Whether you’re the type of person who likes their house decked out with in-your-face statement pieces or one who enjoys a more reserved, minimalist apartment, there is one thing all homeowners have in common: they want to enjoy living where they live! If you’re someone who has never been truly satisfied with your setup—or are even just thinking about redecorating—you may want to consider hiring an interior designer. In addition to being well-educated and highly experienced, interior designers bring a pair of fresh, unbiased, and professional eyes to your home to look at it in ways you may have never considered. It might seem like a great undertaking to find an affordable designer who meshes well with your tastes, but by following the tips below it’ll be easy to separate the best interior designers in Los Angeles from the rest:
Figure out your budget
First thing’s first: decide how much you can (or are willing to) spend and go from there. Though most people don’t have an unlimited budget, interior design is not something you want to skimp out on entirely—especially with how incredible interior design in Los Angeles tends to be! As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for—if you’re going to put money into something, make sure you are putting your money into quality.
When calculating your budget, keep in mind that there are a few different ways designers charge fees: a flat rate (the price of the project is determined up front), an hourly rate, or at cost-plus (the designer purchases the furniture and decor and marks them up by a small percentage as a fee). Each method of payment has its own advantages and disadvantages, but a flat rate is the safest way to go if you are on a budget because the cost will be determined up front and you won’t have any surprises down the line.
Ask about their professional certifications
If you aren’t particularly familiar with interior design, you may not know that many states carefully regulate the interior design industry and require different certifications, degrees, and exams to become an accredited designer. These qualifications can include (but are not limited to) passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification exam and/or holding a bachelor’s (or even master’s) degree in interior design. It is also ideal to ask if they are a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), because this ensures that they have had extensive education and experience.
Carefully look through portfolios
Like any artist, most of the top interior designs in Los Angeles will have portfolios available on their website, and usually a more expansive CV upon request. There’s no better way to determine if a designer is the right fit for you and your home than to look at their past work.
Avoid designers with a “signature look”
Unless an interior designer’s “signature look” is exactly the style you want for your home, it’s best to look for designers whose past work show versatility. It’s OK if their portfolio tends to adhere to a certain overarching aesthetic, but you should be able to tell that each home was done for a different person. A good interior designer should be putting your personality on display in your home, not their own.
Determine what it is you want before hiring
You don’t need to have a concrete vision of what you want your home to look like on the inside, but make sure you are able to accurately describe what you are looking for. Look up examples of different styles and terminologies online (minimalist, industrial, Victorian-inspired, etc.) if you are unsure how to describe it. Plus, pictures of homes with the aesthetic you are looking for will only be all the more helpful for your designer.
Communication is key
You should give your designer a degree of trust—they’re experienced and know what they’re doing—but don’t be afraid to voice any concerns you may have with the way the project is going. A quick, clarifying conversation can save a lot of time, effort, and money in the long run. They’re professionals, but they can’t read your mind!
Be specific whenever you can
Telling your interior designer you want the room to be painted blue might seem pretty specific, but in actuality there are dozens of shades of blue to choose from. There’s a huge difference between “electric blue” and “navy blue.” Look through paint swatches to find examples of different colors and shades you find appealing and communicate this to your designer.
Have fun with it
Interior design is a chance to let your personality pop in your home. Make your home how you want it to be, not what you think is trendy!