your designer is not a mind reader.
Design concepts need to be flexible so that the project costs and the vision can work in harmony and not in opposition to each other. Most of all don’t panic. It’s your designer’s job to help you find the appropriate balance.
Field trips with your designer can be very helpful and informative. They provide an opportunity to get to know your designer better and can work to improve communication between you. When field trips are not possible, you can collect and present photographs of elements from a completed project that you like, or even take your designer to see a specific installation or various elements that you really like. The internet is a vast resource for ideas.
Organize your design preferences in an “idea book”. This can be a valuable tool to keep both you and your designer on track to achieve your vision. These images may not exactly represent what you have in mind, but can provide a relevant jumping-off place for the creative process. And remember, you won’t find exactly what you want because it hasn’t been designed for you, yet.
Spend some time thinking about the “character” of your project. If it’s a commercial project, what impression do you want to convey to your client or customer? If it’s a residence, what feeling are you trying to achieve for your home?
Keep notes of what comes up for you. The more information and detail you can capture, the more helpful it will be. This process will bring the project alive and energize you.
Design should be exciting and fun. The more organized and focused you are the easier it will be for your designer to translate your vision into reality.
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo