The designer you envision is the perfect combination of Martha Stewart, Lisa LaPorta, and Candace Olson. Can you find her on a budget? Maybe not, but there are lots of talented designers out there who can give you design advice. The trick is to find one who will blend with you in personality and vision. Here's a few tips to help you separate the right one from the wannabes.
- Budget. Remember that you are in charge of the budget. You know what you can afford and what you can't. If the designer consistently recommends ideas or items outside your budget (Oh! This chair is so worth the $10K, dear!), talk to him/her. If it continues to happen, this designer is not for you. He/she will end up costing you more than the design service is worth.
- Timetable. If you can't afford to design a room or your home all at once, tell the designer. The designer should be willing to design in stages as you can afford it. If the designer isn't willing to work with your timetable, show them the door!
- Games. If the designer tries to play you and your significant other against each other in fabrics, colors or furniture, change designers immediately. Your long-term intimate relationships are worth more than a temporary relationship with a designer.
- Flexible. If your home is not a long-term residence, your designer should recommend flexible options that you can take with you when you move. If the designer isn't on board with finding furniture that is flexible enough to fit in your next home, you need another designer.
- Change. If you don't like the design and your designer isn't willing to change it - and in fact, gets huffy (is that a designer term?) at the thought of changing his/her masterpiece, remind the Paragon of Design that you are the one who has to live with said design. Finding another designer is perfectly acceptable!
- Choice. If you fall in love with a piece of furniture, art or other home decor and the designer is unwilling to incorporate the Loved Purple Sofa in his/her design, let the designer go and keep that sofa! The designer isn't flexible and you will be disappointed with the result.
- Recycling. If the designer is unwilling to recycle much of your current furnishings (recovering or reupholstering wherever possible), then he/she may be wasteful and unimaginative. Do you want that kind of designer?
Every designer has his/her own tastes and preferences, but the room or home being designed is yours. It is the designer's job to give you a beautiful end product that is an expression of your taste and lifestyle and most designers will work with you to give you that outcome. If the designer isn't up to that job, then you need to find one who is. There are so many competent designers out there! Don't feel you have to stick with one that makes you uncomfortable!