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5 Questions to Save You From Choosing the Wrong Designer

5 Questions to Save You From Choosing the Wrong Designer

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Dickens had a deeper meaning when he wrote this, but his words could very easily be applied to the process of building or remodeling a home. It can be a nerve-wracking process; parting with your savings, determining who to hire, making decisions about things you only halfway understand.

Great professionals make the entire process easier, and one of the most important is a talented interior designer. It is easy to look at their portfolios to see whose work you enjoy, but how can you know who you should trust, and who you will enjoy working with? We worked with Yates Desygn, a Dallas-based design firm, to come up with 5 questions you should ask any designer before hiring them on your project.

 Kips Bay Dallas 2021

Kips Bay Dallas 2021 / Yates Desygn / Photo by Stephen Karlisch

1. What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

We are assuming that you have already reviewed the designer’s portfolio, and that you like their work. The beauty of this question is that it reveals the designer’s passion and motivations. What do they enjoy doing? What gets their creative juices flowing? Most importantly, is their passion something that excites you? There is no “right” answer to this question, it is just a good way to get the designer talking so you can begin to understand whether you would enjoy working together.

2. What is my involvement in the design process, and how much time should I plan to dedicate to this?

Speaking of working with the designer, it is time to dig a little more into how they work. Again, there is no objectively right or wrong answer, what matters is how their vision matches up with yours. If you want to be intimately involved in the design process, you want a designer that understands how to involve you and is interested in doing so. On the other hand, if you want them to come back to you with a finished design, make sure they are comfortable working with limited direction.

The Yates Desygn Team’s take: 

"Our proven design process has been carefully honed over the years, and we've found it to be vastly successful. We welcome our clients to be as involved or uninvolved in the design as they would like, but either way, they must be comfortable with the steps we outline in our initial consultation before we take on their project."

Kips Bay Dallas 2021 

Kips Bay Dallas 2021 / Yates Desygn / Photo by Stephen Karlisch

3. How do you consider function when designing?

Many people may not understand just how much good interior designers understand about the functionality of a space. How people circulate, how natural light impacts a room, how materials will hold up to the families use, how a home will allow the owners to age-in-place. These are the types of questions that a good designer should consider when designing a space, and the way they ask questions should reflect this. If you want more than aesthetic input from your designer, ensure they are comfortable helping with functionality as well.

4. What is your process for communicating with me during the project?

Design firms have far more in common with project managers than they do home stagers, they are constantly juggling deadlines, battling with logistics and wrestling with budgets. How they keep you updated is an important part of their expertise.

  • Who will be your primary point of contact?
  • How often will you speak?
  • What methods will they use to communicate?
  • Are there any key milestones you need to know about?
  • What happens if there are delays?

Ask direct questions about the communication process, a good firm should be able to give direct answers.

5. What happens if I don’t like your design?

Just because you like the work a designer has done in other homes doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to like their first attempt at your space. This may be the most important question to ask because it will lay the ground rules for dealing with a worst-case scenario. Talking about it ahead of time will also help you understand the best way to discuss a potentially sensitive topic. Just remember, it is your home, and you need to love it. If you don’t, say something as early as possible so your entire team can find the best way to ensure you love your new space.

Advice from the Yates Desygn Team:

"Any designer that a client works with should be able to accept constructive criticism of their design. The ultimate goal, after all, is for the client to love the final result! Therefore, we encourage our clients to speak up often and early if there is an aspect of the design they are unsure about. This allows us to pivot as needed and avoid costly changes."

Kips Bay Dallas 2021

Kips Bay Dallas 2021 / Yates Desygn / Photo by Stephen Karlisch


For a longer discussion with the Yates Desygn team, check out our recent podcast here.

If you are beginning a new project, BRAVAS Houston is happy to help you build the right team to design and build your home. While we focus on the technology, our aim is to help you love your home, and we know the people who can help make that happen. Please reach out to us today so we can ensure your home is the best possible place for your family to live, work and play.

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