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Large seating area in a lake country home.

Building a Custom Home: Do I Need to Hire an Interior Designer?

Interior Designers can do so much more than just help with furniture selection and wall colors.  The right interior designer can provide a variety of services including:

  • Selections (from window color to plumbing fixtures, there are many selections to make during the home building process.)
  • Inspiration: not sure what you like? An interior designer can help you find your style.
  • Spatial planning for each room: it is overwhelming to plan your space! Your architect can also help with this, but a designer who works specifically in kitchens can help with small details.
  • Color selections for interior and exterior that will flow together.
  • Lighting designs and lighting fixtures.
  • Furniture selection, styles and layout.
  • Flooring design and selection, wood floors, rugs and tile.
  • Designing for any special needs, from designing a home to grow old in to a home for a person with any type of handicap or special needs.
  • Cost and quality comparisons.
  • Design boards.

How to choose a designer?

Your custom home builder may have an in-house designer or recommend designers that they have worked with. This is a good place to start. If they do not, narrowing down a list of potential interior designers for your project may be easier than you think.  You can start by visiting the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).  They have a helpful link right on their home page that allows you to select your project type and state and immediately find licensed Interior Designers in your area.

A wonderful online tool and good source for interior designers is Houzz, which has thousands of Interior Designers and in every category you can imagine. If you already found someone you like, see if they have a Houzz portfolio so that you can browse their past projects and see if their design style complements the ideas you have for your home. You can search Houzz by city, zip code and specific spaces (kitchen designers, bathroom designers), to get more specific.

Hiring the right interior designer for your project is going to take time, and like selecting the architect and custom home builder for your project, you want to be sure they are a good fit and understand your style, budget and ideas.  The decisions you make with your designer are aesthetic in nature and will be seen after your home is complete and will create the final look and feel you will be living in.  This will have an impact on the final appearance of every room in your home.

What to share with your Interior Designer?

  • What is your “Wish List” for your custom home?  You may not know exactly what you want, but be able to share a vision of how you want your home to look.
  • A list of websites and products you have been gathering. Create multiple boards on Pinterest, from exterior colors, kitchen, master bathrooms, etc. These will help your designer understand your style.
  • Be able to share how you and your family live. How do you function in your home and what will help your family to live more efficiently in the space?
  • What are your long term plans for the home – will this be a forever home, will you be aging in this home, or will it be only a home for the next 5-10 years? Designing a home for a young, new family is very different from one for a family on its way to being empty-nesters.

Other areas you will want to understand and questions to be sure to ask:

How does the interior designer price? Is it a flat fee, an hourly fee, a percentage of the project fee? It is important to understand how you will be charged up front. Many designers can help save you money as they have discounts and relations with companies in the industry. They can also save you time, as they know exactly who and where to go to get the item you are looking for.

Other Things to Consider

  • Does the interior designer have references for you to call on?
  • Does the interior designer have insurance and warranties?
  • Is the interior designer available to you, your custom home builder and the architect?

Once you’ve made your decision and selected your designer, let the fun begin and enjoy the process!

 

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