7 tips on hiring an interior designer

Seeking professional help to spiff up your home? Here are some tips on hiring an interior designer.

How to hire an interior designer

1. Word of mouth is an excellent way to start your search for an interior designer. Consult friends, family or co-workers for referrals to designers they've used or would recommend.

2. Check with your favourite home decor store to find out which designers shop there. The staff should be able to provide names and business numbers.

3. Locally produced decorating TV shows and magazines can also serve as excellent sources of information. The added bonus is that they showcase the work of a variety of experts in your area.

4. Your provincial interior designer association can make locating an expert in your region a snap. They offer a complimentary referral service that can provide contact information for designers in your area who specialize in the kind of work you require. Go to Interior Designers of Canada and click on IDC Member Associations for links by province.

5. Interview several designers before you make your decision. You'll need to know exactly how each expert will approach your particular project as well as his or her work schedule and fee breakdown. Ask to see samples of their work and for client references.

6. There is no set fee structure for the industry. Rates depend, of course, on the designer's experience, field of expertise and location. Arrangements vary from hourly or daily billing to fixed fees to a percentage of goods purchased on your behalf. An hourly fee can range between $90 to $200, and a one-time consultation can cost anywhere from $300 to $600. (The most cost-effective approach – if you're making substantial furniture purchases – is to use a designer who works at a retail establishment that offers designer services. In those cases, the service is often discounted or free with the sale of the furniture.)

7. Once you've selected your designer and you've both agreed on the services to be provided, be sure to nail down a clear and detailed contract that outlines the payment agreement and that also spells out both parties' expectations as well as the work to be done.

Are you planning an upcoming reno? Talk to your designer about making your renovation eco-friendly.

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