What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your dream home? A garden, a pool, a place to sit, sip coffee and read, a modular kitchen, a dog house? The list of wants is endless. A home is the ultimate status symbol, a sign that you’ve arrived in life and the legacy you leave behind for your family.

Having a home gives you freedom, peace of mind, and recognition in the society. If you’re thinking of buying a dream home then finding an interior designer would be next in your list. You want your home to reflect your unique sense of style and panache. You want to make the best of the space you have and ensure that you family feels cosy and happy. If you’ve been contemplating buying a home or hiring interior designers/ home decorators, this blog will help you arrive at a decision. It will also answer your questions such as interior designer cost,how to hire an interior decorator, how to choose an interior designer amongst others.

The Importance of Interior design

Interior designing is not limited to the look and beauty of a house alone. It is the skill of making a home as friendly and functional as possible for its inhabitants. With efficient interior design, a capable designer can even turn a studio apartment into a spacious and comfortable residence.

Do you dream of owning a house too? But you aren’t sure of what style, features or home decorations you want for your sweet little abode, then consulting an interior designer is a must. If you are relocating to a new place and want to completely renovate your lifestyle, then an interior designer can be your best friend.

Keep in mind that investing in your home is a lifestyle decision that can improve your quality of life for an entire lifetime. So you have to give it a thought and do proper homework before deciding on hiring an interior designer.

How is Interior Design Different from Decoration?

Interior Design is all about the art and science of analyzing a person’s nature, behavior, temperament, etc. to create a healthier and aesthetically pleasing environment. An interior designer can help in providing design guidance during the early or late architectural design phase of a house. They apply creative solutions to create more attractive and functional spaces that suit one’s style and amplify the quality of life.

Interior Decoration is all about furnishing the space with decorative and fashionable items. It can be said that an interior designer may decorate, but decorators do not design. Now that you know the major difference between them, you can include them in your project accordingly, whether to hire a designer during construction or a decorator at a later point.

Questions to ask yourself before hiring an Interior Designer

When you hire an interior designer, you are investing heavily to bring them on board. Hence you need to be completely clear at what you’re looking for from the engagement to get the best out of it. Before you go ahead to find a designing firm and sign a contract, ask these questions to yourself to know how ready you are for such a project. If you don’t have clarity about your needs even the best interior designer in India cannot help your cause.

What services do you need?

Well, interior design is much more than buying some new items of furniture, changing the wallpaper or adjusting the lighting. You should be sure of what exactly you need. Do you have any particular requirements like customized pieces of furniture, modular kitchens, lighting preferences? These are entirely different skill sets and require more work. Do you want to take care of the purchasing and procurement of the decor yourself? Or do you want the designers to take care of it? Before approaching a designer it’s important to list down what you exactly need. It will save both of your efforts in the long term.

What is your personal sense of style?

You might have your personal sense of style. You might like your house to have a traditional essence or maybe a contemporary or modernist look. Based on your sense of style, your designer will innovate on it to amplify your house decor. That’s what an interior designer is for. The designer will take the essence of your style and execute it in a way that’s best for the space. The process of giving ideas and taking feedback is ongoing and there has to be clear lines of communication throughout the project.

Is your vision in line with your proposed budget?

Set a realistic goal and a proper budget. Prioritize the decor or remodeling needs. What kind of details do you need? How much are you willing to compromise or splurge financially on the design? Do you need insurance? Ideally, your designer lets you know beforehand whether or not your dreams and budget align with each other. You can also request bids from multiple designers to figure out a budget range you are comfortable in.

How long will it take to complete the project?

Outlining a timeline and milestones is a must before getting started. Inform the designer beforehand when you would like the engagement to end. Also, ask them what other projects they have during that time. Whether they can commit to complete your project on time. In case of any unforeseen hiccups, how will they manage to complete the project within the given timeframe? You’ll be deeply involved in this process and this demands a commitment from you. Both of you should be available to communicate at least once weekly during the project to understand if you’re on the right track.

Questions to ask your Interior Designer

As a design client, you should ask these questions to your designer to figure out what this partnership is going to look like once you hire them.

Is this project the right fit for your firm?

Interior designers have an ‘N’ number of projects at any point of time, but why are they interested in yours? By understanding how a designer evaluates your project, you’ll learn if their priorities line up with yours. Designers have preferences depending on various factors like the space, the duration of the project, etc., but mostly it’s about personality fit between you two. When both think alike, working together and cooperating with each other becomes a much smoother process.

Do you prefer the client to be involved or hands off?

Some designers prefer consulting with their client at every step whereas others prefer full creative freedom, so you need to know beforehand what to expect. The process will be much easier if you tell them your priorities and needs beforehand and let them make the creative decision for you, afterall they are professionals. If you have trouble making decisions or unwilling to commit, then it’ll only cause unnecessary and costly delays.

What is the work you are most proud of?

Ask them what kind of projects they actually prefer doing? What’s their best work? Make sure to ask for the before and after photos of the project. Review their portfolios for the things that show up in each project. Understand which part of the work the designer had performed – the architectural or the stylist part? Try to understand what the designer’s process is like?

How do you find your inspiration?

What is your design signature? What are your favourite colours to use in a project? What is your favourite room in a house? What is your favourite travel destination; Have you ever incorporated elements from other corners of the world in your designs? Response to these will help you understand the aesthetics of a designer. How they integrate their creative process into their decor.

How would you handle it if you’ve already overshot the budget before the project completion?

How will they track the budget? What system do they use – a software or excel or on pen and paper? Discuss with them prior about what can be achieved within your budget. How will they manage if the budget splurges? Have they ever faced such a situation before? What they learnt from it? Are they willing to discuss adjustments regarding other specifics wwo bring the budget back on track? Look for a designer whose response makes you more comfortable in terms of letting them handle your budget.

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer?

Not choosing the correct interior designers & decorators who can understand your style and preferences can lead to a drastic decor disaster. The designing process, whether it’s a living space or an office space, follows a coordinated and systematic methodology which includes research, analysis, and integration of your style into the creative process. In this blog post, we have jotted down all the criteria you need to look up before choosing an interior designer. This list will help you shortlist the best interior designer in India for your project.

Ask around

Talk to friends and family who have experience hiring interior designers and seek their advice. Learn about their experiences and the complications faced by them. Check out the end result. Another way to inquire about customized interior decor or designers is to take a look at decor blogs, magazines, review sites to get the latest updates of the market.

Sort out the specifics

Even before you kick-start the process, sort out a clear timeline of what and how you want things to be done. Decide the look and feel of your house, analyze the location or construction site, the architecture, the budget, and have a clear timeline with milestones to be achieved. You wouldn’t want to get into discussions with designers who give you an unrealistic or impractical timeline. It’s better to set all the specifics before approaching any interior designer.

Identify your style

Before starting to browse all the top designers in town, identify your style. You might think that if you are hiring someone, they will do all the work for you. But they might not have the same kind of taste as you. You have to give them a clear idea of your tastes so that there is no confusion at a later stage. You’ll have to research about the kind of color scheme, space structure, furniture styles, floor tiles, lights you like. Collect all your preferred styles, photos, videos and show it to your designer. Pinterest is a great platform to look for design inspiration.

Take a look at Designer Portfolios

Now that you have identified your style, find designers whose style matches yours. Scrutinize their portfolios, do background checks, also check out the work they have done with other homes and try to imagine yourself living in those spaces. Don’t be limited on searching for their work on house decorations. If they have other works like decorating and designing cafes, offices, or commercial places, do check out those as well for more inspirations. Take a look at their social media profiles to check out their designs. You can also peruse the portfolios of your constructor or builder and ask them for interior designer referrals.

Finalize a practical budget

Interior designers usually work closely with the architect. They usually create a 3-D rendering of your house to give you an idea of the final output and then they will purchase the textile, the furniture, and lighting to match the 3D rendered design. All these can be a costly affair and hence it’s imperative that you set a clear budget that should cover the service fees and the material costs. Designers have a variety of fees and payment structure. You can always discuss and work out what you are most comfortable with for your project. Having a clear budget in mind in the beginning will help your interior designer decide on the quality of materials and the type of vendors they should be finalizing.

Interview multiple Interior Designers

Once you have checked out different portfolios and narrowed down designers, it’s time to meet them one-on-one. Before meeting a designer, make a list of your queries, your needs & wants, and all other possible questions so that you don’t miss out on anything. Don’t hesitate to get into the finer details and costing with them. After all, that’s how you’ll find out whether both of you are on the same page or not. Talk about the approximate completion time for the project or any other concerns you might have. You can also ask for their client references.
Understand the mindset, the vision, and the priorities of the designer and if they are aligned with yours. Even though most designers don’t charge for an initial consultation it would be polite to ask beforehand and clarify this.

Compare the services offered

Once you have met a few designers, take time to compare them before making a choice. Sum up and analyze what they have to offer, the pros and cons of hiring them. Choose one who gives you better services and solutions in terms of affordable and sustainable interiors. Nonetheless, integrity, and sincerity of a designer is always very important.

Share sensible references

If you have a one-bedroom apartment, don’t share references of a three storied bungalow. Yes, you are hiring a designer but don’t set an unrealistic set of goals for your designer. The carpet area, the existing natural lights, the required artificial lights, the best interior designers in India will always consider these factors before moving forward. The limitations of the space have to be considered every step of the way.

Draft up a bulletproof contract

Now that you’ve chosen a professional interior designer, sit with them and decide the exact specifications and iron out the finer details. Draft a bulletproof contract that is agreeable to both of you. The contract agreement document must contain the scope of work, detailed specification, the clauses for design fees, purchasing and procurement details, any cancellations, refunds, reimbursement costs, the payment terms, insurance and last but not the least the clause for photographing the completed work of designer as it is your private space after all.

Active communication is vital

An active and open communication is vital if you want your home to turn out how you anticipated it to be. Getting acquainted with the interior designer might be easy but communicating effectively to them regarding your taste and style might be another ball game entirely. Let them know what you want and set aside a time for scheduled meetings and follow ups every week. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t like or disagree with what they are suggesting then do not hesitate to tell them. They are professionals and chances are there they can logically explain what they are doing to do. This step will only ease the process for you and your designer.

Be open to changes

You are one step ahead when you already have clear visions and style choices for your home before hiring a professional interior designer. But do keep in mind that they are professionals and now it’s time for their inputs. Express yourself but do listen to them to know what they have to offer. With a trust that they’ll do their best to liven up your space, be ready to make an adjustment to your style or preferences. Keep an open mind and don’t dismiss everything they suggest. Do give their idea a chance. It’s nothing but a clear math of ‘do duni chaar’. Your ideas mixed with their creativity and practicality will only amplify the beauty of your house.

Ask for regular updates

Even after a full proof plan and a blueprint of the project, changes are inevitable. Have a sit down with the site engineer & interior designer so that you get updates regularly. Designers often feel low and unmotivated and slow down work when they are on their own and nobody to report to. Keeping in touch at every step is very rewarding.

Trust your designer

Now that you have rigorously and actively participated in the research and shared all your preferences with the designer, it’s best to give them the space they need to get their creative juices flowing. Most professional interior designers have exclusive agreements with shops, ateliers and other vendors, they’ll be able to source the best deals for you. You’ll have to trust their judgement when it comes to sourcing the materials and the suitability of it for the space. A healthy level of trust has to be established so that you are upfront and transparent in communicating your needs and wants.

(Updated on 27-Jan-2023 by Nitin, founder of Contractorbhai)

What to ask Interior designer?

At Contractorbhai we offer 3D Design service, this pretty much solves many problems faced by homeowners in planning their home renovation.

However if you have decided to hire or meet up with independent Interior designers, here are few points you should talk & discuss in detail with them before hiring…

Service offered
There are Interior designers who will provide only design & planning service. There are designers who do turkey work, they will design & execute the whole project. There are designers who will design & visit sites for inspection at certain intervals. SO find out what kind of service does yor interior designer offer. If he doesn’t play a role in execution, ask him what way he can help you during the execution phase..

Design Style
This is a very abstract thing to ask, but very important.. You want to get an idea about the design style of your designer. Does he like to give a modern look, or does he offer a classic look. He does a lot of decor with lights & colours. Does he like cozy schemes..You have to get an idea about what is design philosophy.

At Contractorbhai we offer modern design, and we give equal importance to Looks, Budget, & functionality. There are points like – something will look impressive but will waste some extra space or something will look very attractive but over years it will become difficult to eye..We usually believe design should be such that it is easy on the eye for years to come. Every inch in the house is to be used efficiently. Budget has to be kept in mind.

Fees structure
Usually Interior designers charge in two different ways. They will either ask for fix amount fees for designing & planning. Or they will ask for a percentage (8-12%) of the total budget spent on the project. Find out if visits to site & shops for selection are included or there are extra fees.

Do you supervise sites? Do you take responsibility for execution according to the design you have prepared…

Contractor / Execution
If I hire some contractor on my own, will you be able to guide him?.. Will my contractor be able to follow the design prepared by you..TO what level will you be involved in such scenario.

With design you need an estimate, in fact a detailed estimate is required.

Changes/Revision in design
What if I don’t like design prepared..Will I get to change design according to my inputs…

Support during execution
In case I hire you only fir design & planning, to what level will be available if I have some questions during execution of work..

Previous site
Have you done any house in the past where the average budget spent was similar to my case?
Is it possible to see houses designed by you in my area..

Tracking requirements & changes
How will you take care of all our requirements? If I want to make changes in design, how can I communicate..

Material selection
How will designer help in material selection? Does he have a preference of which shops to visit?

How much time will it take for a designer to design? And accordingly how much time will it take for execution of the project.

Planning a renovation?

Now that you know exactly how to scout for and hire the best interior designer, it’s time to get started. We’ll give you a heads up on the entire process by giving you an expert interior design consultation. You can clarify all the doubts you have about the process as well as get an estimate for the interior design cost, interior work cost per sq ft, interior designers prices and more associated with your project. Just reach out to us on the link below and get started renovating!

Interested in Home Renovation? – Set up interior design consultation