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Think You’re Ready to Hire an Interior Designer? 4 Ways to Be Sure

Thinking about hiring an interior designer? You’re not alone there. The industry is booming and it seems like everyone is looking for a change of scenery and the right professional to make it happen.

With over a decade running my interior design studio in Los Angeles, one striking pattern I’ve noticed is this: while my client list is diverse in almost every way — the majority are going through a major life change of some sort when they hire me. A new marriage, new career, empty nesters, navigating a loss. It can take many forms, but almost every single client is in the midst of a transition. And right now, this is literally all of us. Working from home, learning remotely, navigating this weird alternate universe we now live in. Nearly every aspect of our lives — especially how we spend time at home — has shifted and morphed over the past year. So it’s no wonder so many people have interior design and home renovations on their minds.

But just because you’re eager for change at home doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready to hire an interior designer.

A home renovation is an investment of your time, money, and energy (though we try to make that last part as easy on you as we can!).

I tell clients all the time: working with an interior designer is an intimate relationship. And, like any relationship, there’s a world of difference between wanting one and actually being ready for one.

So how do you know if you’re ready to hire an interior designer? Ask yourself these key questions...

Do you have clear goals in mind for your project?

To clarify — this doesn’t mean you need to have your dream sofa and color scheme picked out — that’s what I’m here for! But if you’re looking to hire an interior designer, it’s really important that you know what you want (and don’t want) from your home. We design beautiful spaces, yes. But luxury interior design is all about creating an environment that’s specific to you and your life.

Some things to consider before you connect with a designer:

  • What do you want to feel when you walk through the door?

  • What styles or colors do you like? What do you hate?

  • How do you use (or want to use) each space?

  • Most importantly — do you have a clear list of priorities based on your lifestyle?

These are pretty big-picture questions. As designers, it’s our job to get down into the details and create a design solution that works for you. But we need some input at the onset. So before you hire a designer, take time to do a little digging into your goals and hopes for a redesign.

Do your timeline expectations match the scope of work?

Like all good things, full-service interior design takes time. How much time exactly? That depends on the specifics of your project.

At your initial consultation, your interior designer should be able to give a rough estimate. Over the next couple of months as design plans are drawn up and subcontractors are hired, a more specific timeline emerges.

But, typically* speaking:

  • A decor refresh with new furnishings, wall and window treatments, accessories, etc can run 10-12 months

  • A full remodel can require anywhere from 12-24 months, depending on the scope of your project and size of your property

  • Finally, ground up construction from conception to move in can take 18-24 months or longer.

*Also, keep in mind that now is not a “typical” time. The pandemic has altered everything in the design world, including timelines. Lead times for production are much longer due to increased orders and limited supplies/capacity. On top of that, shipping estimates are at least doubled and tracking is a mess.

One exception seems to be high-end, luxury products. Which makes sense, if you think about it. The demand for a $12K Sub Zero fridge hasn’t changed that much. You can probably order it and have it installed the following week. But that $1,200 chair from Serena and Lily? Who knows. And good luck.

The silver lining here is that many designers are relying more heavily on makers and small businesses within their communities to keep timelines more predictable. This typically comes with a higher price tag, but that might not look so terrible if the cheaper option isn’t available for 8 months.

Bottom line: No matter the scope of your project, if you’re looking for turnkey interior design, it’s important to understand the process and set your timeline expectations accordingly.

Are you prepared to invest in yourself and your home?

Real talk: Interior design in LA isn’t cheap. And if you’re hiring a full-service interior designer, it’s important that you’re prepared for that investment.

Because we’re not just selecting pretty furniture (though, we excel at that for sure). As a full-service interior designer, my job is to discover the details about how you live your life and create an environment that supports that in every way.

Like timelines, budgets have a wide range depending on a myriad of factors (like pandemics). That’s why I take a few months to develop plans and do research on each project before presenting a budget breakdown.

That being said, here are some ballpark figures for residential interior design in LA:

  • The average high-end kitchen remodel can range from $200,000—$400,000

  • An whole-house redecoration including furnishings, fixtures, and accessories can cost $300,000 or more

  • Complete home remodels or ground-up builds typically start at 1 million

But you’re not just investing in floorplans and décor. An experienced designer is also your number one advocate throughout a build or remodel. We oversee every aspect of your project so you don’t have to.

Can you trust and delegate to a professional?

This is crucial to a successful design result. If you’ve spent the time to find the right interior designer for your project, you can trust that your home is in good hands.

Do we need and want your input? Yes.

Do we want you to be involved in material selections and design details? Absolutely.

But once decisions have been made and furnishings have been ordered, it’s time to sit back and let your designer handle the rest. After all, that’s what you’re paying us for!

Second-guessing, indecision, and canceled/reordered materials is what causes timeline delays and budget issues.

So if you want to partner with an interior designer on your home project and have it run smoothly, you’ll need to be able to trust the process along the way.

So, when’s the best time to hire an interior designer?

If you answered yes to the above questions and you’re ready to start your home build or remodel, the best time to hire an interior designer is now. (Or yesterday.)

Ideally, an interior designer is your first call for a home project. We can guide you toward trusted contractors and trades, develop a renovation plan that runs smoothly, and step in on your behalf when any issues arise.

Until next time,



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