Get some tips on making the most of this professional relationship that requires a personal touch.

Hiring an interior designer is a big commitment and like hiring any contractor, you should spend some time checking references, licenses and examples of their work before you select the right interior designer for your new home or remodeling project.

Interior designers are not the same as interior decorators; decorators don’t design the layout of your home or space. A designer works with architects and contractors and should be certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.

After determining that a designer is qualified, ask the following questions:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you have any specialty areas or certifications?
  • Do you use a standard contract or letter of agreement?
  • What’s the scope of your service and what sort of fees do you charge?

Once you feel comfortable with a designer’s qualifications and experience, it’s critical to consider how well you think you can work as a team. When it comes down to it, this will be a really important personal relationship for you for the length of your project. You need someone who will listen to what you want and remain patient when you just need to vent. If your personalities click from the start, you’ve probably made a wise choice. This project should be fun and you should be thrilled with the outcome.

And in case you’re thinking about saving a lot of money and using your friend’s friend who has helped a few people decorate their homes instead of contracting with a certified interior designer, remember that interior designers also have history, training and the ability to get quality materials and furnishings for your home. They’ll merge their knowledge with your personal style, not just follow the latest trends and make your house look like all the others they’ve worked on.