Aug 05, 2016

Custom Home Building – Should I Hire an Interior Designer?

Last updated: March 10th, 2018

If you’ve been considering your custom home build, one of the questions you may have been asking yourself is:

“Why should I hire an interior designer?”

Maybe you feel that you are better equipped to make the right design choices for your own home, or are concerned about additional costs. Rest assured that you aren’t alone! This is a very common topic we discuss with new custom home clients. In this article, we will outline some of the facts about hiring an interior designer, and give you some tips for finding an interior designer to match your personality and style.

“What are the benefits of working with an interior designer?”

  • Your designer will save you time (and energy) by providing designs & options for you to choose from. A good interior designer can work from your suggestions, clippings, and bad sketches, to come up with design options that match what’s in your head!
  • An interior designer will help you with timely follow through on your finish selection schedule, ensuring your project does not get behind.
  • No idea what you want? A designer can give ideas on current trends for your local area, etc, and help you to understand what your own personal style preferences are.

“What will an interior designer do during my project?”

  1. Typically, you will have an initial creative meeting with your interior designer, to discuss your sources of inspiration, preferred design styles, and your space needs.
  2. Your designer may draft the interior layout of your living space, providing one or more alternate options for layout. You will work with the designer to revise and finalize your layout from these drawings. This process may also involve the builder or architect, depending on your project. If the interior layout was established by your builder, this process may be slightly different.
  3. Your designer will begin assisting with selection of colours and finishes. They will likely create a visual specification package or style guide for you to review & approve.
  4. If the project has an established selection schedule from your builder, the designer will help ensure you make final finish choices in a timely manner, preventing construction delays.
  5. During the remainder of the construction process, your designer will be on hand to help you make changes as needed, and to ensure the project is executed beautifully.

“How much does an interior designer cost?”

The cost of working with an interior designer depends largely on the scope of your project, as well as on the interior designer you select. Many designers work on an hourly rate, which could be anywhere between $50 – $200 per hour. You can also ask a designer to charge a flat fee on your project. A good rule of thumb for estimating is between 15% – 20% of the construction costs. However, a good interior designer should be saving you money on the material costs for your project, recovering a portion of the fees you will be paying them. Designers often know great secret sources for furniture and materials, and are often first to get wind of good sales.

“How do I find the right interior designer for my project?”

Ask your friends – referrals are a good place to start. You can also browse through portfolios of interior designers through websites like Houzz, or on the designer’s own website. You should check for reviews for the designer on sites like Houzz, Google, and Facebook.

When interviewing an interior designer, here are five questions you might want to ask:

  1. Can you show me examples of similar work with my preferred style, room, and budget?
  2. Can you provide a list of references?
  3. What is your signature style?
  4. How will you help me discover and communicate my style to you?
  5. What does a successful project mean to you?

You should also ask about timeline and fees, to make sure the designer has the availability for your project and that it will fit within your budget.

For an example of why you might want to hire an interior designer, check out one of our projects on Glen Oaks Drive in Nanaimo, featuring RG Design Studios’ work!

We hope that gives you an overview of why you should consider hiring an interior designer! As builders, we have found that having an interior designer on your team will make the entire build process much smoother, and ends in far superior results! If you’d like some references for local interior designers, give us a call or email us. We’d be happy to give you some names, and to further discuss your project needs!