If you are looking to drastically revamp your home’s interior, aside from simply the basics such as purchasing furniture, new decor, painting, etc., you may want to consider hiring a professional interior designer to assist with this process.
Interior designers play a crucial role in setting the style of your home, so it is important to find one with whom you can easily communicate and whom you can trust. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers these tips as a reference when choosing an interior designer:
Research carefully. Ask your friends, family members and neighbors if they can recommend an interior designer. Check out the designer’s reputation at BBBHouston.org, and read any reviews or complaints. Find out how long they have been doing business and how many homes they have designed. An interior designer is not required to obtain a license or registration in Texas to perform their services; however, if the designer claims to be a “registered interior designer,” they must be registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. You can confirm registration at: www.tbae.state.tx.us. Also, ask if the designer belongs to professional association for their industry.
Communicate with the designer. Communication is key in when working with a designer. Be sure they can be easily contacted by phone, email, or in person and that they respond in a timely manner. Be sure they can clearly answer all of your questions and concerns. The designer should be able to offer you direction and guidance from their previous experiences.
Decide the style of your home. If you already have a specific style of home in mind, communicate your wishes to the designer. Ask the designer if they specialize in a particular style of homes and ask how many homes they have designed in the style you desire. Request their portfolio, as you’ll want to choose a designer that has expertise with the style you are requesting. If you are still considering different styles for your home, be sure to look for a designer with a wide range of experience.
Check out references. Once you have narrowed down various designers, request a list of references. Be sure to talk to prior clients about their experiences with the designer. Ask the references if they are completely satisfied with their homes and if they would hire the designer again in the future. If possible, visit the homes and take a tour to check out the quality of the finished interior design.
Set a budget and compare costs. Plan a budget for the scope of the project, detailing costs for the interior designer, as well the amount for furnishings, decor, etc. Request an estimate, and make sure the estimate outlines the details of the job, start and completion date, and payment schedule. Comparing the estimates of different designers will help you get the most for your money; some designers charge a flat rate while others have an hourly rate. Once you have chosen a designer, be sure to get the details finalized in writing and read the contract thoroughly before signing.
The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail [email protected] Include your mailing address and phone number.