5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them

Thinking it’s time to bring in a kickass interior designer to help you bust out of a boring home?

It’s crucial that you totally jive with your designer, share similar values, and that you trust her to push you a bit outside of your comfort zone. After all, why else would you hire a designer if you could have done it yourself?

Here are 5 questions to ask an interior designer before you hire them to make sure it’s the right fit (and I’ll just go ahead and answer them right now for you, too):

Can you help me figure out my design style?

You got it! In fact, you can get started discovering your true design style LIKERIGHTNOW with this awesome quiz. Helping people bust out of boring and discover their true style is a crucial part of our design process, and as I get to know you and your tastes we’ll create a design plan that makes your heart totally sing (belt out Whitney Houston tunes, even!).

Can you work with my budget?

Aaaah, budget. The short answer: YES. If that’s what you really, really want.

The long answer: it’s your home, your investment, and ultimately you as the client decide what to spend. I have never worked with anybody whose budget matched their wishlist. That’s human nature. Think of it like buying a car. You might only want to invest in a Kia but everything you want is a Mercedes. It is totally in your power to decide if you want to scale down your wants and needs to the Kia, or if you want to up your budget to meet your Mercedes dreams.

(Here’s a deeper dive on how to keep an interior design project in budget, if you’re interested.)

5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them (including a biggie: "Can you work with my budget?")

What design package is the best fit for me?

I’m so glad you asked! There’s a reason we don’t list the details about the interior design services we offer online and we ask new clients to book a complimentary consultation call first. It’s amazing what we can uncover on a 20-minute call together and by learning more about you, your wants and needs, and your budget, I can recommend the most ideal package that’s going to get you a kickass end result (ie. your dream living room you can’t wait to invite your girlfriends into for a wine and cheese and gossip sesh!).

We have several awesome design packages ranging from a 2-hour Design Jumpstart session (where you’ll get lots of high-level ideas and a ton of resources to make things happen on your own) to full-service Design Comprehensive (where we do all the heavy lifting and wow you with an HGTV-worthy reveal) as well as several options in between.

Depending on how much you want to be involved and how much you want to invest, we’ll recommend the design package that will best rock your world.

What if I don’t like something you’ve selected?

Girl, it happens. We usually knock it out of the park with our design plan and furnishings selections, but occasionally there will be one or two things that just don’t do it for you. And that’s okay – please speak up! We want you to be over the moon with your room design, and we allow time for reselections.

Nothing will be purchased on your behalf without your approval (and without a check from you) so no worries. We’re not gonna go rogue and put something in your home you’d rather pass on.

5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them (including a biggie: "What if I don't like something you've selected?")

If I find a better deal on furniture, can I buy it on my own, instead of through you?

There are a lot of designers with their knickers in a twist over this one. “Clients are shopping me! They’re buying the same things behind my back that I proposed to them!

I’m going to be super candid here, as I know there’s a lot of chatter about this between designers, but not in front of clients. So, dear reader/potential client/curious observer of the design industry, here’s how it works if a designer proposes something (say, a sofa) and you buy it through her firm. Designers do get a discount off of “retail” pricing, and those discounts vary from vendor to vendor. If a designer is selling something to you, she likely has a margin on it and YES, WILL MAKE SOME MONEY BY SELLING IT TO YOU. Interior design is a business, not a hobby! And selling furniture and decor is one revenue stream for designers.

Just because a designer is making some profit on the items she’s selling doesn’t mean you’re not getting a great price on it. I try to match MSRP or even offer clients a lower price than they can find online. But ultimately, Lesley Myrick Art + Design isn’t Wayfair or Amazon – and I just don’t have the buying power that the retail giants do to offer crazy discounted prices.

The reality is, I’m procuring items less and less frequently for clients these days. Sometimes a 10% off coupon is all it takes for a client to be able to get a better price than I can offer.

And that’s okay! Wayfair and Amazon aren’t going away, and I’m not going to fight it. It ain’t worth my time to sell products at bottom dollar. I’d be broke-ass and a pretty sad designer. Nobody wants to hire an interior designer that lives in a cardboard box because she can’t afford her mortgage payment.

So here’s the deal – for projects at a certain budget level, I am happy to take on the workload of procuring furnishings and decor as part of a full-service, we-do-all-the-work-so-you-don’t-have-to project. For busy clients who don’t want to spend their time shopping with 10% off coupons and dealing with the headache of lost deliveries and damages and assembling furniture, they LOVE that we can take care of all this crap for them.

But as the interior design industry changes and becomes more accessible and affordable, more and more clients want to buy things themselves. I am totally down with that, and because of this shift in the past few years, most of our design packages are now design only – we’ll do the awesome creative stuff that only we can do (really, that’s what you’re hiring Lesley Myrick + Design for!) and you pull the trigger and make it happen on your own.

PHEW. End of soap box rant.

Is there a question you’d love to ask Lesley Myrick Art + Design?

If it’s pertaining to a design project in your home, I’d love to chat with you on a complimentary call – book yours right here. If it’s a general interior design question you’re curious about, please email me and I’d be happy to help!


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

How to Work With a Virtual Interior Designer - tips from Atlanta designer Lesley Myrick

Even though Lesley Myrick Art + Design is based in Atlanta, Georgia, we have rad clients all over the US and Canada including California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ontario. I love to travel to be hands-on with my design projects, but when budget or time doesn’t allow for that, there IS another way to work together. The internet is a magical thing that allows me to collaborate with clients regardless of location as a virtual interior designer. We meet using Zoom or similar video chat software and the design process happens totally online.

Pretty badass, right?

Love this master bedroom moodboard designed by Lesley Myrick! (She's also got great tips on how to work with an interior designer virtually).

A Design Kit is a virtual interior design package for people who prefer to DIY from a custom design plan. Lesley Myrick Art + Design creates a gorgeous personalized Design Kit package that includes a moodboard (like the bedroom seen above), space plan, fabric and finish samples, and shopping list; then all the shopping is done online by the client (that’s you!).

The Design Kit arrives by mail and is THE FUNNEST package to open as it’s full of beautiful things chosen just for you and your home. Grab a glass of wine and make it an event to unbox it!

Love this colorful great room moodboard designed by Lesley Myrick! (She's also got great tips on how to work with an interior designer virtually).

If it’s time to hire a design pro for your home (here’s how you can tell you’re ready) and you need design guidance but want to handle the ordering and implementation yourself, virtual design may be the way to go. Here are a few tips on how to work with a virtual interior designer for a kickass outcome:

How to Work With a Virtual Interior Designer - tips from Atlanta designer Lesley Myrick

How to Work With a Virtual Interior Designer

Come prepared with inspiration and ideas.

You don’t need to know how to pull all your random ideas together into a cohesive design – that’s why we’re here! But a picture is not just worth a thousand words, it’s worth A ZILLION during this process. Having a Pinterest board or Houzz Ideabook with interior images that you like is a valuable foundation in the virtual interior design process to allow your designer to get to know you, your style, and preferences quickly.

Understand that you’ll be doing some of the work – but we’ll walk you through it.

Since a virtual designer can’t be there in person to measure the space, take photos, and look closely at architectural details, we rely on our clients to do this. It may sound overwhelming at first, but I’ve got tools and resources to guide you and make the process easy-peasy. If you’re willing to follow instructions and put in a little legwork the outcome will be totally awesome.

Love this colorful office moodboard designed by Lesley Myrick! (She's also got great tips on how to work with an interior designer virtually).

Follow the design plan through to completion.

Your Design Kit is a whole-room plan, from furniture layout to paint colors to accent decor selections lighting. To get the best result possible it’s important you see the plan through to completion. By only proceeding with select elements you’ll get a piecemeal result that won’t feel like the full room transformation you’re hungry for.

Trust your designer.

The pieces a designer specifies are for a reason – we can envision the end result of the space as a whole and understand the importance of each element in the design plan. Some aesthetic choices may feel like they’re out of your design comfort zone, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s probably why you hired a designer in the first place! We’ll push you a bit to create a livable, delightful, and unexpected finished space that will give you heart-flutters of happiness. (But ultimately, you get to make the final decisions on what’s included in your home.)

Want your very own Design Kit?

I mean, I would too! Book a complimentary Consultation Call with Lesley where we’ll chat in more detail about what you’re looking for and see if a Design Kit is the right fit for you.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

When I was in high school, I had a procrastination problem. I’d consider getting my homework done but then subconsciously delay it until the very last moment. I always told myself it was because my classes were a total bore and that things would get better in college. (I think I was the only one who was surprised when they didn’t!) When I got to college, even though I was taking classes that I absolutely loved, I still found myself waiting to start until the very last moment.

It turns out that my problem wasn’t procrastination, it was feeling overwhelmed.

See, the real issue was that I had so many ideas and my imagined end goal just seemed so far away that even the thought of starting was exhausting. Thankfully, I’ve gotten pretty good at managing my procrastinator tendencies, especially since my work as an interior designer often involves big, seemingly impossible ideas.

But for those who don’t do this on a daily basis, I totally get that designing the home of your dreams can be a pretty daunting prospect.

Take it from me: the hardest part is starting.

And starting can be a piece of cake if you have a set of concrete steps to take, which can help you focus your thoughts and break down the process into easily digestible pieces. So for those looking for clarity, here are five things you can do to bust out of your rut and onto the path toward a home that you love.

The very first thing you need to do…

…is understand that you are in control and have the power to overcome this “design overwhelm.” Even if it seems like it’ll take years (it won’t), cost an arm and a leg (it doesn’t have to) or force you to waste countless hours scrolling through Pinterest (that one’s on you), remember that you are the one calling the shots and creating the home of your dreams both starts and ends when and where you want it to.

Once you decide to take the leap,

the second thing to do is figure out your style. It is easy to mindlessly appreciate a wide range of styles. After all, the interiors you see online and in magazines are meant to catch your attention no matter the aesthetic. But figuring out what would make your ideal home requires a little more thought.

If you like the look of a minimalist design, for example, but find yourself unable to keep a room tidy for more than a day, you probably won’t get the result you’re looking for. On the other hand, you might appreciate the art deco aesthetic but later realize that it isn’t something you could live with on a daily basis. When thinking about your style, consider the elements that you go for consistently, the colors that you reach for in your wardrobe and decide whether you are of the “less is more” or “more is more” philosophy.

Now that you’ve figured out the style you’re going for,

the third step is to curate and edit what you’ve already got. That’s right, it’s time to go all KonMari on your stuff. (Well, at least when it comes to your decor.) Take a look at all you have in your home, and let go of the things that don’t fit with your aesthetic, needs or lifestyle. This one’s easier said than done for sure, but try not to overthink and just go with your gut instinct. It’s not always about what you add to a room but what you take away.

How to become an interior designer

After taking inventory of what you have,

step four is to make a list of what’s missing and shop strategically. The key word here being strategically. Think of it like grocery shopping — going into the supermarket on an empty stomach without a list is a recipe for disaster. (And it’s often how I end up with a wedge of Brie and a tray of ready-made sushi to eat in the car on the way home.) Similarly, you want to go shopping with a solid game plan to avoid unnecessary purchases that might lead to clutter. If you see something you like that isn’t on your list, you can revisit it once you’ve finished and see if it still works with your vision.

Last, but not least,

embrace a mix that’s uniquely you. Don’t worry too much about whether you’re mixing and matching styles, incorporating sentimental pieces that “don’t fit” or slowly accumulating items that reflect your changing preferences. In the end, it’s your home, and having a few (or many) things that wouldn’t be caught dead on a showroom floor is probably one of the best ways to show off your personality and really own it.

Consciously designing your home can actually be a super fun process. You can’t afford to stay stuck being overwhelmed when the result is having a home that brings you joy and makes your life all the more awesome!

If you’re in design overwhelm,

it takes action to get out. Sometimes, that action is following the 5 steps above; other times, it’s admitting that interior design just isn’t your cup of tea and it’s time to call an interior designer. What action will you take today to get unstuck and create a kickass home you love?


WHAT’S YOUR TRUE DESIGN STYLE?

We know you’re not just modern or traditional – you’re way more stylish and interesting than that! So what’s your true design style? Take our fun quiz to learn what your true design style is (and get a shoppable style board to help create a kickass home you love!)

How to Style Your Room for an Online Video Meeting

Have you ever thought about how to style your room for an online video meeting? If you’ve ever virtually met with someone on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, or other video conferencing software, you know that what’s seen behind you matters.

Everything in the background shows up on camera, even things you wish didn’t! (Case in point – all the backgrounds from my weekly Facebook Live show, Bust Out of Boring.) I’ve had video meetings before where the person was sitting in their messy bedroom with an unmade bed in the background. Let me tell you – no matter how professional someone is, staring at their untidy bedroom is a major distraction!

So how can you make your room look best on camera for a meeting or an interview, and make you look your best too?

Choose an appropriate location.

I don’t care how pretty your bedroom is – it’s just weird to meet with someone in such an intimate space! When choosing a location for a virtual meeting or conference, think about where you’d actually meet with someone if they came to your home. I doubt you’d be snuggling up in bed together.

Your living room, office, or dining room are all potentially great spots for a Skype meeting. Your bedroom is not.

Declutter.

Less is more in a video background. Be sure to remove any obvious clutter, like loose papers, items that don’t belong in that room, and cords and cables. Consider decluttering even more ruthlessly and removing excess items to keep your backdrop from becoming a distraction. (You might just have to stick a pile of stuff in another room for a little while!)

Clean and Organize.

Do a quick dusting and vacuuming. You never know what someone on the other side of the camera might be looking at! Pay attention to any obvious signs of wear seen behind you – stains, tears, or damaged items don’t convey you in your best light.

Be selective about what’s seen behind you.

Make sure nothing looks like it’s growing out of your head. Clear out anything that’s too personal or inappropriate for a professional setting. You might be meeting virtually in your home, but it’s important to treat your space like the professional you are. The last thing you want is a potential employer blushing when he spots “The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra” guide behing you. Yeesh.

Set up the right lighting.

Natural light is awesome, and you should definitely use it to your advantage! But a ring light on a stand will be your best friend for looking uhhh-mazing on camera. (Here’s the ring light I use.) It’s a game-changer for allowing you to be evenly lit without weird face shadows. Definitely worth the investment if you appear on-camera regularly.

Want a little more guidance on how to style your room for an online video meeting? I’ve got 7 designer styling secrets to share with you in this FREE cheat sheet download.