How to Prepare for Your First Interior Design Consultation

formal living area with blue accent chairs in a circle next to a built in bar

Yay! You’ve decided to work with an Interior Designer to curate and procure custom furnishings for your home. What next?

Read on to learn how to prepare for your consultation so that our time together is productive. The end result will be beautiful, functional, and comfortable for you, your family, and your guests. We know the questions to ask to ensure that your end result exceeds expectation!

1. Decide What Your Goals Are for the Space

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Think through your goals and priorities for the space. What are you trying to achieve? Our clients come to us with very different reasons for seeking design help when selecting and procuring new furnishings for their home.

Some are seeking a more beautiful and stylish home after opting for practical in the past. Or the other way around; the choices they made in the past are no longer appropriate for the use and abuse of a young, active family.

Some folks want their new furnishings to better reflect their personalities and interests. We have requests for everything from mountain rustic to breezy and beachy! And let’s not forget that refurnishing a room is a big investment. 

Some people have been burned by making the wrong choices for their home in the past and want to protect their investment by making good choices. List your goals and make them clear to your designer!

2. Decide on a Realistic Budget

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What are the costs associated with designing a room like those on our website or in the beautiful photos on Instagram? Unless you have worked with a designer before, most people have no idea! 

Not all designers structure their business in the same way. Be prepared to ask questions and to be open to letting your designer help you to create a realistic budget for your space. No one likes surprises or wasted time and money!

3. Let Daily Habits Inspire the Design

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Open your mind to how you feel as you use the rooms you are hoping to furnish. As you relax to read a book, watch TV, or have a conversation with your family or guests, ask yourself, “Is the room arranged to support these activities?”

Does everyone avoid the big, deep sofa that is so soft your back aches after an hour in that spot? Think about what frustrates you and what makes you feel good! 

Most people have a favorite spot to sit as they use their room.  Why is that?

It may be that the TV watcher chooses the chair that is at the right angle and distance from the TV for the best viewing. A reader may want the chair closest to the lamp that suits their preferred reading position. Some people prefer their feet up on an ottoman while others like to be curled up on a chair.

Everyone has a reason for why they choose the spot they choose; you just might not be aware of it! We encourage you to discover what makes furniture comfortable for you!

4. Choose to be Totally Transparent

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PLEASE do not be embarrassed by the worn carpet or soiled upholstery, and don’t try to disguise them. We provide a caring and judgement-free zone! It is helpful for us to see these things in order to plan to prevent the same problems in the future.

Make it clear to yourself and to your designer about how you live in your home.

Are you extremely careful to protect your furniture from heavy daily use? Are you reasonably cautious, but allow for the space to be livable? Alternately, do you rarely use your furniture in hopes of keeping it pristine?

Or…are you like my family of three outdoorsy sons, who live hard on our furniture, eating the occasional meal in front of the TV? 

Your designer will want to know, not to judge you, but to make the appropriate selections!

5. Have Important Pieces Present

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Be prepared to share with your designer any important furniture pieces, artwork, or collections that should be accounted for in the design of the space. It is also helpful to know the things that you are not attached to when combining new pieces with existing ones!

6. Know Aesthetic Preferences Ahead of Time

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We ask new clients to do a little bit of homework before we meet for our initial consultation. We ask that you create or share a Pinterest Board or a magazine clip file of rooms that inspire you.

Be prepared to discuss what you love about the rooms as well as aspects you do NOT like. We find that images are the preferred method of communication as vocabulary may differ from person to person. What is “modern” or “traditional” can be very different from one person to the next.

7. Determine a Decision-Making Process

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In order to be as cost-efficient as possible, remember that time EQUALS money. We invest (a lot) of time in the interview and information seeking phase so that we understand your project goals and preferences before any selections are made.

Be sure to have all decision-makers present at important pre-design meetings. If this is not possible, be prepared to share the goals, priorities, and preferences of the party not represented. We need the input of everyone that will be involved in the design decision-making.

Give your designer as much information about your preferences up front. Make decisions as quickly as possible. More options equal more time.  Be open to new ideas that you may not have thought of. This is why you pay us!

We take our role very seriously as consultants. The more you can share about your unique style and preferences, the more information we will have to curate the furnished room (or rooms) that will help you live your lives with your beautiful new furnishings to the fullest!

Haven’t scheduled your design consultation yet? There’s no time like the present! Reach out to us and we’d be delighted to help.

Until next time,
Kathy

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