6 Questions to Consider Before Hiring a Designer

The process of designing or redesigning your home can be an arduous one. But, choosing the right designer will help relieve some of the pressure and stress. Their expertise, knowledge and experience allows them to do the heavy lifting for you and make suggestions you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of on your own.

Grand staircase

However, before you even begin looking for the person who will help transform your home, here are some important questions for you to consider.

1. What is my budget?

Outlining a budget can be an uncomfortable task, so the best way to combat this is by approaching it head-on! You want to be realistic. One of the worst things that could happen is to collect sketches of your designs and items to furnish your home only to realize that you cannot afford it.

To prevent this, know your budget from the beginning so that you and your designer can frame your vision within the scope of your finances. Do your research. Take a good look at what furniture, fabric, paint and renovations truly cost and plan for those costs.

As designers, it is our job to be up front about costs to temper your expectations towards reality. It’s very common for clients to have a $10,000.00 budget with a million dollar vision.

2. How large do I want my project to be?


Determining the scope of your project will set the framework for how you will proceed with your home. Once you know the range of work you want done, it will dictate the experience of your designer.

I would advise against choosing a designer with a limited portfolio to take on a full home renovation. The scope can also help you decide whether or not your project also needs an architect, designer or decorator.

If you’re doing a full house renovation, or just redesigning one room, your designer can help decide if your budget is realistic with your expectations.

3. Do I need help completing my vision?

Have you ever struggled to describe what exactly you want without knowing what it is you want? This is where photos of finished rooms come in handy!

We all need inspiration sometimes, even designers! You’d be amazed at the amount of ideas a simple image can spark. When trying to gather ideas, I often tell my clients to view the portfolios of your designer’s past projects.

Websites such as Pinterest and Houzz can also be helpful when you are in a creative rut. Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it!

4. What is my time frame?

The magic of television has led many to believe that anything can be completed within an hour or less. It’s important to realize that shows are condensed to fit network constraints. Plus, would you really want to inhabit a home that looks like it took an hour or less to build?


It’s important to understand that design professionals can do great things with what they are given. There are many moving parts that help your dream design turn into a reality that include contractors, painters, electricians and many more.

Customized pieces of furniture alone take at least 8-10 weeks to complete, a full house renovation can take up to a year. Do your research before hand, your future designer and contractors will confirm the time frame once the scope of work is established.

5. What does my gut say?

Jane Lockhart in a blue top on set

There are many times where my “gut” has helped me make a decision. Another word for “gut” feeling is intuition. According to Medical Daily, “it is instinctually engraved in us to recognize when to run from a perceived danger, known as the “flight or fight” response secreted into our blood systems by adrenal glands.”

In other words, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your designer where you can trust them to create your vision for your home. While it’s not essential to having a personal connection, it may be beneficial knowing that you’ll be working with each other for several months.

6. Which design style suits me best?

As a client, it is essential that you get the full value of what you’ve paid for. More specifically, seek out a designer that projects your vision.

For example, if you’re in the market for a traditional or contemporary style, you’ll hire a designer who specializes in one of the two areas. However, a professional designer should not specialize in one style, but should in fact specialize in whatever their client wants.

A designer that specializes in satisfying their client is more likely to apply their expertise with a soul focus of executing your plan!

In the end, designers are here to service you. Remember to choose wisely because your designer is an extension of yourself and will help you maximize your investment.