How To Hire Someone To Decorate My House

How To Work With An Interior Designer

Michelle Gage // How To Work With An Interior Designer — Michelle Gage

Alright folks, I'm going to let you in on a few designer secrets. While there is no real secret sauce, there are a few things that you can do to make your designer/client working relationship serve you best. I'm going to break down some tips on how to be an ideal client. I'm not providing these tips to imply that I need to school people on how to act. I just get a lot of questions from clients on how they can get the most out of their experience. Well, here's how...

1. Have a vision. Many clients will hire a designer for their creativity and ability to see a room's potential. Yes, designers are skilled at that - but keep in mind that you are the one who is most familiar with the space. If you're interested in redesigning your tired living room, you probably already have a long list of dreams for the space. If you have a Pinterest board, share it! Ultimately, a designer's goal is to have the space reflect the homeowner. Sharing your ideas sets the project off on the right track.

2. Have a budget. This can be a hard one. If you are working with a designer for the first time, you may not be familiar with what things can cost. However, I encourage you to try your hardest to come up with a budget. If your designer doesn't know where you stand on certain items, you are just making her job harder and setting yourself up for disappointment. Your designer needs to know if she is sourcing you a $3,000 sofa or a $10,000 one. Remember, you've hired someone to design a complete space for you. In order to do so, they need the complete picture. 

3. Trust your designer. Yes, you should have a vision - but you should also trust that you have hired a capable professional to execute that vision. You have to believe that your designer has the space's best interest in mind. Know that they bring many years of experience to the table and very aware of what is happening their industry.

4. Be decisive. This is especially important when you are using a designer that operates on an hourly rate. Being certain in what you want (and even in what you don't) keeps the project moving along. If you're getting hung up on every little decision, the space will stall. You just need to land on one item to get the ball rolling. That one item can be anything - sofa, rug or even a piece of art. That one decision informs the rest of the room's needs. If you are having trouble making a decision, let your designer do it!

5. Be patient. Things take time - especially in the design world. On average, a sofa can take 8-12 weeks to be made and sent to your front door. It could take some time to get a painter out to your space to even just quote the job. These factors are outside of your designer’s control and unfortunately a fact of life. Your designer will help you navigate these unknowns, but know that many delays you'll experience throughout the project have nothing to do with the designer’s ability to manage your project.

6. Play a part. If you aren't really concerned with each and every item selected, hand the reigns over to the designer. If you tend to be picky, try to collaborate. I always encourage my clients to participate in the design process. More often than not, the homeowner has been the one to suggest at least one piece we wind up purchasing for their space. Know that your input is valuable. At the end of the day, you will be the one living in the home, so work with your designer to ensure the space reflects your personal style.

7. Understand your contract. Be sure to read your contracts terms and conditions. As with any form, don't just sign on the dotted line. You really need to be familiar with how your designer operates. Her contract may have rules on late payments, photography and placing orders. If you have concerns about anything you read, be sure to ask for further clarification. My point - know who you are hiring!

If you can come to the table prepared, you'll be set up for success. The process takes a lot of focus and determination. I wouldn't say that it's a hard process, but it can be emotionally taxing. You pour so much into a project - as the designer and as the client - and care so much about the results. Even if you pass the project off to your designer completely, you'll need to review designs and orders along the way. Make sure you have the time to dedicate to such a project and be ready to be active in the process! 


One Room Challenge: Get The Look // Palm Springs Project

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Get The Look // Palm Springs Project
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Get The Look // Palm Springs Project
Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: Get The Look // Palm Springs Project

It is one week after the reveal of The Palm Springs Project. I am still giddy over how everything turned out. As mentioned in the previous posts, things shifted a bit from our original design plan. I wanted to share these changes and all of the sources we shopped to pull this project together. As mentioned, everything was fairly affordable. Keep in mind, when purchasing products for an entire space, the cost will start to add up. Luckily for us, Natalie had some of these items already, keeping our cost down. She had a great vintage credenza, Moroccan rug and shelving unit for us to use. 

SOFA, $999 - This was the piece Natalie "had to have" - and I am all about a pink sofa. 

PILLOWS, $18-39 EACH - Pillows are the perfect way to add texture to a space!


MOROCCAN POUF, $155 - Poufs are a great way to add a little extra seating into a space, when needed. 

MOROCCAN RUG, $399 - Initially, we debated on two affordable options from World Market. When we couldn't decide, Natalie offered up the one she planned to use in her bedroom. 

END TABLE, $76 - This affordable option looks much more expensive that its price indicates. 

MCM CREDENZA, $399 - Again, this was a piece Natalie already owned and wished to use in her space. It was the perfect fit to sit beside the fireplace.

TABLE LAMPS, $107 - The initial design plan featured lamps that were twice the price. When looking for areas to cut back, I knew that we could find a duplicate. 

FELT LETTER BOARD, $60 - When I had suggested that Natalie purchase this piece for her space, she informed me that she already had it. PERFECT!

WALLPAPER, $599 - This is one of the most special features in the space. We both agreed that this space needed wallpaper, but we didn't want a style we had seen before. We wanted something in the botanical family - but were over traditional palm prints. This style spoke to us. When I showed it to Natalie, she knew it was THE ONE.

BAR CART, $698 - This was the bar cart of Natalie's dreams. Since she is in fact a bar tender, she thought it would be worth the splurge - AND BOY WAS SHE RIGHT. Every other option we looked at fell short of expectations. We were able to secure a 20% off coupon, which alleviated some of the cost. 

RATTAN MIRROR, $123 - Natalie already had this vintage mirror in her possession - we just needed to find the right home for it. 

NEON SIGN, $169 - Every funky space needs a neon sign - especially one that reminds you to stay wild.

S/2 CHAIRS, $400 - Yes, you read that price right - that's the price for both! When our originally selected chairs fell through, these swooped in and saved the day.

SHELVING, $80 - This is your basic, standard shelving unit. Natalie had it. It worked. Done.

CACTUS CANDLES, $28 - An obvious choice for #shelfie styling...

FLAMINGO CATCHALL, $30 - The perfect place to keep your keys and change...

PLANTERS, $29-36 - We both agreed that this space needed to be loaded up with plant life. These quick picks from Target added so much interest to the space. 


DINOSAUR PRINT, $49 - The photo that you see printed is actually a shot that Natalie took while in Palm Springs. We framed it through Framebridge and knew it had to live over the fireplace. 

NUDE PAINTING, $140 - We are both big fans of "stranger art" and knew that we needed a piece for this project. Originally, Natalie wanted one that was twice the price. When I presented this option to her, she snagged it right away! This particular style is one-of-a-kind, but the seller has more wonderful options in her shop. 

METALLIC BASKET, $44 - Every giant cactus needs a metallic basket to live in. 

We looked at A TON of options when sourcing items for this space. Be sure to check out the additional products we previewed over on this project's pinterest board.