Checklist: What to discuss with an interior designer before starting work on your dream apartment

Dream interior design is a hell of a lot of work. Of course, if you decide to include a professional designer in your work, then this will significantly simplify the task and relieve you of a lot of headaches. But even in this case, it is necessary to approach the matter with maximum readiness. We have compiled a list of questions that you should first discuss with an interior designer in order to establish contact and end up with the perfect project that completely repeats your dream apartment.

Step 1: Define the scope of work 

Before starting construction, the customer must clearly understand what he expects to receive from the designer. But what tasks can a designer perform in general?

Option one: basic. The designer measures the premises and develops a planning solution. This is where his work ends.

Option two: comfortable. The designer develops a planning solution, then creates collages of the rooms and, based on the sketches obtained, works on a realistic 3D visualization.

Option three: full support. The designer develops a planning solution, creates a visualization, and prepares all the necessary drawings for the builders (electrical plans, floors, ceilings, room layouts with tile layout, and so on).

After the customer has chosen the work option that suits him, it is necessary to answer the following question – who will be involved in the procurement of materials? The customer himself? Or will the designer’s help be needed here as well? All this must be decided “on the shore”.

Step 2: Understand areas of responsibility

The customer must be prepared for the fact that the designer is not responsible for the quality of the repair. The designer is responsible for many aspects of the construction, but he is not responsible for how the builder will bring it all to life. Alas, customers often expect the designer to keep an eye on this as well.

Let’s imagine such a situation. The designer indicates in the drawings in which places there should be sockets and in what quantity, but which wires should be connected for this and how the electrical panel should be assembled for this, the construction company with which the customer has a contract knows.

what to discuss with an interior designer before starting work on your dream apartment

This also applies to all draft materials that will be invisible after finishing. Each construction company has its own proven technologies. Each company performs such work in its own way, and the designer simply cannot (and should not) own the entire set of technical skills to control the quality of execution.

Step 3: Define the horizons of the possible

It is important that the customer clearly understands his budget before starting construction. Often, before the start of repairs, people have a poor idea of ​​how much furniture, plumbing, and building materials cost. Customers think that construction will cost much less.

If a designer purchases materials for the entire project, then the customer relies on his opinion and understands that he will select trusted companies that he has successfully worked with on other projects. Not in all cases, the materials in the companies that the designer advises will be cheaper than, for example, just somewhere on the Internet. But the goods themselves and suppliers in this case will be verified.

Due to the large volume of purchases in one place, the designer has additional discounts for customers. In this case, the designer will really be able to provide favorable prices – you just need to take into account that not all suppliers are ready to make special offers, and do not count on this as a “mandatory feature”.

The designer, first of all, will help the customer save time and effort on the purchase of materials. If the client prefers similar materials, but at a lower price, then he will make such purchases at his own peril and risk.

Step 4: Meet in person

Owning, especially the first apartment is our dream of anyone, and each of us is very sensitive to how this dream will look like.

Customers are often afraid that the designer will not do what they imagine. What if the designer doesn’t understand something and sticks to his own line? Or will the customer spend a huge amount on repairs, and it will be uncomfortable to live in this house?

There are many such fears. Because of this, not all designers are ready to work on the interiors of apartments: sometimes it is very psychologically difficult to work with the fears of clients when these experiences go beyond some reasonable limit. It is better to take up the interior design of a cafe or office because the task there is simple – to do it well and quickly so that you can start making money in this business as soon as possible. When working on a residential interior, you can spend two months on one layout, because the customer will probably want to see all ten possible options and be 100% sure that he will not get the best one.

If the designer nevertheless took up the project, the first step is a meeting with the customer. And it is that you can usually understand whether you can work together. If there is no common language, the work is not worth continuing, as you will stall already at the planning stage. This must be understood by all parties involved.

what to discuss with an interior designer before starting work on your dream apartment

Any repair lasts from six months to a year. At the end of the work, the customer will know everything about the designer, and the designer will know everything about the customer. Until he brushes his teeth in the morning: after all, the designer will have to organize his space in the bathroom. All parties need to be stress-resistant and not swear over every little thing. Therefore, the first meeting and whether the customer and the designer managed to find a common language can work like a litmus test in this process.

Step 5: Find out everything

Before starting work with a professional designer, all customers fill out a large questionnaire – there are about 100 questions. They relate to the footage of the apartment, household appliances (what should be in the kitchen?), tenants (who will live in the apartment, are there any children?) and other important details. Are there items that must be placed in the apartment? For example, a piano inherited from a grandmother, souvenirs from travels? It is necessary to see everything in advance in order to correctly fit into the interior and to understand all the introductory projects.

Negotiations may drag on if the customer and the designer do not find a common language. The search for the right planning solution should not exceed two to three weeks. If this period is delayed due to the fault of the customer, then the creation of the design project itself (pictures and drawings) can take half a year or more, which will be painful and unprofitable for both parties. In this case, it is better to immediately end the cooperation and not wait for something to “get better” – but look for a specialist with whom you will immediately get along and understand each other.

Step 6: Decide on your taste preferences

Customers are traditionally divided into two categories. Representatives of the first group clearly know what they want. For example, classic or modern style. But the level of concentration of this classic, as well as the concept of what a “modern interior” is, is different for everyone. Therefore, before starting work on a project, we ask customers to send two or three pictures depicting an approximate interior that they want to see. After that, we develop the layout of the apartment and approve it with the customer. Then, understanding the style of the future housing thanks to the pictures received, we take the buyers to the shops. During this walk, many “recognize” the furniture of their dreams. Such scouting traditionally starts from the kitchen.

The second category of customers is those who do not know what they want at all. Often they have problems with budget planning. They may not even know how much it costs, and quite possibly they don’t have the budget for what they really want. In this case, you need to look at the customer himself and his lifestyle – first of all, at the financial situation.

what to discuss with an interior designer before starting work on your dream apartment

Each financial segment has its own stylistic preferences. Owners of elite housing are more likely to choose classics, while representatives of medium-sized businesses choose fashionable interiors that are at the peak of popularity. These people travel a lot, have seen a lot, and often choose wabi-sabi or some Thai motifs if they live in Thailand for a long time. Small and medium business owners love the minimalist style – now it’s gray or white walls and brick. The demand for it is still holding on and does not go anywhere, only the color of the brick itself changes.

Step 7: Guess the change of styles and fall in love with grandma’s furniture

The law of changing styles is eternal: some idea or stylistic solution first comes to expensive interiors, then descends to more budget price segments. If earlier stylistic trends changed once every ten years, now – once every five. Five years ago, everyone wanted a white brick, and now they want a colored one, but almost everyone is already tired of it. Now everyone is gradually getting tired of white and starting to look towards warm shades. The task of the designer is to follow the changing trends and tell the customer about this movement in order to try to make an interior that will not become outdated in a few years.

Of course, the geography of the customer plays a big role in the issue of changing styles. The territory of any country is different – different peoples live here with their own traditions. These features are reflected in the preferences in the style of housing. For example, in London, they love the classics very much, as there is a stunning old housing stock, which is being actively restored and restored. London has a lot of very complex and unusual layouts, multi-level apartments with the most unusual windows and rooms. In general, the classics are often chosen in UK cities, they are always on the move. 

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