Sick of looking at those tired old drapes? Finally ready to toss your dated kitchen back into the eighties? Whatever the size, scope or style of your home upgrade, the first step is recognizing your limitations.

Maybe you’re having trouble nailing down your vision, or you have so many ideas that it seems impossible to choose. Perhaps you simply lack the time, creativity or resources to pull off the project. In any of these scenarios, it may be a good idea to enlist the services of a professional.

That said, there are a few things you need to know before you enter into a contract with an interior designer.

1. Satisfied (and dissatisfied) clients talk.

The best source of great interior designers is your friends, family or colleagues who have used them. They’ll likely be more than happy to rave (or rant) about their own experiences. Also check out a prospective designer’s website or Facebook page to read reviews from past clients.

2. Patience is key.

If you’re looking for one of those quickie “reality” renovations that seem to happen in the span of two commercial breaks, it’s time to adjust your expectations. Professional designers need time to define their vision, gather their resources and create a stunning transformation. Like any creative process, rushing things along will be detrimental to your goals. Be patient, and let your designer take the weeks (or months) he or she needs to execute a stellar result.

3. Designers work best when they’re trusted.

Of course you have opinions—after all, it’s your space! But once you’ve briefed your designer on your vision for your home or office, let him or her run with it. Try to relax and enjoy the process, and let your designer guide you. After all, that’s why you hired a trained professional. Any designer will tell you that their best work has come when clients told them to do their own thing or go off the beaten path. That’s why it’s also a good idea to review a designers portfolio before you hire. Then you know what you can expect.

4. Fabrics and furniture are just the beginning.

Above and beyond color schemes and décor style, your space should reflect your passions, hobbies, interests and more. A good designer should ask for that type of information and integrate it into your home or office.

5. It’s not all glamorous.

Sure, it’s fun to shop and style, but an interior designer also does a lot of not-so-fun stuff like driving, hauling materials around, haggling with vendors, taking care of unexpected problems and, of course, catering to clients who may not know what they want or may be a bit on the demanding side.

6. You get what you pay for.

Once you’ve budgeted a certain amount of money for your renovation or transformation, don’t be afraid to spend it. When you hire a professional designer, you can’t expect that he or she will do all the shopping at closeout sales. You may end up paying premiums for unique, artistic or antique items. But if you give a designer a fixed budget, they’ll respect it. And they may be able to leverage their industry connections to score some discounts.

…And you also get a lot for free.

Designers don’t typically bill you for every moment they spend on your project. Whether they’re drawing inspiration from a design show, attending training sessions, making color boards, researching emerging trends or forging new vendor relationships, your design benefits from all of that—even if it doesn’t show up on your bill.

Whatever your design goals, it’s important to keep the end goal in mind, be patient and stay focused. And, of course, a little kindness can’t hurt.

If you’re working with your designer on upgrading flooring, we’d love to help. Give us a call at 770-575-8584 or send an email to