Interior Design & Project Coordination

Claudia Giselle Design Blog

Studio updates.

Thinking Of Hiring an Interior Designer?


Nervous, apprehensive, overwhelmed, scared – these are words some clients use to describe how they feel before embarking on a design project.  It's understandable! The unknown can be scary.  So, what many people tend to do is to delay their project, sometimes for years and years, out of fear.  If you (yes you!) are thinking about doing an interior design project, I'd like to share a few techniques I believe will help you prepare for your design adventure!  

FIRST, Deep Breath and Reflect

Start by literally taking a deep breath, and reflect on your life.  Ask yourself the question (and record your answer):  What do you like or do you not like about your current living situation and how do you think it be improved – for yourself, your partner, your children, your pet or anyone who lives with you?  And if you live with others, involve them in this exercise by ask the question.  (Personally, I think it’s really beautiful when my clients involve their children in the design process.)

SECOND, visualize

What does a day in your life look and feel like in this NEW space?  Let yourself daydream and imagine, in a step by step manner, what your ideal interior environment would be.  What is the first thing you see, what is the first thing you think, what is the first thing you smell, what is the first thing you feel?  When you take that first step upon waking up in the morning, what do you feel under your feet?  A soft silky rug or hardwood floor with radiant heating?  What do you do throughout your day?  What's your routine in this ideal environment?  Imagine, it.  The more details you imagine the more your vision will crystalize.  And record your thoughts.

Third, References

Grab references.  Go online, or to a bookstore.  From a magazine rack grab all the magazines that catch your eye.  Buy as many as you like!  Rip out or tag all the pages that strike your attention.  Document any positive or negative reactions to the images.  Take a permanent marker, circle the items you like and be sure to document why.  Better yet, if you find a room you like or dislike, document how that room makes you feel.  Relaxed, invigorated, strong, powerful, glamorous, fun, playful, etc.

Online, pick ONE site where you can view and organize what interests you (I recommend Pinterest or Houzz).  If you find yourself tagging everything you see, back away from the computer and come back in a few days.  Review your photos and start editing them.  And continue editing until you have a manageable number of images that express your IDEAL.

Notice this process takes effort. Don't worry about looking at specific furniture, lighting, or plumbing fixtures.  If you find them along the way, great!  But the objective of this exercise is to gather images that articulate your ideal vision.  What you put in the space is secondary.  What you want the place to BE is everything, and a trained designer will be able to populate the vision with the appropriate furnishings, lighting, etc. 

Forth, Selecting a Professional

While some people try to take on the design and decoration project themselves – and some while may succeed – for many, it doesn't seem to go so well. Without going into the many reasons why it's hard for most people to do it themselves, my position is simply: HIRE A PROFESSIONAL.  But, selecting a designer is not always easy.  Assess his or her professionalism and review references.  And equally as important is CHEMISTRY.  Hire a professional who you can trust with your investment.  

Upon selecting an interior designer, show her or him the images you’ve gathered.  Review your ideals, your wants and needs.  

Before I make any recommendations about a design, I seek to know about my client’s needs and wants.  Afterwards, I run their vision through my filter and create a design that's unique to them. A design that EXPRESSES them.  

Lastly, give your designer the creative freedom to do their job.  Remember why you hired them.  Then relax and enjoy the journey.