The Secrets of Successfully Working With and Interior Designer

Working with an interior designer – ah yes, I often hear from others in my biz – and see on social media – how people have a fear of working with us. They think that most of us are Divas (and yes, we do know a few), are too expensive, or they hesitate to hire us as they don’t know how we work. I’m going to educate you about the benefits of working with an Interior Designer.

First: Fear Must Take A Vacation

interior designer

Fear keeps us from moving ahead. We all face this from time to time and, well, you just have to move through it.

Here is an example of Fear that we see all the time; ” I have a client who is not moving ahead, even though he/she is happy with the proposal.” OR “One told me over the phone, he/she wants to get started ASAP, but has yet to meet me for a consult.” Any of you in business can see what’s going on here!

This is a classic kind of hesitation and tells me either the designer hasn’t shared enough information with the client – or the client cannot yet make a decision.  Our job is to give you, the client, the information necessary to get you hopping with anticipation and moving ahead.

If you are not able to make a decision, or keep changing your mind, that is a sign you are NOT READY to receive the benefits of working with an Interior Designer.

Second: There is an Interior Designer for Everyone

Yes, Everyone. Low, mid, and high level design – and a mix of that is available. You need to know what you are comfortable budgeting for the project and designers fee, from the beginning.

I work for the mid- high – end clients who don’t have the time, or don’t want to do the work themselves, or they’ve made a grand try at it and realized very quickly they have NO IDEA what they are doing.

They are professionals in their field and so am I . Respect! If you call me, I will take the time to chat with you. IF I am busy with projects we will agree on a date to begin yours. Working with an Interior Designer is necessary to make your spaces flow, and work well for you – not against you.

But, there is no common way we all price our services:

See Fear above. Yep waving the yellow flag here.

There is not, and has never been, a normal “salary” for an interior designer.

In fact, on LinkedIn and Facebook pages, even designers ask each other how we charge! This is always a hot button issue in our community.

What it gets down to is not only our education and experience level, but what vendors we have access to, how we cater to the relationship with our clients, and our ability to manage all the moving parts of the project. Also how we deal with the inevitable issues that can crop up from time to time with moving timetables for deliveries, etc.

Interior Designer

Some interior designers price per Square foot (always used in commercial design), others charge by the hour. Some do a combination of a design fee, and then charge by the hour. Some work off a design fee, and markup slightly on products ordered. Others will charge hourly and add to a contractor or painter’s fee.

ME? For residential, I charge a design fee and markup below retail. I’m not wasting my time trying to count up every minute of time spent on your project – and it is usually considerable. I’d go crazy and you would too, when you get the monthly bill! That’s not a great use of my time, nor yours – so I make it easy on both of us.

What it’s like Working with an Interior Designer

Hesitation is a reality when you are uninformed. So now that we’ve got the pricing out of the way, let me show you what hinders us from being able to work well with you. Then I’ll swing back around and show how we can work with you. Okay? Great!

What I Cringe at:

I am so happy you referred me to your friend(s). But, I’m not happy when he/she calls me a few months to a year later and needs the work done in 4 weeks. Simply not feasible! This is especially true if the calendar is heading into fall.

Cut-off dates happen in mid-September for furniture delivery by Diwali and Thanksgiving,  Mid-October for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

Planning ahead is KEY for bring a project in on time.

If you are a fan of HGTV, those 3D videos they show for the different ways your house can be designed? Yeah, I like that too, and it costs more than $100,000.00 an episode.

AND No, I cannot do that. There are less costly ways to help you visualize what you want.

Also, one simply cannot furnish an entire 3300 sq ft home for $25,000.00  IF you have a home that is in the 1 million + range, you should be starting with a budget of at least $150-$ 200,000.00.

I love the homes my friend, Mike Brown and his family build. They are truly exceptional and he’ll build no two alike. Just like I won’t use the same design in another’s house, and prefer to use custom furniture that will last.

Interior designer

                                                                                                                   Creighton Enterprises Custom Homes – Granata, Leesburg, VA


I won’t answer questions on a call or via email or text, such as; “How much it would cost us to do this room” and “how long will it take.”  Because I have to see the project to determine the scope of it in order to correctly answer this question. This benefits you in the long run. Every project is different.

Don’t tell me you don’t want to spend money on …pick an item. You’ve seen the quality work I do. I won’t do any less, and your project will not be everything it can be if you begin to dither over this kind of thing.

You can have Quality, Price or Timeline, Pick two. My clients always pick Quality and Timeline. Working with an Interior Designer isn’t difficult if you recognize that I’m the professional, and that’s why you hired me.

So don’t micromanage me! Yes, I want the project to read all about you personally, but don’t sabotage the project by picking out something that doesn’t work with what we agreed upon. The idea is that everything works together.

What I Adore:

Okay if you’re single, this part may not apply to you – yet.  I want to have both partners at the first meeting. Each has a distinct voice and desire. Our job is to figure out how to bring these two voices and desires together.

If only one of you is there, the other person won’t be happy with the outcome. And if your spouse says, just do what she wants, or he wants – come on, they also have an idea of what they desire. We often play a psychologist with our clients.

You pay our initial project fee, sign the contract, agree on the design, and my team and I get rolling with it.

You can ask questions, but too many can slow down the project. If you want to add something or make a change, we need to do that before any work or products have been ordered, otherwise it adds a change order to the contract and more $$$.

We love to handle everything for you to make for a smooth process.  We do enjoy working with you as a partner on your project.

In the end, the benefits of working with an Interior Designer are many. We can solve whatever problem or issue you have with your  (Fill in the blank)_______. We have the experience, the” eye”, the contacts, the experts, and the processes and procedures in place to absolutely Rock Your WORLD. And we intend to. We want you to be able to impress your friends, family and colleagues, and want to impress you.

I hope this post has gone a long way in helping y’all figure out the process of working with us. Basically, we solve your Design Paralysis. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.