What to Expect in Your First Meeting With an Interior Designer

So, you are considering consulting with an interior designer or decorator to assist with an upcoming project. How do you select one designer over another? And what should you expect at the first meeting? Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Decide on the scope of the project – What is it that you are really looking to get done? Are you remodeling the entire kitchen or just need help select colors for the kitchen walls? Are you in love with a chair or piece of furniture but not sure how to make it fit in the room? Ensure you KNOW THE ANSWERS to these questions definitively before you start your search. The very first question an interior designer or decorator will ask is -What is the project? The scope of the project will determine the type of help you will need – from a design build firm to an interior re-designer or somewhere in-between.
  2. Talk to local friends about experience with a similar project -Now that you are confident about the scope of project, ask friends and family about their experience in the same arena. If your friend started out with a simple color consultation that blew up into a major home remodel, you can talk to he/she to learn how it happened. And how to avoid the same situation from happening to you.
  3. Gather pictures and ideas of rooms that appeal to you -When you say ‘modern’, it can mean totally different things to an architect, designer and/or decorator. Show pictures instead! Collect pictures of rooms and ideas from magazines, web pages, pictures of friends homes, books and prepare them to show the designers in your first meeting. Additionally, if you like the décor of a local store, take pictures for yourself and ask the salespeople which designers shop there frequently. You may learn of additional designers to consider as well.

Now – you are prepared to meet with an interior decorator or designer and have narrowed down the list of possible companies. What should you expect next? As you contact and meet designers, keep the following things in mind.

  1. Expect a nominal initial consultation fee – As the old adage goes – time is money! Expect an experienced and preferred designer to charge for the initial visit. An hourly fee or set fee for the first meeting is common and some designers may apply it to the first order. Hint: Savvy interior designers use this as a gauge for new clients. If a prospect grumbles or complains about the initial consultation fee, the designer may assume the prospect will have trouble paying subsequent fees and not interested in taking the prospect on as a client.
  2. Expect to answer lots of questions about your taste and style – Since this is the first time that the designer is meeting you, he/she will do what they can to learn about your style. He/She will take notice of the current state of your home, your furniture choices (if those are evident) and how you and your family currently live in your space. If you have any big dislikes or likes, now is the time to express those – i.e. – no roosters in the kitchen décor or a desire for a water element in your bedroom. And don’t forget to show the pictures that you collected, as discussed earlier!
  3. Ensure important decision makers are available – Even if your spouse/significant other will not be involved with the process, if he/she will live in the space, then include her/him in the initial meeting. Especially if the room is shared, like the kitchen or master bathroom. Don’t set up this meeting during the day when the spouse/significant other is not available. This can easily become a cause for contention once the project gets underway.
  4. Expect to discuss budget – This can be a touchy subject but not talking about it won’t make it go away! Be sure to be clear about what your budget limitations are and ask the designer/decorator if your budget expectations match the reality of the project. And if the designers don’t mention budget, be sure to bring it up – you deserve to get a sense of things before any plans get started.
  5. Know what you like but be open to explore new things – The saavy designer won’t design an entire room at the first meeting, but he/she may suggest a few things to gauge your reactions to different ideas. If you find yourself reacting negatively to the suggestions, keep looking! Soon you find a designer/decorator who speaks your language…but keep yourself open to learn a few new words in that language! (I hope that analogy makes sense). That is what you are paying a designer to do – bring new and fresh ideas to your space!

We hope the above advice is useful as you consider hiring a design professional for your next project. The list was developed from our own experiences and interactions with clients before, during and after home projects.

Why Do You Buy Interior Design Leads?

I recently spoke with an interior designer who purchases interior design leads to maintain a stable client base. She has a lot of word of mouth clients but she feels it is still necessary for her to develop new clients outside of her current network.

Upon further discussion about the quality of her leads I discovered that there was an underlying problem she was having. Even though the leads were fresh she was finding that when she called on them they were less than happy to hear from her. In some cases they would be upset and ask to be removed from “the list”.

The leads that she was buying were unfortunately of very low quality. This is not uncommon as some lead sources will recycle their lead database by selling a lead to multiple buyers or re-introducing old leads into the system. In her case what was happening was her leads were enticed by a free gift in order to fill out a lead form. Not really a high quality lead.

When you decide to take control of your lead source by in effect being your own lead source you receive many long term advantages:

1) You completely control where your interior design leads come from.

2) Your brand is not adversely affected by leads being introduced to your company for the first time when you call them instead of through the lead creation process itself. Creating brand awareness before you even call.

3) Eventually, if you follow the proper guidelines of keyword research, target market research and list management you will have very low cost and often free group of people waiting to buy from you.

4) Most importantly, your brands image will grow as you ad more and more content to the web. This is the only way to ensure you create more value for the search engines every time you invest in your website traffic.

Remember, when you buy leads you are simply buying names of people who may be interested in interior design services. When you create your own leads by developing and maintaining an effective lead funnel you grow your brand and develop a following. Always provide value to your list of potential clients. When you bring an offer forward they will be eager to bite.

Get Help on Deciding Your Interior Design Concept For Your Home Or Business

You will find that there are many people that have their own opinion about interior design. These people are able to take an area and design it with grace. Then there are others who can look at a room and just have no clue what they should do with it. These are the people that will benefit from the resources and information that the Internet can give them. Within the realms of the World Wide Web, you will be able to get ideas, suggestions, and tips on how you should decorate a specific area of your home or business.

You will find that there are also many interior design companies that you can contact in order to hire one of their design consultants. These consultants have their own style and their own opinions about decorating so it may take you some research to find the right one for you. With most of the design companies, you are able to interview several different consultants. This allows you to listen to their ideas about how they would decorate your living area or your business. You don’t have to worry about hurting their feelings if you do not choose them.

This is because they understand that each individual has their own style and thoughts about what their surroundings should look like. They understand that their style just may not be the right one. A lot of the consultants that you find through design companies will have open minds when it comes to your decorating style. They will be able to step outside of their comfort zone in order to give you just the look that you are wanting. When you are starting a new design project, whether be it redecorating your living room or trying to find a good fit for the customer service area in your business, it is a good idea to look at unconventional ideas instead of just conventional ones.

The interior design consultants that you interview will be able to discuss any kind of plan that you may have as well as give you ideas to expand your thought process. If you don’t want to go this route, you can access many websites that will give you pictures for ideas, tell you exactly how to do something, or let you know where you can find more information. There are a lot of do-it-yourself homeowners who would choose no other way but to accomplish their own design project.