How To Prepare For Your First Design Meeting
The majority of people who contact us looking for interior design services are on what we refer to as ‘second wave’ research. That means they have already spoken to several designers and then gone away and done further research and gathered all the necessary documentation and then sort out new designers. This is a bit of a waste of everybody’s time. A designer can’t really tell you anything unless you know of and can provide certain details, so you won’t get anything out of the meeting. And once you’ve gathered all those items, you rarely go back to the original designer (nobody knows why, but statistically this tends to happen. Probably because once you’ve really thought about what you want you might find a designer who looks a better fit, or because you were disappointed that no one could give you a proper quote or solid information). Often clients will come to us before purchasing a property, so by the time they have actually managed to get the keys and decide on a budget, they might well have forgotten which designer they liked best. On average people see 6 designers before settling.
So what are these key things which interior Designs require:
Rough ones are fine. Estate agents drawings are rarely to scale, but they are fine for basic quoting purposes. You’ll want something that highlights where service hatches and structural walls are located. These can often be untouchable, and so will influence what your designer and builder can do.
We recommend setting up a Houzz account, as it is the most interiors driven site. Pinterest is also useful, as are scraps from magazines. Getting a good idea of the style and finish you are trying to achieve is very helpful for us when quoting.
3. Information about your building
When you tell us your address at initial contact, we’ll do some primary research on the area, but it’s much better if you can also let us know if it is a listed building, in a conservation area, in a portered flat with no parking access etc. This is more helpful for timeframes than quotes, but it will influence the design and there will be cost implications.
4. A realistic run down of how you live and how much stuff you have
Completely remodelling your house will not change how you go about your life. Great home design (the only kind we offer) understands the way you live and adapts to that, making everything easier for you. But it won’t turn you into a morning person, or suddenly make you a top chef, or make laundry fun. Clients often have the idea that they will throw everything out and start a fresh, and this time they will be neat and tidy and not accumulate so much junk. But in a year’s time it will all be back because that is how they live. If you never move your dirty clothes from the bathroom back to the laundry basket in the bedroom, we are going to put a laundry basket in your bathroom, or better yet, a laundry shoot that goes straight to a dedicated utility room.
People often want to come to us in order to hear what something is going to cost, and then set the budget from there. Building and design works can literally cost anything from £1000-1M for the same space, depending on your tastes and plans. We are happy to give you a quote, as long as you have provided the above information and have a clear idea of what you want from your property (i.e. extra bathrooms, more storage, bigger kitchen). Many interior designers will be hard to pin down on this issue. We make a point of being as transparent and upfront about costs as possible.
The easiest way for us to work is for you to provide a set budget. We can then work within that framework to outline your desired look and give a far more accurate idea of what is achievable.
What we often find is that clients tend to have a ‘natural’ budget that fits their taste. They will settle on a figure that is as low as they can get it, then when it comes to looking at furniture they’ll change their mind and say, no, this sofa is more “me”, i don’t care that it’s 3x the originally budgeted price.
So before you contact a designer, gather up and have a think about these 5 things. Then you’ll be several steps closer to getting the home you have always dreamed of.