Questions to Ask an Interior Designer


Your Morristown home is your showplace. You take pride in presenting it in its most beautiful and elegant state. However, recently you haven’t been quite as happy with it as you once were, and you’ve decided it’s time to bring in a pro. An interior designer can be just what you need to get your Morristown home as beautiful as you know it can be. So, now that you’ve chosen to contact a professional, where do you begin? The truth is that if you’re new to using an interior designer, you might not know what to expect. And, even if you’re familiar with how an interior designer works, you still might need a few pointers on how to go about it and what’s in store. Following are some of the most important questions you should ask when interviewing prospective interior designers and interior painting contractors.

1) Portfolio

The first thing you need to do when interviewing every interior designer is to ask for a portfolio of their work. Contrary to popular belief, the most important first question is not credentials or references. After all, if you don’t like a designer’s work, credentials and references will mean nothing. Of course, once you’ve taken a good look at several (always ask for photos of multiple projects) jobs they’ve done, that’s the time to ask about references and credentials. Nearly every professional interior designer these days has a website with a photo gallery displaying their best work.

2) Credentials and references

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to designers whose work you like, it’s time to ask about credentials and to get names of people whom you can contact. When talking to each designer’s clients, ask some of the same questions of them that you would ask the interior designer herself, i.e. did they get the work done in a timely manner, were they easy to work with, was the final bill significantly higher than the estimate, etc. When interviewing designers, always ask about credentials, education/training, qualifications, etc. It’s also a good idea to ask about professional affiliations. However, don’t make affiliations the be-all and end-all of your decision. Some professional organizations don’t make expertise a requirement for joining.

3) Budget, payments, and guarantees

Of course, it’s vital to be specific about your budget. Additionally, be sure you know what each designer’s expectations are when it comes to payment. Are they charging you one fee for the whole project? Or are they charging you separately for labor and materials? If they’re charging separately for labor and materials, ask if you can purchase the materials yourself, if you’re inclined to do so. Sometimes you may be able to get better deals on the materials if you shop around. However, many contractors get contractors’ rates, especially since they often buy in bulk. This may save you money. Whatever you do, NEVER pay for all the labor upfront. Not all contractors are untrustworthy, but it’s best to hold half of the labor for the end of the job. After all, you don’t get paid before you do the work on your job, do you? Further, ask if they allow payment plans and what they are. Finally, ask if they guarantee estimates. You don’t need surprises, especially when it comes to money.

4) Project length

Ask what the projected length of your project is in order to know if you can handle the time taken. Additionally, if length of the project is vital, when negotiating and drawing up a contract, be sure to add the words ‘time is of the essence’ directly onto the contract. This way, your designer knows that he can’t go over the projected time. Again, not all contractors are untrustworthy, but some will take advantage if they get the feeling that you’re laid back concerning the time it’s taking to complete the project.

5) Contract details

Negotiate every single important detail and be sure that every single detail is listed in the contract. NEVER talk about any detail, especially if it’s important to you, without adding it into the contract. The four corners of the contract are all that matter in a court of law. If your designer gives you a verbal guarantee, write it in the contract. Further, be sure to get clarification on any detail you don’t understand. If the wording of the contract is confusing to you, make them reword it IN the contract. Additionally, always be sure to sign at the very bottom of the wording. If you see that something has been added UNDER your signature, contest it. Your signature should be the very last thing that goes onto the contract. And, whatever you do, don’t EVER let a contractor begin a job without having a detailed, signed contract!

Hiring an interior designer to revamp your Morristown home is exciting and fun. It can be a great way to redesign your home’s interior and create an entire new look and feel. Of course, it can be confusing navigating all the steps involved, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s important to know what questions to ask when interviewing all the contractors who may be involved in your home’s redesign. For additional assistance, contact a top house painter in Morristown to get more tips on finding the right interior designers and painting contractors.

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