Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine

66TMI-1As you evaluate a potential home remodel or a new purchase, you may envision doing the work yourself or hiring a contractor. Either way, you will find value in hiring an interior designer to help see your vision through from beginning to end. By engaging a professional designer, you become the direct beneficiary of his or her expertise, resources, passion, and innovation. The following speaks to what you should expect when hiring a professional interior designer.

Your Needs Are #1
An interior designer’s number one goal is to listen to the client’s needs throughout every aspect of the project. He or she will look to you, to understand your challenges regarding functionality, space planning, storage, and style. Based on this information, the designer will create a space designed just for you.

A Realistic Budget
Your designer will work with you to establish a realistic budget for the project, regardless of the number of dollars in play. Your designer will work to help you understand the different levels of quality available on any one product, how each performs, and how well the different purchases fit within your budget.

Interior designers are well aware that many people may not be able to take on all aspects of a project right way. A good designer will help you determine how to allocate available funds now and how to plan for future phases of the project.

Product Selection
There are many options available to you, and your interior designer will help edit them down to fit within your style and budget. It is his or her job to help all who will inhabit the space to be on board with the choices of the design. Often, the designer will help facilitate compromises, creating a cohesive design than fits the desires of all parties involved.

Resources and Relationships
Interior designers have access to vast resources, including furnishings, fabrics, fixtures, and accessories available to the trade only. They will work with local and national manufacturers to create custom furnishings, tile, metal work, and other items that would be otherwise unavailable to most consumers.

A Successful Team
An interior designer’s vision is only successful when it is executed well. A good designer will seek out relationships with the best contractors, workrooms, and craftsmen to ensure that your team delivers the highest quality finished product.

Cost Savings
A good designer will work hard to get you the best value for your money. They will help you make the right choices the first time, preventing costly mistakes. They also have access to wholesale pricing on many items, which means you will generally end up paying less than retail.

Interior designers are able to save you time by making selections and bringing them to you. They can provide tear sheets, samples, and drawings so that you can shop at home or at the office.

Interior designers work with manufacturers and trades people on a regular basis, allowing them leverage to get things repaired or replaced, when necessary. Your designer is there to be your advocate when dealing with issues related to installation, quality control, and time management.

Project Completion
While the fun is often at the beginning of a project, the real work is in seeing the project through to completion. Interior designers realize that design projects can often take many months, or even years, depending on the scope. Their goal should be your satisfaction, and they should be committed to being there until the end, making sure that the final product is just as envisioned.

Working with an interior designer can be a rewarding experience, especially if you are able to do upfront legwork. Start by creating a file or a binder — either physical or virtual — of different things you see and like. These can be found online or in printed materials, or perhaps you see things you like in the marketplace. These gathered ideas will help “paint” a picture for the designer, allowing them to interpret what you have collected into a cohesive, functional, and beautiful space that reflects your vision. And don’t worry about knowing design lingo; as you engage your designer, you’ll learn all about the different styles.

Currently, most professional designers charge, on average, $100-150/hour and generally some percentage of purchased goods. Typically, a designer will meet with you for an initial two- to three-hour consultation to discuss the scope of your project and to evaluate the space, if possible. This visit is a great time for all parties to get to know one another, and it is a time for the designer to evaluate what can be done in your home. Should there be a good fit, your designer will follow up with a contract, and the fun can begin.

Terrance Mason, Principal Interior Designer of Terrance Mason Interiors, has over 15 years experience serving residential and commercial clients. His design passion is creating comfortable, awe-enriching interiors balanced with what he calls “a little bit of whimsy.” He currently serves as President of The Northwest Society of Interior Designers (NWSID). For more information, visit or call 503-926-3797.

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