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Not Too Early, Not Too Late: When to Hire an Interior Designer

Contemporary living room design with brown leather couch and greenery
Photography by Seth Caplan

Wondering when to hire an interior designer to kickstart your home project in Washington, D.C.? Keep in mind that it’s never too early to reach out to an interior designer. Professionals are often booking projects several months in advance, so it doesn’t hurt to begin to contact designers you might be interested in hiring to gauge their availability. The earlier you begin outreach, the more options you will have when it comes to potential designers. 

Interior designers appreciate early outreach, too, given that this provides them with ample time to assemble a team of professionals for your project, identifying specific architects and builders who can best help you achieve your goals. 

You may also be wondering the specific instances in which hiring an interior designer is beneficial, too. The following scenarios are all cases in which it’s in your best interest to work alongside a professional

Hire an Interior Designer When Moving Into a New Home

Moving into a new home is an excellent opportunity to hire an interior designer who can work with you to recommend strategic updates to make your new house reflect your aesthetic and feel more fresh. For example, a designer can help you make decisions about painting kitchen cabinets, selecting new countertops, choosing new hardware (on cabinets, door knobs, etc), ordering new light fixtures, purchasing paint, or even reworking a layout in your home. As a skilled professional, an interior designer will be able to provide you with many different ideas that are tailored to your budget.

Additionally, with every move it is important to take stock of what we own. Prior to your move, an interior designer can work with you to go through your furniture and decor to help you figure out what is worth moving and will work well in your new home, and what you should part with ahead of time. Then, the designer can develop a concept using your existing furniture, decor, and the suggested new items to ensure your new home is cohesive and reflects your tastes. 

Hire an Interior Designer When You’re Seeking New Furniture, Decor, and Lighting

In the market for plenty of new home pieces? Interior designers excel at sourcing furniture and decor for clients. They have deep knowledge of furniture, where it is made, its quality, and what it is worth. Designers can help you avoid a costly mistake, and steer you away from buying products that will end up in a landfill only a few short years later.

Furthermore, interior designers have a deep database of suppliers, vendors, and trades they work with from all over the world. They will introduce you to new items that you will end up wondering how you ever lived without. Not to mention, designers have a firm grasp on “cool factor,” so your friends and family will be envious and curious about where you found these treasures!

Better yet, interior designers can provide access to trade-only vendors, giving you access to exclusive items (everything from lighting to wallpaper, fabrics and furniture) that you do not have the ability to get on your own. This will ensure that your home looks different from all of the others on your street!

Hire an Interior Designer When You Need Help Understanding Your Style

On the note of not wanting your home to look just like your neighbors’, interior designers are here to help you explore who you are and how you live. With so much inspiration out there on the internet, it is easy to end up with a home that is pretty but doesn’t necessarily reflect you. Similar to how a fashion stylist dresses a client in a way that is unique to them and plays to their individual characteristics, interior designers do this with your home. In fact, when clients are really stumped as to what their preferences are, we often start with their wardrobe. We can pull colors that are repeated in the wardrobe and get a sense of your aesthetic (is everything tailored and tight fitting, or looser fitting and free?). Everyone has an aesthetic, even if you aren’t sure what yours is at the moment. 

Hire an Interior Designer When You Are Planning a Full or Partial Renovation of Your Home

Surprisingly, interior designers are often overlooked during the renovation process. They might be brought on too late to make a real difference or introduced to the project after most of the budget has been spent elsewhere, minimizing their input on the project. Keep in mind that the pretty homes that you see in magazines and online all have a solid team from the outset of the project—this means a builder, interior designer, and architect when required. 

Each of these team members has a different role and sees things differently. Architects often start from the outside in, looking at the exterior features and elevations of a home, and how changes can be made. Builders approach a project thinking about how to get the job done: How do they build what is shown in the drawings? What subcontractors will they need to get the job done? What will it cost and how long will it take? Interior designers get to shape the heart of the home; the interior! They design the spaces that you live in, use every day, impact your mood, and are the stage for which you and your family live your life. You will see your living room in photos you look at years from now and remember the rug you had down when your daughter took her first step. We create the feeling and functionality that suits your family in your home. 

Patterned neutral wallpaper in entryway space design
Photography by Seth Caplan

Hire an Interior Designer If You Have a Small Budget

Yes, you read that correctly! If you have a tight budget, you need every dollar to count big time. This is where our design consultation service comes in. An interior designer can come in for a couple of hours for a fixed fee, and ultimately save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We hear this time and time again from clients we work with on a consultation basis. For instance, we had a client who wanted to update a powder room. They thought they needed a new vanity, and that would have eaten up too much of the budget. We came in and suggested they paint the vanity, and swap out the hardware, put them in touch with one of our go-to handymen who we knew would do a good job at a reasonable price, suggested a new light fixture and some wallpaper. As a result, the clients had a new powder room concept in only 30 minutes with us, that was hundreds of dollars less than they thought they had to spend. 

Ready to hire us to get the ball rolling on your next project, whether you’re prepping for a move or looking to take on a room makeover? We encourage you to take a look at our services in Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase, Kensington, and Bethesda.


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