How to Choose the Right Interior Designer for You: A Comprehensive Guide

You have finally decided to push go on that long overdue project – the bedroom facelift, an upgrade of your kitchen, adding an extension onto your lounge, or maybe it’s a major overhaul to the whole house. You need to appoint an interior designer but you’re not sure where to start. 

With so many designers out there, each with their own style and approach, how do you know which one is the right fit for you? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to finding the ideal interior designer who aligns with your style, budget, and project goals.

Start by Defining Your Style

I’m going to go ahead and assume you have a Pinterest board for your renovation project. Or maybe you’ve been taking a look at Houzz.

And I can almost guarantee you have random screenshots and photos of things you’ve liked over the last few months.

Take some time to sift through these images and define your personal style. Clarifying this will help you narrow down your options and find a designer whose style and expertise align with your vision. Do you gravitate towards a minimalist style with muted tones and natural textures or are you pulled more towards a more vibrant space with interesting conversation pieces and bold colour?

From looking at your inspo pics it could be very obvious what you prefer, but most of our clients struggle to pinpoint it to just one aesthetic. Often it’s a mixture of various styles, and that’s okay. A good interior designer will be able to guide you in a direction that comes together cohesively while still reflecting your personal style.

Another great way to narrow down your unique style aesthetic is by looking at the keywords that come up in the image descriptions for your Pinterest boards. If you want to learn more about this, read our blog about exploring Today’s Hottest Interior Design and Decorating Styles.

To mention a few from our blog, some common styles are:

  • Scandinavian minimalism – A great example of this is our Hobart Apartment project
  • Industrial chic
  • Modern farmhouse – Airlie Place showcases this trend beautifully.
  • Bohemian Eclectic
  • Mid-century modern
  • Coastal retreat

Having said that, House of Kook really strives to help our clients find their own voice within these given trends, because we believe you never go out of style, neither should your space.

Research Potential Designers

You’ve probably been following several local designers on Instagram, you love what you see but are hesitant to contact them. You might think it’ll just be too expensive to hire a designer but did you know that, in many cases, hiring an interior designer will actually save you money?

Maybe you have absolutely no idea where to look and resort to searching ‘Interior designer near me’ on Google. 

The tricky part here is what you see online could be a lot of smoke and mirrors with little substance. Of course, do your research by browsing websites and social media pages, but the best advice we can give you here is – to ask around. 

Ask your friends whose homes you admire or ask your aunt who has impeccable taste. A by-word-of-mouth referral is by far the best route – a tried and tested recommendation from someone you trust and who knows you well is a reliable way to make a choice and helps you make a decision quicker.  

Ask the Right Questions

Your personal space should reflect your personal style which is why working with an interior designer can feel like a very personal relationship. It’s not just about having someone with the same style as you. It’s about hiring a designer that you work well with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – especially the ones you need to know the answers to.

If you’re not quite sure which questions to ask, here are four we recommend:

  1. What are your fee structures and how are they likely to vary throughout the project?
  2. Do you have preferred vendors and/or suppliers?
  3. What is your process for working with clients?
  4. What experience do you have on projects similar to mine in scope and style?

Set a Budget

When starting a new project, it’s fairly common that our clients have no idea how much their budget is. Often we are asked to give a high-level quote, and the age-old adage ‘How long is a piece of string’ springs to mind. 

Before reaching out to an interior designer, it’s important to establish some sort of parameter for your budget. Be realistic and honest about what you can afford and communicate this from the get-go. Don’t feel uncomfortable about sharing this information – it’s so important for your designer to know. Ultimately it will help you get accurate and appropriate quotations quickly, narrow down your options, and ensure that you find a designer who can work within your budget without compromising on quality.

In addition, your designer can also help you allocate your budget to get the most bang for your buck without spending on unnecessary design elements. 

Meet & Greet 

Once you’ve shortlisted a few potential designers, schedule a meeting (virtual or in person) to discuss your project in more detail. Use this as an opportunity to ask questions about their process, experience, and approach to projects. Pay attention to how well they listen to your needs and whether they feel like a good fit for you. 

If you’re planning a major renovation, your interior designer is going to be a prominent part of your life for the next 3, 6 or even 12 months. Make sure you choose someone whose personality and communication style suit yours. 

The Ts & C’s

After meeting with potential designers, review their contracts and proposals carefully. Make sure you understand their scope of work – what they will and will not be doing, and discuss timelines and payment schedules. This is the opportunity to iron out the details. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification before signing on the dotted line.

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, choosing the right interior designer comes down to trust and chemistry. As mentioned already, you’ll be working closely with this person for some time, and trusting in them to transform your space. It’s a very personal decision so it’s essential to choose someone you feel comfortable with and who shares your vision for the project. 

Create with Kook 

At House of Kook, we offer residential interior design services to create spaces that reflect, comfort, and anchor you. We have more than 20 years of combined experience working as interior designers at leading firms as well as a deep knowledge of what makes people comfortable, developed through hours and hours of consultation with numerous interior design clients. Our ultimate goal is to help you create a space that reflects your style and personality. If this sounds like a good fit for your project, get in touch here.