What is One of the Primary Reasons A Person Hires an Interior Designer?

A leading reason people engage interior designers is to benefit from their technical expertise in spatial planning and design principles to create functional, beautiful spaces.

Interior designers have specialized skills including:

  • Spatial planning for optimal layouts
  • Aesthetic mastery across styles and elements
  • Furniture arrangement for flow and function
  • Technical lighting design knowledge
  • Color theory and palette selection
  • Fabric and finish pairing techniques

Tapping into these skills through a design professional saves clients time and prevents costly layout or design mistakes.

Experienced Interior designers use their artistic and technical expertise to actualize environments tailored specifically to how clients want to live and work.

The Takeaway: Interior designers’ specialized spatial planning and design expertise enables creating well-functioning, visually appealing spaces unique to each client’s needs and preferences.

 

Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Working with a professional interior designer is invaluable for transforming any space. But what does the process look like from start to finish?

This guide will walk through the six key phases of interior design projects so you know what to expect.

Whether you’re renovating a single room or an entire home, understanding the interior design process will set you up for success. Read on to learn the typical timeline and crucial steps involved.

The Takeaway: Hiring an interior designer requires collaboration through distinct stages of consulting, planning, design concepts, specifications, installation, and completion. Being aware of the process from initial consultation to final reveal ensures projects stay on track.

Where to Find the Right Interior Designer?

Looking to find an interior designer? There are two ways – online interior design service or traditional experienced designer. 

Here are the top places:

Get Referrals and Feedback

  • Ask friends, neighbors, realtors for reviews on the best designer near you.
  • Speak to contractors, architects about interior designers they recommend.

Search Design Organizations

Review Online Listings

  • Search Houzz, Angi, Google for top-rated designers who work locally, or hire TALLBOX.
  • Look for ones with styles matching your aesthetic, like “contemporary interior designer” or “designer based in (city) japandy style or industrial style.”

Network at Industry Events

Meet designers in person at local design showhouses and networking events.

Vetting designers through consultations is key to finding the right fit.

The Takeaway: Referrals, reviews, style matching, and in-person meetings help discover qualified, compatible interior design talent for your project.

Benefits of hiring an Interior Designer?

People engage interior designers to benefit from their technical expertise in spatial planning and design principles to create functional, beautiful spaces. 

Interior designers have specialized skills and their interior design services include:

  • Spatial planning for optimal layouts
  • Aesthetic mastery across styles and elements
  • Furniture arrangement for flow and function
  • Technical lighting design knowledge
  • Color theory and palette selection
  • Fabric and finish pairing techniques

Tapping into these skills through a design professional saves clients time and prevents costly layout or design mistakes.

Interior designers use their artistic and technical expertise to actualize environments tailored specifically to how clients want to live and work.

Play Video

The Takeaway: Interior designers’ specialized spatial planning and design expertise enables creating well-functioning, visually appealing spaces unique to each client’s needs and preferences.

Difference Between Architectural Designer vs. Interior Designer

While roles can overlap, architectural designers focus on a building’s structure while interior designers specialize in the aesthetics, finishes, and furnishings inside spaces.

Architectural Designers:

  • Design building envelope and layout
  • Oversee technical construction
  • Knowledgeable on building codes

Interior Designers:

  • Design interior decor and furnishings
  • Select finishes like flooring and lighting
  • Stage and style rooms
  • Master spatial planning

There can be collaboration between the two for integrated architecture and interiors. But their specializations differ – exterior versus interior design.

The Takeaway: Architectural designers are construction-focused while interior designers are interior and decoration focused.

Have a project to stage? We know how to do virtual staging effectively >

What to Expect When Hiring an Interior Designer

Hiring an interior designer simplifies the design process with their expertise guiding you through key phases of planning, design, specifications, procurement, installation, and finalization.

At first the designer will schedule interior design consultation for them to get a sense of the budget and direction of the project. 

Even if you’re on a tight budget or not, disclose the potential scope of work you anticipate. The designer may charge a fee for the consultation since typically, they last around two hours, and a lot is covered.

Typical stages when working with a designer:

  • Initial consultation to understand your needs
  • Space planning and layouts
  • Concept directions with mood boards
  • Specifying furnishings and finishes
  • Installation coordination and oversight
  • Walkthrough and final approvals

Benefits designers offer:

  • Technical knowledge for optimal solutions
  • Access to trade discounts on products
  • Handling logistics and project management
  • Results tailored to your personal style
interior design online services
beautiful contemporary living room with kitchen

What is the most important part of hiring interior designers?

The initial consultation and goal-setting phase is the most crucial part of working with an interior designer.

In this first stage, the designer learns about the client’s aesthetic tastes, functional needs, budget, and overall vision. The client also communicates their priorities, lifestyle, and any issues with the existing space.

Setting clear expectations upfront ensures the designer can create solutions tailored to the client’s preferences. It lays the foundation for the design concepting phase.

The consultation also allows the designer to provide a realistic overview of what’s achievable within the client’s budget and timeline. Establishing open communication and alignment early on is key to a successful collaboration.

interior design initial consultation

The Takeaway: Hiring a designer utilizes their specialized skills to simplify and elevate your space.

What's the Average Cost to Hire an Interior Designer Per Room?

Hiring an interior designer ranges from $50-$500/hour or $5-$15 per square foot depending on room size, project scope, and designer experience level.

On average, expect to invest:

  • Living Room ($3,000-$8,000)
  • Kitchen ($8,000-$15,000)
  • Bedroom ($2,000-$5,000)
  • Bathroom ($4,000-$10,000)
  • Whole Home ($10,000-$50,000+)

Cost considerations:

  • Experience level
  • Room square footage
  • Design style simplicity
  • Renovation needs
  • Furnishings budget

Online interior design offer lower rates (~$79-$1,849) but less customization. In-person designers tailor to your vision through consultations.

 The Takeaway: Interior design investment per room or home varies based on specific needs but averages $50-$500 hourly or $5-$15 per square foot.

Why Hire a Virtual Interior Designer
concept sketch of living room with a sea view

Questions to Ask When Selecting Design Elements

Collaborating with your designer on finishes, decor, and specifications ensures your space aligns with your functional needs and aesthetic vision.

  • Help the designer understand how you want to use the space so selections are tailored accordingly.

  • Communicate must-have items like sentimental furniture or an heirloom rug to incorporate.

  • Share color palette preferences, patterns, textures you gravitate towards. Bring inspirational photos.

  • Decide on a style direction – modern, traditional, minimalist, eclectic. This guides lighting, furnishings, accents.

  • Be open about your budget for big investments like couch, mattress, kitchen counters.

  • Help prioritize splurges vs savings – maybe invest in dream sofa but scale back side chairs.

  • Ask about expected lead times for customized or backordered items.

Open communication allows you and your designer to make unified decisions that bring your vision to life within budget.

The Takeaway: Articulating your lifestyle needs, priorities, and preferences when selecting finishes and decor enables a designer to create the optimal plan for your home improvement.

How Do You Know Your Home Needs a Makeover project? You can find out in Home Makeover Guide.

Design services for renovation projects

Interior Design Project Space Planning and Layouts

The space planning and layouts phase allows the designer to tailor solutions to the client’s spatial requirements through careful measurement and layout mapping.

After an initial consultation, the next stage begins:

Taking Measurements and Photographs

  • Designer visits space to take accurate dimensions
  • Detailed photographs are taken for analysis
  • Precise measurements crucial for effective space planning

Initial Space Planning

  • Designer conceptualizes spatial layout based on:

    • Client’s goals and lifestyle needs
    • Wishlist of furnishings and features
    • Traffic flow, ergonomics, versatility
  • Decisions involve:

    • Furniture arrangement
    • Lighting plan
    • Room divisions, wall placement
    • Storage solutions
    • Accommodating existing pieces
  • Initial sketches presented for client feedback

  • Revisions made based on input

The Takeaway: Meticulous spatial planning allows the designer to tailor the layout to how the client wants to live in the space. This sets the stage for the overall design concept.

interior renders from tallbox

Have a project to render?

Concept Design and Presentation plans 

The concept design stage is when the designer brings the spatial layout to life through proposed styles, aesthetics, and decorative elements.

After finalizing the space plan, the designer creates concept directions that establish the overall look and feel. This involves:

  • Mood Boards: Collages of inspiration images, fabric swatches, color palettes, etc. reflecting the intended aesthetic
  • Initial Renderings: Digital drawings showing decor elements like furniture, lighting, accents
  • Finish Selections: Proposed samples for surfaces, paint colors, flooring types

The designer presents these concept directions to the client for feedback and approval.

This stage ensures alignment on the visual design strategy before refinement and specifications.

Key decisions made with the client:

  • Overall style (modern, traditional, industrial, etc)
  • Color palette
  • Lighting approach (ambient, task, accent)
  • Furniture plan (seating, storage, tables)
  • Accent elements (art, greenery, objects)

Revisions are made based on the client’s preferences until the concept is approved. This sets the framework for bringing the design fully to life.

The Takeaway: The concept design phase transforms the spatial layout into a fully formed visual direction through collaborative decisions on aesthetics.

Design Refinement and Specifications

Working with an interior designer
family in the middle of their renovation without a designer

This crucial stage is when all design elements are selected, specified, and documented prior to procurement and installation.

With the concept approved, the designer now refines each detail:

  • Finishes Chosen – Finalize flooring, paint colors, countertops, etc.
  • Furnishings Selected – Decide on furniture pieces, fabrics, styles
  • Lighting Plan Finalized – Choose fixture types, locations, functionality
  • Accents & Accessories – Select decorative items, textiles, art

The designer provides comprehensive documentation:

  • Spec Sheet – Material types, brands, colors, models
  • Procurement List – Where to purchase each item
  • Quote – Pricing for furnishings, labor if needed

Thorough specifications ensure all design elements are purposefully chosen and aligned with the overall vision.

The Takeaway: Meticulous specification documentation clarifies every item selected before procuring and installing the complete design.

Installation and Project Management

Interior designers play a pivotal role during installation by coordinating logistics and overseeing the placement of all design elements.

The designer spearheads:

  • Procurement & Delivery – Ordering and tracking all items
  • Construction Management – Overseeing any built elements
  • Schedule Coordination – Managing order of installation
  • On-Site Guidance – Providing placement instructions
  • Quality Inspections – Ensuring flawless execution

Throughout installation, the designer is on-site directing contractors and providing guidance. Their diligent project management ensures the design is properly executed based on the specifications.

The Takeaway: Meticulous installation oversight and coordination by the designer leads to an end result that accurately reflects the intended design.

How Clients Can Facilitate a Smooth Installation Process

The installation phase is when the designer oversees the execution of the design plan. Here are some tips for clients to help facilitate a smooth process:

Communicate Schedule Constraints

  • Inform designer of any dates you will be unavailable or need to coordinate around
  • Bring up any events/visits that may impact installation timeline

Allow Access for Deliveries

  • Provide clear instructions for building access/door codes
  • Ensure someone is available to receive larger item deliveries

Trust the Designer’s Placement Expertise

  • Designer will guide furniture positioning for optimal flow and function
  • Respect their experience in fine-tuning installation

Inspect Progress and Provide Feedback

  • Designer will do quality checks but extra eyes are helpful
  • Voice any concerns immediately so they can be addressed

Stay Flexible

  • Be understanding of potential shipping or labor delays
  • Designer will keep you updated on any timeline changes

Proactive communication and collaboration with your designer results in a smooth installation from start to finish.

Reveal and Completion

The reveal is the rewarding moment when the client sees the fully installed space for the first time and approves the final design.

If you are into DIY we have entire page how to learn virtual staging software

What Clients Can Expect:

  • Designer walkthrough explaining all details
  • Professional photos of completed project
  • Celebratory reveal event if desired
  • Timeline for any final punch list items
  • Access for follow-up questions

What Designers Expect:

  • Walkthrough and approval in a timely manner
  • Sign off on any outstanding payments
  • Appreciation for their work and collaboration

Potential Issues and Solutions:

  • Minor flaws – designer will source replacements
  • Damage in shipping – designer will handle returns/repairs
  • Dislike of finishes – designer will discuss options
  • Minor adjustments needed – designer will schedule return visit

The Takeaway: The reveal is a culmination of the design process and a time for appreciation, celebration, and final approvals.

Interior designer looking at a mood board
Interior designer looking at a mood board

Conclusion

Working with an interior designer takes you through organized stages:

  1. Consultation – Goal setting
  2. Space Planning – Layouts
  3. Concept Design – Visual directions
  4. Specifications – Material selections
  5. Installation – Execution
  6. Reveal – Completion

Having a designer guide you through every phase offers immense value.

Benefits of Full-Service Design:

  • Expert problem-solving for your space
  • Custom solutions tailored to your needs
  • Reduced stress – designer handles details
  • Flawless execution from design to build
  • Single point of contact and accountability

The Takeaway: An interior designer’s end-to-end project management unlocks their full value, resulting in a space perfectly customized for you.

Should You Hire an Interior Designer or DIY?

The decision depends on your budget, project scope, and how involved you want to be, but professional designers offer expertise worth the investment.

Hiring a Designer

  • Experience saving time and avoiding mistakes
  • Access to trade discounts
  • Handled logistics and project management
  • Higher upfront costs

DIY Interior Design

  • Greater budget control and potential cost savings
  • Ability to fully customize to your taste
  • Steep learning curve if new to design
  • More hands-on work and coordination

For complex renovations or a luxury aesthetic, a professional designer’s expertise is likely worth the investment. With small budgets or simpler needs, DIY can suffice.

The Takeaway: Designers offer invaluable experience, but DIY gives you more creative control and potential cost savings if you have the time.

What to Expect When Hiring an Interior Designer

Hiring an interior designer simplifies the design process with their expertise guiding you through key phases of planning, design, specifications, procurement, installation, and finalization.

Typical stages when working with a designer:

  • Initial consultation to understand your needs
  • Space planning and layouts
  • Concept directions with mood boards
  • Specifying furnishings and finishes
  • Installation coordination and oversight
  • Walkthrough and final approvals

Benefits designers offer:

  • Technical knowledge for optimal solutions
  • Access to trade discounts on products
  • Handling logistics and project management
  • Results tailored to your personal style

The Takeaway: Hiring a designer utilizes their specialized skills to simplify and elevate your space.

Can an Interior Designer Save Me Time and Money?

Trade discounts are part of the process how a designer can save you money. The designer’s industry knowledge and trade discounts often offset their hourly rate and fees, resulting in potential cost savings along with enhanced design. 

Ways designers can save clients money:

  • Trade discounts around 10-20% on furnishings
  • Technical expertise for cost-effective solutions
  • Avoiding costly mistakes that require rework
  • Strategic mix of splurges and savings
  • Access to wholesale resources and pricing
  • Faster project completion saving rental/mortgage costs
  • Avoided overwhelm, reducing impulse purchases

While many designers have overhead costs, their specialized skills often financially offset their rates through significant savings.

The Takeaway: Experienced interior designers use industry knowledge and buying power to potentially save you money over DIY trial-and-error.

What to Ask an Interior Designer on Your First Meeting

When first meeting with a designer, depending on the type of the home improvement focus the discussion on:

  1. Be involved in the interior design discovery process
  2. Your vision, priorities and style preferences
  3. How they approach the design process
  4. Their portfolios and experience with similar projects
  5. Timeline expectations for your project
  6. Designer’s rates and fee structure
  7. How they will collaborate with contractors

For more tips on maximizing initial consultations with designers, [read this guide](https://www.tallboxdesign.com/how-to-prepare-for-interior-design-consultations/).

The first meeting sets the foundation for an effective collaboration. Be prepared with questions that help you understand their approach and experience. Share photos, your lifestyle needs, and overall goals. This open dialogue gets the partnership started on the right foot.

The Takeaway: Discussing process, expertise, expectations, and needs during an initial designer consultation enables choosing the right partner for your project.