If you have never worked with a professional interior designer or decorator before, there are several factors to consider in making your overall experience more satisfying.

One reason many people are reluctant to hire designers for their home improvement projects is because they fear the money they invest will not be worth it or that they can’t afford a designer.

The more knowledge you have about the process the more satisfying the experience and results.

Design fees vary with each designer. Some designers have no charge to upwards of two-hundred and fifty dollars per hour. Other designers have their fees built into the cost of products purchased through them with no hourly fee. Other designers charge an hourly rate only and then some charge a variation of the two. Ask questions to understand the reasoning behind the fees charged.

In hiring a designer consider their experience, availability to unique resources, natural talents, education level, product knowledge, and project complexity. Most designers offer guidelines and suggestions during an initial consultation for homeowners that prefer to implement the design project themselves. This assures the homeowner is on the right track for their project and makes design affordable for most people.

Remember, no two designers are alike. It is important that you feel comfortable with your designer. Because you will develop a very intimate working relationship with that person, take time to meet with two to three designers for your larger projects.

Most designers are more than willing to meet with a prospective client to discuss their style of decorating and design methods employed. In the process you should measure their personalities, promptness and professionalism. The more levels you connect on the better.

For smaller projects such as color consultations, this information can be gleaned from a designer’s portfolio, references and a fifteen minute conversation over the phone.

Overall, don’t be afraid to interview designers. They expect it. Even if that designer was a referral from a really good friend of yours, overcome any fears by feeling comfortable and assured of their expertise within the areas you require assistance with.

Penny Law is owner of PCL Interiors, a studio specializing in residential design. Visit her Web site at www.pclinteriors.com.

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