3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer

May 29, 2024





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Meet Kim Morris

Computer desktop next to a beautiful floral display, for a blog post containing 3 questions to ask before hiring an interior designer.

Good designers will discuss these questions with you briefly during your intro call and in more detail during your initial in-home consultation. I like to give my potential clients a Welcome Kit during our initial in-home consultation, which contains (among other things):

  1. Who We Are (and our Company Values);
  2. A Detailed Breakdown of our Process;
  3. Communication Methods and Frequency;
  4. Sample Design Deliverables;
  5. Our Sample Client Contract;
  6. An Investment Guide; and,
  7. More!

However, if you’re still testing the waters or you aren’t ready to jump into a consultation just yet, here are 3 critical questions you should ask before hiring an interior designer:

  1. How do you charge for your services? While the process that most designers follow is pretty similar across the board, billing varies widely from firm to firm. Some firms charge a flat fee, some charge hourly. Some charge for purchasing (called “procurement”) and others take a markup on the products but don’t charge for their time. It really is very different from designer to designer. Getting clarity up front on how your designer bills, when you can expect to receive invoices, and whether there are minimum design fees (there usually are) will help you avoid surprises. Good designers want to make sure this is crystal clear from the start, because we also want to avoid surprises and unhappy clients. So before you sign anything, make sure you’re 100% clear on the financial aspects and you’re comfortable with your designer’s billing practices.
  2. How often can I expect communication from you, and what does that communication look like? Clients rightfully want to know where their project stands at all times, to make sure that their investment is being put to good use and that their project is on time and on budget. This is your home and your investment – you can and should expect regular, proactive, and thorough communication from your designer! You should always know when your designer will communicate with you next. Many (myself included) send weekly project updates to all of our clients via email. In these updates, we outline progress made that week, decisions needed, materials ordered, shipment status of materials ordered, site visits completed, and the next steps in your project. Make sure your designer has a regular cadence of sending client updates, and ask them when and how you can expect to hear from them before you sign the contract!
  3. Are you insured? Many design projects are complicated, with the need for contractors, subcontractors, installers, freight companies, receiving companies, and more. It’s inevitable that somewhere along the way, someone will make a mistake. If your designer makes the mistake – let’s say they measured wrong and your custom couch doesn’t fit – you want to make sure that (a) the designer will take responsibility for their mistake, and (b) they have professional liability insurance (often called errors & omissions coverage) to correct the mistake at no cost to you. At Kimberly Morris Interiors, we are fully insured and happy to provide proof of coverage before you sign a contract.

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