5 Key Questions to Expect from Your New Interior Designer

For a relationship between a client and their interior designer to be successful, there are questions we need to ask each other. As much as you as a potential client have questions and would like to know more about me, I also want to know about you, to make sure we are a good fit for your design project.

Below are some of the fundamental questions to expect from your designer, and the reason why these questions are important.

key questions to expect from your new interior designer

1. Have you worked with a designer before? How did it go? 

This question provides insight into any previous experiences that you as the client might have had in the past.  Maybe you’ve blown through 7 designers and 5 contractors already.  Maybe you worked with a designer who didn’t deliver what they promise (it might also be that they didn’t deliver because you weren’t clear in your expectations). 

If you have worked with a designer before I can ask what you liked, and what you didn’t like, and this will help me pinpoint your expectations for your upcoming design project. Maybe you’ve never worked with a designer before and I’m going to have to hold your hand and explain the process for things to go on smoothly.

2. Why are you hiring an interior designer?

This speaks to your motivation as the client. What about your current situation made your search for a professional? Did your contractor push a designer on you? Are all your friends hiring one and you want one too? Did you try it yourself and realize that it was out of your wheelhouse?

Finding out why you are enlisting the services of a designer helps me understand your goals, making sure I’m in line with your expectations. This is also helpful to keep us on track when suddenly your expectations might change. Then I can bring back your answer to this question.

I’d for example say “in our initial conversation, you told me that you were looking for creativity, but I feel like we’re copying this exact image from Pinterest. Is that what you really want?” This is also a good place to watch out for people with the wrong motives because your answer will tell me if you’re respectful and appreciative of interior design professionals.  

3. What are you looking for in an interior designer?  

Another variation of this question might be “Why did you want to work specifically with me as your interior designer?” Being direct in the beginning will set the tone for open communication. I as your potential interior designer want to make sure that what you are looking for is something that I can (and want to) provide.

This question may be answered when I ask question 2 above, but if not, I want to make sure it is asked. There are specific reasons why you’d choose a designer over another and that is beneficial to your designer to know because they can identify their strengths and use them not only to provide great results to you but also market themselves better and why not, continually improve in the future.

4. How hands-on will you be?

As your designer, I absolutely want to know how much you’re planning to participate in the project actively and physically.  Do you just want to approve the proposals and have a white-glove experience? Would you rather go shopping with me or do it on your own?  Are you expecting to do some work yourself? Do you want to see a bajillion options or are the one or two options that I select for you going to be enough? Are you going to have your partner weigh-in or you’re the sole decision-maker?

What about your friends, co-workers, neighbors, mother-in-law, and entire book club? If your answer fits with the way that I work awesome! If it doesn’t, I’ll take the time to explain to you how I work, and if that’s ok with you, then great. Otherwise, it’s ok to agree that this relationship will not work, and let’s move on with no hard feelings.

5. What are your expectations for this project?

What a potential client expects of the project may be much different from how I work or what I see needs to be done. I take pride in the fact that I am a very good listener and I’ll take the time to understand you. Failing to set realistic goals with clients is the main reason that some projects fail, and clients are unhappy.

For a successful outcome, it begins by asking early on and often what are your expectations. Are you expecting me to be available 24/7? Do you think that I’m going to give you a room that looks exactly like your favorite inspiration image, down to the same furniture? Do you expect your design presentations to be just like on TV? Having this conversation allows me an insight into knowing if your expectations are reasonable and doable or if I need to set you free.

Are you ready to get started on your design project? Reach out and fill out my contact form and I’d be in touch. If you know anyone that can benefit from this post, please do not hesitate to reshare.

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