Vellum Interiors | Full-service interior design & styling studio in Sydney • Residential • Design & Decoration


How to get the most out of working with an interior designer.

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Like any good partnership, working well with an interior designer comes down to trust and communication (well, mainly!). And if you’ve recently hired an designer, or if you’re thinking about it, these 5 tips will help you get the most from your investment, and be happy with the result!

1. Find someone you like

There’s nothing more satisfying than when my client and I have respect for one another, are on the same page, and genuinely get along! A project takes at least a few months to complete, so find someone you connect with, trust, and can be honest with. Re-doing anything in your home is always fun, so you want to feel comfortable and excited to work with your designer.

Make sure you’re open with your designer too — we aren’t magicians (or mind-readers) so being honest about what you like / dislike, what you need and want helps us understand your vision.

Your home is an incredibly personal space, so I know it can be difficult to put it in someone else’s hands. Honestly though, the best projects happen when my client is confident that I’ll complete their project with care and integrity. Presenting a creative idea is like sharing a piece of yourself, so trust that your designer has his or her whole heart in the job!

2. Set parameters and be decisive

This goes hand-in-hand with communicating openly. Often a designer will ask a set of questions up front (including about budget and style) to ensure everyone has the same expectations, as generally, the more info we have upfront, the better the result. Feel free to give as much info as you can think of!

If you have no idea what your project will cost, or how much you want to spend, start with a wish-list and your designer can help you prioritise.

Equally important is being decisive about what you want in terms of style. If you have a significant other, it’s helpful to chat before meeting your designer to ensure you’re both on the same page. Collecting of inspiration images together, either online or from magazines, also helps.

Another thing to consider is that when you’re re-doing something, everyone will have an opinion. And that’s lovely that they want to share their thoughts. But having a clear idea of what’s going to work for you and your family is the most important thing, because it will be you living with the decisions you make. Changing your mind down the track can also add to the cost.

3. Have an open mind

In saying that, part of the fun of working with a designer is achieving something that you couldn’t have done on your own. Part of this is being open to things your designer shows you that you may not have considered. One of the best things to hear from a client is “I never would have thought of that myself, but I love it!”. It’s often these elements that can take the design to the next level, and not just look like your next-door neighbour’s place.

4. Ask questions

An experienced designer will take new clients through their design process so you know exactly what to expect. Your designer will understand that you may not have renovated or re-decorated with a professional before, so if you’re unclear about anything it’s important to ask questions until you’re comfortable to move ahead.

Your designer should also give you regular updates on the progress of your project. Again, if you feel like you aren’t clear on anything, you should feel comfortable to ask as many questions as you need.

5. Prepare to wait

A successful design project takes time. Because we’re working with humans, there is inevitably waiting time for trades, lead times for furniture, and even custom-made cushions take longer than most people think (it’s always worth the wait to have something one-of-a-kind, though!).

We always tell our clients is that it’s likely something won’t go to plan — a trades person could make a mistake that sets the timeline back, a fabric may be discontinued, or the wrong taps could arrive.  Although there will be issues, your designer is experienced in solving problems and if you work together you’ll come to a solution.

The best thing about waiting, though, is that the final result is always worth it! This is an exciting time for and one that your designer will make smooth and enjoyable for you.

If you need help with your interiors project, or if you want to know more about getting the most from your interior designer, feel free to get in touch, or view our services here.

Alex Gourlay