Designer Susan Ferrier of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors shares tips on working with an interior designer.

Using one of our professional interior designers makes a home project fun, easy and helps you avoid costly mistakes. Our designers are experts on classic, timeless design that works whether your personal style is traditional, transitional or contemporary. This professional touch can help make your home a special, one-of-a-kind place to be.

Our design team treats every project, large or small, with the same attention to detail. So whether you are re-designing a room or simply trying to freshen it up with new accessories a talented designer can help you bring your room to life.

  • Do Your Research

    Flip through home décor magazines you like. If you spot a designer whose work appeals to you, “Google” them. They should have a website that depicts the distinct aesthetic of their work. If they don’t have a website, contact them—they should be able to provide you with images of their work.

  • Convey Your Vision

    You can optimize your results by communicating openly with your designer about the look you’re striving for. Share your thoughts about colors, lighting, and what you think is beautiful.

  • Keep the Big Picture in Mind

    Every interior needs a thesis statement in order for the project to remain on track. Time and money can be wasted when direction wavers off point. Make sure both you and your designer always keep your main goal in mind.

  • Know Your Budget

    A good designer will design to the budget you give them. The key is to be open and honest about what you can spend, whether it’s $50,000 or $750,000. When the designer gives you an estimate, it should include the cost of purchases, installations, and freight and materials—as well as the designer’s hourly fee. Designers typically charge a markup at net pricing on the goods they source and purchase for their clients. This usually amounts to less than the full retail price of the goods.

  • Understand the Process

    For design of an entire average-sized home’s interiors, you should allow six to nine months for completion, depending on the level of detail and whether the design calls for custom items. This estimate takes into account the typical 12- to 16-week timeframe for furniture ordering and delivery. The interior design process itself basically breaks down into three phases:

    • Programming — the phase in which the designer and the client share as much information as possible in an effort to determine the function of the space, how it will be used and what it should look like.
    • Design Development — this is when the designer presents to the client the floor plan and recommended furniture pieces, including custom designs, finishes, accessories, art, lighting, and fabrics that reflect the client’s tastes. Usually, the collective presentation includes a few combinations from which the client can choose.
    • Purchasing and Installation — preparation of purchase orders and arrangement of delivery and installation, all the while consulting with the architect or contractor on the project.