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Choosing the Right Interior Designer

Selecting the right interior designer is a decision that can pay dividends for your family for years into the future. The positive impacts a designer makes on your home can change the way your family lives, works, learns and plays. Changes that not only add comfort and space but value and peace-of-mind.

Home is our retreat, where we fully relax and enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. If you yearn for something different at home, perhaps it’s time to think about how it currently fits your needs. It can certainly feel daunting to attempt design decisions and manage the process yourself. Whereas, working with a designer means a unique set of requirements. Here are a few tips when selecting your interior designer.

Tip 1: Look for an Aligned Aesthetic


We recommend compiling an inspiration board or idea book to establish a sense of what you’re drawn to. You can find a wealth of styles and content on Instagram, Pinterest, in magazines, and so forth. If you’ve bookmarked photos of materials, styles, trends and color palettes, it’s likely a good designer will be able to find patterns and similarities.

Having an inspiration board can help you narrow down the type of designer to look for. Are the photos you like more traditional, eclectic, modern, neutral, colorful? This will help you when searching for the interior designer that best meets your needs.

The TEWcrew often push the limit of what clients think is possible. Sometimes that means designs with bold colors, where neutrals once lived. Often it’s the bespoke design details that enable you to feel as though your space is wonderfully unique. The end result should represent your family’s lifestyle with new designs that fill you with satisfaction every time you come home.

Tip 2: Consider Your Timeline


Timing is such an important detail. With so many being at home for the past year, families are finally saying ENOUGH to those spaces that no longer function well. Whether it’s that small kitchen you’ve outgrown, the lack of a home office, or outdated furniture that needs replacing, 2020 helped many families build new appreciation for the comfort and functionality of home.

As a result, not only are good designers currently very busy, but furnishings and materials are also taking longer to produce and ship. Many manufacturers have had to work at lower capacity for the safety of their employees, and it has certainly impacted supply and demand.

Also consider the time necessary to comprehensively design your project. As the old adage goes “Don’t rush the process.” Top interior designers work diligently to be creative on their clients’ behalf.


We’ve found that the typical design phase upon client agreement can vary from 5 weeks up to 18-20 weeks, depending on scope and other variables. Remember that this includes design time, client meetings, feedback rounds, materials pricing, and so forth.

Great design takes time. It’s not enjoyable for the homeowner, the designer, the craftsmen, or others in the process to rush greatness in an effort to meet unrealistic deadlines.

Tip 3: Determine Your Budget

According to trade publication Qualified Remodeler, a good benchmark for a kitchen remodel is to budget roughly 15% of a home’s value. For primary bathrooms, the average is about 10%. These key rooms have the biggest impact on resale value. Whether you’re looking to move in a couple years, or you’ve found your forever home, remodeling the kitchen and primary bathroom will change your life… for the better!

It’s imperative to have a realistic budget when searching for an interior designer. Costs associated with projects are dependent on many factors, including the volatile lumber market, availability of cabinetry, hardware, textiles and other manufactured materials. This is why we place such a high value on relationships — with craftsmen, suppliers, installers and many more. Those relationships can impact your budget and make a big difference for projects large and small.

Tip 4: Get Personal


Achieving the best design possible also results from building trusting relationships between designer and homeowner. When interviewing designers, think about personality fit and what kind of working relationship you’re looking for. Having a designer help you with your home is nothing if not personal, and it’s essential that you not only enjoy their designs, but that you enjoy their company and respect their guidance.

Tip 5: Differentiate Decorators From Designers

TEW-interior-design-RaleighAre you in need of a full-service interior designer who can help you comprehensively plan and accent your space, or more of a decorating consultant?

A good interior designer will help you understand how spatial design updates will impact the structure and flow of your home — e.g., removing walls, moving bathroom fixtures and plumbing, etc. Designers plan for any structural or nonstructural changes and work directly with skilled craftsmen to achieve that look, whether it’s a full room interior design or a whole house design project.

Interior designers also have an extensive education background to help clients add value to their home, whether via adding architectural details or procuring commissioned artwork to highlight their space.

Whereas, if only consulting and directional help is needed, a decorator may be a good option to help you choose paint colors or window treatments, especially if your budget is tight.

Interior designers not only improve the appearance of your home; they enhance the function of that space. As a profession, this requires formal training in space planning, computer-aided design, architecture, furniture design, the study of pattern, style and trends, construction management, and so forth.

In Summary: Find the Right Fit


Are you looking for a vendor to help you with decorating decisions? Or, are you hiring a designer for their vision to show you the best potential in your home? It all comes down to how comprehensive your needs are.

It’s important that you, as the homeowner, see value when your space comes together. There are numerous phases to any project — from consultation to design estimates, from measurements to preliminary designs, from material acquisition to installation, and more.

The right interior designer will help you understand each phase and your role at every step in the process. Think of it as a partnership designed to achieve exceptional results that will create value and fill your home with comfort, joy and functionality.

Do you have questions about the interior design process?

Or, maybe you have ideas you’ve been contemplating that you’d like to discuss? We’d enjoy hearing from you.

Reach us at (919) 203-8003, or contact us via email.

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TEW Design Studio

611 Germantown Road

Raleigh, NC 27607

Phone: 919.803.2008

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