29 Dec 10 Questions When Hiring an Interior Designer (Infographic)

Are you overwhelmed with the number of choices you have in choosing an Interior Designer?  Don’t know where to begin?

Here are 10 important questions to ask when you interview potential designers.

Asking the right questions will help you choose the right designer for you.



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1)  What type of design education have you had and are you accredited in some way?

Some people don’t realize that there is a difference between Decorators and Designers.

Anyone with a “knack” for putting color and fabrics together can call themselves a decorator.

But Interior Design is a profession and one that requires years of education and experience.  In California, Designers may qualify to take a rigorous exam, which deals with the California Building Code, Title 24 and California laws and regulations.  This is especially important when doing a project that involves construction and building permits.  A Designer who has passed this exam is a Certified Interior Designer in CA (CID).  It is a legal title. CIDs are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the public, first and foremost.

Look for someone who is a Certified Interior Designer in CA.   They are required to have a formal education in Interior Design and to have passed an exam to qualify.

2)  What makes you unique?

Ask why you should hire this particular firm.  What makes them stand out ahead of the pack.

  • What systems do they use internally?
  • Do they work with a budget.  
  • How will they be billing you?

3)  Do you have a mission statement?

A mission statement can say a lot about a company.  What is it that drives them?  Are they a cohesive group with a common goal?

4)  Have you worked on any projects similar to ours in the past?

Ask to see examples of work done which is similar to your project.  Listening to the designer explain the project will give you insight into whether or not they understand your own project needs.

5)  What specific challenges do you think we will need to overcome on our project?

This is an important question and one that will allow you to peek into the near- future.

6)  Are you able to complete our project on time and on budget?

A reasonable inquiry and by asking this question, you’ll get a feel for how knowledgeable and experienced your designer really is.

7)  Will we work with you or someone else?

Is this design firm too busy to take you on?  Will you be shuffled around?  How “hands on” will they be with your contractors, etc.?

8)  How do you charge for your services?

There are many formulas for charging for design services.  You’ll want to find someone who is completely transparent and open about this topic.

9)  Do you do the purchasing for us?

Some clients will want to do their own purchasing and some will not.  This may be because they know that it takes a lot of time and follow up when furnishing a room or several rooms.  You’ll want to find out if the designer you are considering has a system in place to manage this part of the process for you if that is what you choose.

10)  Are there any other fees for your services?

Again, an open and honest discussion about this topic at the time of the interview is a sign that you will not have hidden fees or unexpected charges down the road.  An “open checkbook” arrangement such as hourly billing may cause hard feelings and can ruin a relation between the client and the designer.