SHARE

Do I Need an Interior Designer for My Remodel?

By Leslie Eiler

Seattle Kitchen Designed by an Interior Designer

Q:

What does an interior designer do during a remodel and do I need one?

A:

From a technical standpoint, an interior designer’s qualifications can vary greatly from state to state. Some states have legal statutes that require one to obtain a license, just as one needs to be licensed to practice medicine or law. Other states do not have any requirements.

Most interior designers have formal education and hold a degree in their field, plus some level of on-the-job training, such as an internship before graduation. From there, a designer’s skill really depends on the person.

In general, interior designers are professionals who specialize in the art and science of planning spaces (both inside and out) that address the safety and well-being of occupants. Designers identify, research, plan, and implement creative solutions that make spaces function and look better.

Do you need to work with an interior designer on your remodeling project?

While there is not a legal requirement to do so, there are many benefits. Here are just a few:

Less stress

 For those who have never experienced a building project, the sheer number of design decisions that must be made can come as a shock. Even homeowners who have undertaken several remodeling projects can get overwhelmed by all the choices they have to make, on everything from finishes to paint color to flooring to cabinet pulls. Decision fatigue is very real, and having an interior designer on your team can be a real asset. A designer can make recommendations and help narrow down the choices based on a client's personal style and goals for the project. He or she can also make sure that everything chosen fits the space, aesthetically and physically.

Savings

While hiring an interior designer certainly comes with a cost, many homeowners find that they actually save money overall with a designer on their team. Much as a professional CPA can save you more than their fee on tax preparation, a professional designer can help you minimize costly change orders and delays during your remodeling project. A good designer will ensure that all critical components and materials are specified before construction begins or well before they are needed on the job site. He or she will also help you understand the design before the carpenters and tradespeople begin work so you can avoid any changes to the design during the build.

The benefit of experience

Great interior designers have experienced many remodeling projects, all of which are unique, but which share a lot in common. As a homeowner, you can benefit from all this experience. A professional interior designer can anticipate issues with your project--remember, they've seen most of it before--and guide you toward solutions before a problem comes up. They will help ensure that all of your preferences and expectations are reflected in your building plans so that nothing is improvised during construction and few last-minute decisions need to be made. After all, most homeowners would rather not receive an urgent call at work from their builder wanting them to make an important decision on the spot.

Access to exclusive products

Did you know that there are certain products that can only be sourced through a designer? Most major cities have one or more design centers that have a wide array of furniture, tile, fixtures, and decorative items that are unavailable for direct sale to the public. Often these pieces offer more choices for customization. For instance, upholstered goods, like sofas and chairs, will be available with almost any imaginable upholstery, a far greater selection than what you might find at a place like West Elm or Pottery Barn. Pieces purchased with the assistance of a designer will often be of heirloom quality, with hand-crafted solid hardwood frames, that are much more durable than furniture manufactured overseas. And because designers have access to trade discounts, this better-quality furniture that is customized just for you may be available at prices that are comparable to, or even less than, consumer brands.

Are you wondering what it's like to work with a designer?

As a design-build firm, all of our projects begin and end with our team of talented in-house designers, including interior designers, project designers, and architectural designers. If you are considering a remodel, we encourage you to come meet our design staff and get a feel for how the process works. If you should decide to become a client, you will work with a designer who is dedicated to making your project just right for your needs. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to schedule a time to drop in.

 Free Guide to Hiring a Remodeler