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​10 things interior decorators don’t want you to know

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Hotel City, Zurich Modern style bedroom by Studio Frey Modern
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It happens one time or another: you look at that old sofa, that paint-chipped hallway wall, or those drab and sun-faded drapes in the living room and think to yourself “No more, time to redecorate!”. 

Good on your for wanting a fresh and stylish change, but do you know where to go from here? It’s a scary world out there filled with paint colours, wallpaper options, scatter cushions, and a multitude of different fabrics – where will you begin? 

Luckily a professional interior decorator is a phone call away, so you know he/she can assist you with your dreamy new space. But, like all businesses out there, interior design also has a few hidden tricks up those designer sleeves.

So, before you phone up that expert, take a look at these 10 things first…

1. Professionals have connections

Although functioning in a creative environment, interior design is still a business at its core. This means you should consider it just like you would any other business deal, like interviewing potential candidates for the job at hand. 

Networking is a huge part of any business success, and this is where you could try and score some discounts. A well-connected designer will have great resources to get you the best options and prices, such as flooring and countertops, which can be quite pricey.

2. Discuss budget first

Hotel City, Zurich Modern style bedroom by Studio Frey Modern
Studio Frey

Hotel City, Zurich

Studio Frey

The end result of your house’s makeover is going to reflect upon that interior decorator, so of course they will opt for the best of the best.

Before you pick out so much as a paint palette, discuss your savings for your project first. The right designer won’t try and persuade you to break the bank; instead, they will give you ideas on what changes can be made to your home design to stay within your budget.

3. Don’t bypass your preferences

Tac 5 Chandelier Minimalist living room by Herstal A/S Minimalist
Herstal A/S

Tac 5 Chandelier

Herstal A/S

From the get go, state what you like and want: colours that call to you, fabrics you prefer, and design styles which you fancy. 

Your interior designer is a person with preferences, and if given a too-wide scope to play with, your home might just end up a space which they love, not you.

4. The best for less?

Original kitchen by Harvey jones Classic style kitchen by Harvey Jones Kitchens Classic
Harvey Jones Kitchens

Original kitchen by Harvey jones

Harvey Jones Kitchens

Just because that designer claims to be the best doesn’t mean you can’t find somebody equally talented for less money. 

Ask around for referrals from friends who have hired interior decorators or designers, and be sure to check their portfolios to see whether their styles and ideas can meet your expectations. 

Remember: you’re the boss running this show, so take your time in hiring a decorator. Although the saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’, you deserve to find a professional who can give you what you want and within your budget.

5. It’s OK to say no

Dining Room Modern dining room by homify Modern

Dining Room


If your interior designer is a professional, they won’t be offended if you dismiss an idea of theirs. Remember that you are paying for a project and it is their job to deliver results that you agree with. 

Say how you really feel about something, and while the designer may not agree with your choices, the final decision is not up to them. 

After all, you’re the one who will be living with the end results.

6. It’s all or nothing

Rocas D Modern dining room by vmavi Modern

Rocas D


Never be fooled into thinking you can’t pick and choose when it comes to professional design. If you’re seeking somebody who can help with kitchen countertops, it’s not necessary to hire them for the entire room makeover – it is possible to pay for only a portion of a space. 

Know that this project is yours and that it can be completed in the manner of your choosing. But be sure everything gets put into that contract!

7. Your home might not be their first priority

Full House Renovation with Crittall Extension, London Eclectic style living room by HollandGreen Eclectic

Full House Renovation with Crittall Extension, London


The chances that your interior designer is juggling a bunch of different clients are very good. And although there’s nothing wrong with that, you do deserve the time and attention that you’re paying for.

Be sure to create clear lines of communication. For example, on the days when that designer is off the radar with other homes, know how to get a hold of them when necessary. 

This is where checking references can come in handy.

8. There is no need for everything to be new

Victorian Townhouse Modern bathroom by Etons of Bath Modern
Etons of Bath

Victorian Townhouse

Etons of Bath

Buying every single element for your makeover fresh off the shelf will mean a big payday for your designer, which is not always necessary. 

For example, sometimes existing things in your house can also work, like retrofitting an old dresser with plumbing to become a stylish bathroom sink and cabinet. 

Thus, make sure to communicate to them any items you might want to revitalise in your home before they hit the shops.

9. They might not love your design ideas

Living / Study area Minimalist living room by In:Style Direct Minimalist
In:Style Direct

Living / Study area

In:Style Direct

Although it doesn’t always make them happy, an interior designer is there to give you the room or house that you want. 

Just like you may not always agree with their suggestions, your designer might not always love your ideas. Don’t take offense, just don’t be surprised if they try to sway you in another direction.

While some ideas you have may not fit with the overall design, others may be perfect. Choose the elements that are most important to you, and stand your ground on them being included in the design.

10. The budget can be tweaked

The best look doesn’t always come with the best price. But the good news is that budgets can be altered to still achieve amazing results. 

For example, if your designer suggests new floor-to-ceiling drapes in a luxury fabric that will shred your savings, then consider less expensive roman shades in the same pricey fabric – this will definitely make a difference in the payment. 

Understanding these tricks of the trade will ensure a smooth and amicable relationship with your designer – and who knows, you might just be pleasantly surprised with the end results and still come in under budget! 

Feel like having a go at that interior makeover yourself? Then check out: Interior design basics for beginners.

Are you considering hiring a professional decorator? If so, what questions would you ask them?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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