An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Most from your Interior Designer

Ok, so you’ve found an interior designer you’d like to work with. You’re impressed by their track record and confident they can deliver on your vision. You’ve signed on the dotted line and you’re excited about getting started — how do you keep the positive vibes going?

Check out these handy tips and be prepared…

1. Establish clarity around what you want for the space from the start — and ensure that your designer understands what you want. A shared vision keeps everyone on track and, as something more objective to refer to, minimises the risk of issues or missed opportunities. Your designer orchestrates the journey but doesn’t ‘own’ it.

2. Be realistic about budget. Discuss with your designer, but it’s generally good practice to allow for an additional contingency of 10-15%. Be prepared to compromise, selecting different tiles in the bathroom may enable you to stretch to the top of the line bath you have your heart set on. Trust your designer to make it work.

3. Make time for the process. Your designer is there to take things off your plate, provide guidance and push the design beyond what you would have been able to achieve on your own — but the best spaces, one that you will feel proud of and connected to, are those that are a collaboration.

4. Trust is crucial. Your input is vital. How and when you contribute this input affects efficiency, the sense of trust and a positive collaboration with your designer. If there are aspects that you really want to research and take the lead on, let our designer know.

5. Take your time making decisions, you have to live with it, but don’t let things drag on too long. Have the confidence that once a decision is made, you can move on.

6. Focus on the big things and do them well. Identify the priorities and complete them, don’t try to do too much. Getting distracted or changing the focus of your project can quickly lead to a budget blow-out!

7. Agree on the logistics of your working relationship. Does your availability match the designers? If they work business hours and you are only available evenings and weekends, when will you be able to meet in person? How and when are they best to reach you? Can you take calls during the day or are emails you can digest in the evening better?

8. Who is involved in the decision making? You, your partner, extended family? Are they also involved in the whole process? If all relevant people are involved from the start, you have the shared vision to refer back to.

9. Speak up. It’s OK to not like something presented to you. A feature may aesthetically and functionally fit the bill but it simply doesn’t work for you. Perhaps the colour reminds you of a hand-me-down sweater you never liked! If you can be clear about what it is that doesn’t sit right, this will build understanding.

10. Be prepared for the occasional hiccup. There can be surprises behind the old gib, something arrives broken in transit, someone gets the flu — a good team will work together to problem solve and minimise the impact of the inevitable.

On a personal note, the positive relationships I have with clients developed through the design process are a highlight of my job. It’s a heart and soul occupation for me and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

I hope you enjoy the process and love the result! Be proud of the space you’ve created and love it for a lifetime, not just the first time.

Ready to get started?

I’d love to find out more about your interior design project. Simply download and complete our Design Brief template and email to or give me a call on 027 474 9194.