Choosing the Perfect Interior Designer

How to Choose Your Unique “Perfect” Interior Designer

By Beth Whitlinger, ASID, CID

“Perfect” is defined as having all the required or desirable elements, qualities or characteristics and being as good as it is possible to be. In choosing the “perfect” interior designer, “perfect” is subjective to what each person thinks is perfect. Here is a guideline of the essentials to define your unique “perfect” designer.


Your perfect designer is calm, methodical and process-oriented and will work through challenges in a proactive way, delivering a drama-free experience. While it’s always somewhat stressful to have your home under construction, having a flexible and organized designer makes the process as smooth as possible.


Your perfect designer has experience designing in a wide breadth of styles, from traditional to contemporary, and can blend styles to create an interesting and inviting look for your home. Your perfect designer will integrate your style into the design and can incorporate your special furniture pieces, artwork and collectibles, even if you are moving from one style to another one.


An interior that looks curated, as if items were collected over time, creates a more inviting and timeless environment than having everything in a single style, which may look thematic and can quickly become dated. Your perfect designer knows how to curate the items that make your home unique, a little eclectic, comfortable and totally you.


Whether you’re updating a single-room or building a 20,000-square-foot home, communication is essential. Your perfect designer will organize and document every detail, including specifications, product and material prices against the budget and all tangible deliverables. Your perfect designer will provide a physical or digital file that you can review together to ensure everything is moving in the desired direction.


Your perfect designer will understand everything about your project, from architectural and construction principles to accounting and specifications, including furniture construction. Most importantly, your perfect designer will understand scale, balance and proportion to ensure an appealing look for your interior and exterior living areas. Having a designer who is both methodical and creative can result in out-of-the-box thinking for clever and interesting designs that are beyond your wildest dreams.


There’s a big difference between an educated designer and someone who’s just good with color. Your perfect designer will have a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design plus experience working on varied projects. His or her portfolio should reflect designs that not only appeal to you but also show the breadth of his or her skill, style and ability to meet the client’s desired look. Your perfect designer is a fully accredited design member of a professional association, such as ASID.


Your perfect designer will be comfortable and experienced with the budget process. At the beginning of your project, your designer will deliver a master budget that serves as an estimating tool for the entire project. A solid budget plan will give you the peace of mind of where your money is going and the knowledge that the project is staying within budget. The budget plan gets filled in each step along the way with information on each piece that is going into your home. From flooring to fixtures, everything that is being purchased for your home is in the budget. If construction is also being done on your home, these items can also be added to your budget so everything related to cost is in one place.


Your perfect designer will create a timeline and will provide you with periodic updates on construction, deliveries and installation to ensure deadlines are being met. She or he will coordinate with the architect, general contractor, landscape architect and any other trades involved with your project so that everything is completed in an effective timeline. If there are challenges, you can trust your perfect designer to endeavor to resolve them with the entire team.


Whether or not you are living in your house through the redesign, your perfect designer is one whom you can trust to oversee what is going on in your home, including who is going to be there and when, and to ensure your home is secured at the end of each work day.

Conclusion: Your perfect designer is the one that’s perfect for you

Most importantly, your perfect designer listens and understands what you want and how to interpret your desires into the overall look and feel of the home. She or he will work within your comfort level, price and style, without attempting to force anything onto you. The bottom line is that it’s your home, and the most important part of the design is that you are pleased and comfortable with the end result.