Considering hiring a professional full-service interior designer? Professionals can craft a stunning, functional space with less stress and time than you might manage solo.

Sure, you can scroll through Pinterest for inspiration, but replicating those dreamy rooms at home feels daunting. The options seem endless, and what looks great elsewhere might not fit your space. Don't worry, though. Designing a space that ticks all your boxes, stays within budget, and stands the test of time is no easy task.

That's where interior designers shine. With access to exclusive resources and a knack for problem-solving, they can create a cohesive, lasting vision tailored to you.

Working with a professional brings many perks. They offer expertise, access to unique products, and a network of reliable contractors. But before diving in, ask the right questions to ensure a smooth collaboration. From project costs to timelines, clarity is key for a successful partnership. 

Interior Designer London, interior design process

1. What’s your design process? How much time does each part of the process take?

This question is critical to understand what to expect as you move forward working with an interior designer. Although most designers follow a similar process, it is important for you to understand your designer’s particular progression from initial ideas through completed space.

Here’s what you can expect when you work with ACA Interiors:

  1. Discovery Call (20-30 minutes) - The discovery call is where we we will discuss your needs and preferences and answer any questions you might have when embarking on a renovation project! We will also show you how we work with clients and how we can help you.
  2. Consultation (1 hour) - Following the discovery call, we will schedule in an in person consultation, to visit the space and have a walk through together. This consultation will help build the scope of work and prepare an accurate design proposal that is tailored to your project requirements.
  3. Preparation of Design Proposal (2-3 days after consultation) - After the consultation, we'll prepare a detailed proposal to outline the scope of work, suggested project budget, and estimated timeline. Once approved, you'll receive a contract and invoice to officially confirm your spot on our design calendar.

  1. Getting Started - Once is official, we’ll schedule a kick off meeting to officially start your project. At this stage, we will require you to send us as much information as possible for us to have a clear vision of your goals for the project and tailor the design to your lifestyle.
  2. Kick Off Meeting - During this in-home meeting, we'll take pictures and measurements, catalogue your existing furniture, if applicable, and go through any final details that might arise from the information provided.
  3. Concept Design - The conceptual design phase is where we'll set the overall look and feel for your space to make sure we're in alignment.
  4. Design Development - Once the concept is approved, we'll finalise plans and source finishes, fixtures, and furnishings
  5. Project Implementation  - We'll collaborate with your contractors and place your orders with our vendors and suppliers.
  6. Project installation & Handover - Once your home is ready for soft furnishings, we'll oversee the installation so you can enjoy a big reveal.

2. How will we communicate throughout the project? How frequently will I hear from you?

You don’t want to feel left in the dark at any time during your project: why isn’t my interior designer calling me? Is anything happening? Are they even working on my project? 

These thoughts can be very anxiety-provoking and in our experience with our clients, it’s more often that “no news is good news”. But, you’ll want to make sure you understand the interior designer’s process and key milestones so you aren’t worried if you don’t hear from them during a certain phase. Once you know their process, you’ll have a full understanding of all the things they’re doing behind the scenes to keep your project on track.

It's crucial to consider both your preferred communication style and that of your designer. If you lean towards phone calls but your designer and their team excel at email communication, it might be necessary to adjust your expectations.

At ACA Interiors, we prioritise proactive communication. Expect regular updates via email, led by Ana or a designated team member. You'll also have access to a shared folder containing project documentation, ensuring transparency and minimising surprises.

3. What happens if there are issues during the process — like something gets delayed? Or if something goes wrong with an item or piece of furniture I purchased through you?

Understanding how your designer tackles challenges and responds to setbacks is crucial. Inquire about their approach and timeframe for addressing issues and concerns.

While we all hope for smooth sailing, knowing how problems will be handled is essential. A skilled designer will actively work towards solutions at every stage of the project.

Here at ACA Interiors, we prioritise strong professional relationships with contractors and tradespeople involved. This ensures open communication and swift action when issues arise, allowing us to tailor solutions that align with your vision, budget, and timeline.

4. What about the end of the project — during construction or installation? Will I hear from you or see you once construction starts? How often will you come by to check on things? And, what if there are changes or questions we need to figure out quickly?

Your designer should stay present throughout your project, but it's wise to clarify expectations. Ask about their process for bringing all the finishing touches together and ensure you understand the extent of their design services.

Here at ACA Interiors, we're deeply involved every step of the way. From collaborating closely with you and the project team to overseeing implementation and installation, we prioritize hands-on engagement. Regular site visits and meetings ensure meticulous supervision, allowing us to swiftly address any issues that may arise. Our procurement service handles furniture orders from estimate preparation to delivery coordination, ensuring a seamless transition to the final, furnished space. We're committed to making your project move-in ready and a joy to experience!

5. Who handles all the final details, like hanging artwork, placing accessories, buying light bulbs, removing packaging material and shipping boxes?

Understanding your role once the finishing touches arrive at your doorstep is key. Ever heard of "white glove delivery"? It means your items are assembled and all packaging is whisked away. But don't forget about the styling part - that's when your designer puts everything in place, from hanging art to arranging accessories.

Before this magic happens, it's good to know the logistics. Will you need to be out of the home during this phase? Are there extra fees involved? And what last-minute tasks will ensure everything's perfect?

At ACA Interiors, we offer installation and styling services for our full service projects and can discuss your needs during a Discovery Call . We always recommend our clients to budget for this final phase of the project - the styling is truly the magic touch that pulls everything together!

We hope these questions have been helpful for preparing you to hire an interior designer. The bond between designer and client is truly special. Throughout months or even years of collaboration on a project, our clients become like family to us. Designing someone's home, their sanctuary, is a privilege we deeply respect.

If you are considering hiring an interior designer and have enjoyed learning about our design process and team, we’d love to hear from you. The first step will be to fill in the project form and schedule an initial call here.  From there, we'll be in touch with further details. We look forward to the opportunity to work together!