What to expect from your interior designer/architect
Many people today engage a professional for their home interiors instead of managing a sinew of contractors and vendors with budgets as low as 5 lakhs even. People just don’t have the bandwidth to coordinate, follow up, ensure timeliness and quality.
However, engaging a professional on your project can be a first time for you! So here are a few tips as to how to engage a professional and keep them engaged towards your project till the end.
Step 1: engaging a professional
If your project involves many rooms or many different items like furniture, wallpapers, lights etc, engaging a professional always helps. Although be mindful of the adage that all students finishing medical school are called “doctor” even if they finished last! So, you might meet your fair share of not-so-good professionals but that only underscores the need to benchmark professionals before shortlisting, check their capability and create a shortlist of at least 3 agencies before you finalise.
What should you check for?
- Credible past work and customer testimonials
- Matching of aesthetic sensibilities
- Ability to complete project and deliver good quality
- Matching of costs and budgets
Make sure you are completely clear on what they are quoting for. Take time to understand the inclusions and exclusions of the offering.
A very important note to understand is that an interior designer works very differently from a contractor. To make an analogy, a banker is very different from a neighbourhood money lender. While banks might want your business but they have process to ensure a certain outcome and service and the same is true for a good interior designing company.
The interior designer is expecting a clear set of instructions from you:
- Clarity on pricing. This might be uncomfortable to you, especially if the designer is a known person within a friends or family circle, but it is extremely important to be clear nevertheless. This is because interiors comprises of ensembles of materials which are envisages by the architect/designer and coordinated as a look for your home. To give an analogy, you cant walk into a sherwani shop and look for light cotton clothing and walk out unhappy for not finding it!
- Clarity on requirements. This might require a coordination between the various family members and a realistic estimation of your storage and aesthetic needs. There is no formula to interiors , it is customized or tailored to your needs and so you must list out what you need for today and for the future.
- Clarity on timelines and quality. Many items in interiors are handmade and some are factory finished. Clearly the quality, finishing and timeline for the above items will be different.
Most interiors designers/architects work for the fee of course, but also for the joy of doing a nice project. Every completed project is their only way to get more project so always remember that they have much to lose if your home doesn’t look nice!
So, trust the interior designer to deliver the product once it is agreed upon. All designers work better with some creative freedom.
Step 2: keeping your professional engaged till the end
Getting a home interior completed, is a harrowing job. It includes making actual designs based on current market materials and trends and then actually running around getting the materials, fitting them, matching them, costing them, bridging delays, quality checking, price checking, workmanship checking, to name a few things
So one of the biggest turn offs are changes through the execution process. For every change made, someone has to check all the above steps and make sure it synchronises with the other materials already taken into execution. Initially designers might seem happy to incorporate but constant changes not only negates the design work they might have put in earlier but also makes them lose interest in the end product.
Always remember that beyond a point 85% designs look nice and get matched! It takes a lot of negligence to get an ugly design from a designer who you have checked was capable of good end results!
Points to keep your designer engaged into your project and happy to deliver till the end!
- Pay on time. Designers are an emotional lot, and also not a very mathematical lot. Money collection is also not a specialisation they graduate with.
- Compliment the good results along the way and in the end. There may be some not-so-good results, which hopefully should outweigh the work well done. If it’s a 95% result, it’s superb
- Share testimonials and referrals: this is probably the best way to ensure great work till the end and post completion.