5 Tips for Working with an Interior Designer

Working with an interior designer can be costly, even if it is money well-spent. Here are five ways to help you stay within your budget

This teen girl bedroom design board Karla pulled together is one of the à la carte services that many designers now offer clients. It sets the tone for the entire project whether you go it alone or work with a designer from start to finish

Designer Karla Amadatsu offers advice on how to work with a pro on your design project without blowing your budget

Let’s be honest, I’m completely biased. In my mind, every design project can benefit from an interior designer. Seriously, I’ve seen enough, “But it looked so good in the showroom” catastrophes to prove my case.

But I get it; few can afford the million-dollar decorator treatment. Here’s the inside scoop on getting the most from working with a professional without breaking the bank.

As a starting point, expect to allocate 20 per cent of your overall renovation or building budget toward working with an interior designer. The more prep work you do ahead of time can help keep your costs manageable.

Top Tips for Working with an Interior Designer

  1. Make a wish list: Spend time creating a wish list for your space as well as a list of likes and dislikes. Having a clear vision not only makes your designer’s job easier, it reduces time and money spent digging for info.
  2. Be decisive: Try to be as decisive as possible. Changing your mind can add a significant amount to the design budget. Know what you want and you are on your way toward an efficient and cost effective project!
  3. Buy a Package: Consider using a design-to-go package. For a set fee – that ranges on average from $600 to $1,800 depending on the room size and the designer – you can get a custom design complete with floor plans, a design mood board, samples and a detailed shopping list. All that is left is for you to grab your credit card and get ordering!
  4. Get a Consult: If hiring a designer for an entire project is out of the question, consider hiring someone for a few hours (most designers charge a minimum of two hours for an initial consultation at a rate of $125 to $250 per hour) to give guidance and direction before you embark on your project alone. Come prepared with a list of questions and decisions you need to make and you will find that a couple hours’ worth of fees is money well spent.
  5. Look Online: A great resource for finding a designer is houzz.com. You can search for professionals near you, look at images of their work and read reviews. Recommendations by word of mouth and from magazines can also be wonderful places to start your search.    

Karla Amadatsu of Kerrisdale Design is an interior designer based in South Surrey.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.