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Have you just bought a house that needs a serious makeover? Perhaps you want to turn some space into a home office or a money-making room rental. Maybe you'd simply like to refresh your living room. Whatever your plans, you’ll need to find yourself a really good interior designer.
Aside from expert guidance, enlisting a professional could save you from a number of design disasters and increase the value of your property. We show you how to find the right help, how to plan efficiently and how to answer the question: “What is interior design?”
Finding interior designers for an upcoming project
First things first, we'd be remiss if we didn't remind you that we offer a fully comprehensive interior design service with our team of award-winning designers. Whether you want to redo your interior from scratch or you need help picking the perfect coffee table, we've got you covered. We're also proud members of the Society of British & International Interior Design and the British Institute of Interior Design.
This picture is from our Links Way project, a from-scratch interiors project for a family home slash entertainment space. See more images more here.
But let's explore how to choose the design service that's best for you because everyone likes options
While you may have some creative flair, there are some clear benefits to using an expert. Choosing the right person for the job can be daunting, especially if you're a design novice. Here's what you need to do before you book an interior design consultation.
1. Choose a style: make sure you have a rough idea of the style you want before you contact anyone. Do you want uber luxury or to keep it simple? Beach house chic or cottage-core? Having a clear vision will help facilitate communications during the project.
2. Research and compare portfolios: All well-established designers have online portfolios. Browsing through them will help you pick someone you resonate with and get an idea of how they utilise space, colour and furnishings to create bespoke interior design styles.
3. Check qualifications: Find someone qualified. The British Institute of Interior Design (BIIID) has an online guide to certifications.
Make a shortlist of your top three and book a consultation. Chatting to all of them about their services will help you make a final decision.
What is interior design?
Interior design is about how spaces are experienced. Both a science and an art, it involves finding technical and creative solutions that will enhance the interior of a building in order to make it healthy, holistic and aesthetically pleasing. Design professionals plan, research, conceptualise, coordinate and manage every aspect of the project as well as exercising their artistic intuition. This gives you a number of benefits outside the obvious.
Specialist knowledge: Interior designers will help you understand the spatial impact of a room and its contents as well as supervise electrical needs, construction, site inspections and budgeting.
Time optimisation: If you’re already juggling a job, the kids, exercise and a social life, then taking on renovations is going to be difficult. Hiring a pro is going to save you a bucket load of time and stress.
Creative flair: Interior designers are successful because they have the artistry needed to create masterpieces using dimension, colour, lighting and materials. Simply put - you're paying for that professional touch.
Value for money: You may think an interior designer is going to cost a fortune, but actually it will save you in the long run. They will find you the best deals and eliminate mistakes. A professionally decorated home is an investment and will increase in value.
Enquiring about house interior designers
If your project involves house interior design, then start by ascertaining whether any structural changes are necessary. Jobs requiring more than a restyle will need professional input. Mistakes are costly, time-consuming and frustrating, so work with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Find a guru
Some professionals specialise in specific rooms, so hire someone who is a magician in your area of need. Make sure that your brief includes who lives with you, whether you have pets and so on.
Discuss look and feel
Will you be going for a contemporary interior design feel or are you looking for something more vintage or shabby chic? Don't be shy to say exactly what you're shooting for - or that you have no idea at all and you want to be presented with options.
Establish a budget
Your budget is key and needs to be established right from the outset. Make sure you include the design fees. Some designers work on a daily rate while others charge a percentage of the project. Agreeing on a flat rate will help you calculate your expenses more accurately.
Sign a contract
Draw up a detailed contract that includes giving you the signing rights on every decision made.
Corporate office and enterprise consultations
Office design requires unique expertise. Not only do you need to make a workspace look professional and appealing to clients, but it must also be functional. There is a big difference between home office interior design and tackling a huge corporate enterprise. For the latter, expansive budgets will be at play and luxury interior designers can be considered.
To find someone reputable you will need to ask the right questions. These are your top 5 considerations.
1. Respect for the budget: Great corporate interior designers will have a healthy respect for your budget and will be able to suggest feasible ways of stretching it optimally to achieve the results you want.
2. Understanding expectations: Bespoke designers will take the time to understand your expectations and commit to meeting them while providing solutions to any issues that arise along the way.
3. Working to deadlines: Disruptions caused while re-modelling an office can cost a company money, so adhering to a deadline is vital. Design professionals will supply a realistic timeline, stick to it and submit regular progress reports.
4. A willingness to meet: Hiring office interior designers is a serious business. First impressions will ascertain whether they resonate with the culture and values of your company and can translate it into the aesthetics of your space.
5. Sound contracts and insurance: A sound contract must be signed detailing every aspect of the project including responsibilities and time expectations. In conjunction with this, make sure your designer has insurance in case something major goes wrong.
Finding an interior designer online
The pandemic has made it far more common to handle design projects remotely.
Most interior designers are fully set up for consultations on Zoom and Skype, which has the added advantage of allowing you to style a property abroad or use an overseas professional to work on something home-based.
Remote interior design work starts with uploading photos of your space and providing dimensions and style inspirations. A good designer will then be able to map out and furnish the relevant room for your approval using 3D images. The same can be done for corporate office design.
Remote interior design services can be a seamless process, fulfilling all your needs as effectively as working with someone physically.
Guide to interior design project communications
Having good communications with your interior designer is imperative, so make sure that you agree on the following:
- Style, budget, timeline and payment terms.
- Who will be involved in the decision making?
- Who will supervise contractors, ordering and installations?
- A schedule for progress reports.
- Protocols involving any changes and mishaps.
- Aftersales services.
- A signed, detailed contract.
Don’t forget to write an honest review about your designer at the end of the project.
Book a virtual consultation with our bespoke interior designers
FCI London has been designing bespoke interiors for 30 years. Our team of exceptional professionals have the expertise and creativity to work with any sized project and achieve the results you’re looking for. Using the latest 3D illustration technology, we’ll help you maximise the potential of your space, whether it’s at home or in your office.
Check out our online interior design calculator for some ballpark figures to get your head around.
Give us a call or book a remote interior design consultation with us and let’s get the ball rolling!