3 Questions to Ask Your Interior Design Clients
July 16, 2012
•Interior Design, General
• 0 Comments
Designing someone’s space — whether it’s an office, restaurant, retail space or home — can be a very personal experience. Your clients trust you to complete the beautiful design they want, while you trust your clients to appreciate your expertise and creativity. When you embark on a new interior design project, establish a positive relationship early on with these questions that help you understand your client.
What are your goals for the project?
Before you discuss how to design a client’s space, make sure you know what they want help with. Some good details to pin down (in the contract) include:
- The specific space(s) that will be designed or decorated
- How the client intends to use the space
- Whether any existing feature(s) of the space will be removed or changed
- Whether any additions need to be built or installed
- The extent of the design, or how much work will be done - do they expect paint, accessories, furniture, lighting?
Don’t forget to articulate your own goals for the project. Part of understanding your client is making sure they understand you, so be clear about your design process. It’s always a good idea to avoid surprises, so you might also want to discuss how you’ll both handle problems that could arise.
Can you show me some examples of designs you like?
Developing a good idea of what your clients like and dislike is necessary if you want them to be happy with your final designs. Of course, this can be the most difficult part of the design process because you may find out that you and your client disagree about certain styles or techniques. However, the earlier you discover points of conflict, the better, because a straightforward relationship will ensure that you have plenty of time to compromise before you start working.
The best way to determine what your clients want is to ask them for examples that inspire them. It’s easy to miscommunicate by brainstorming aloud, and you and your client are more likely to understand each other if you look at fabric samples, design magazines, or other concrete materials together. Don’t worry about putting clients on the spot by asking them for ideas or examples—instead, come prepared with photos, preliminary sketches, or samples from your own portfolio that clients can peruse.
What is your budget?
This is one of the most significant questions you can ask your client. The amount you have to spend will determine how much you can design and the type of materials you can use.
Early on in the design process, you should also discuss payment. After you’ve established the guidelines of the project, try to present your client with an estimate of both the cost and the amount of time it will take. Establish a billing schedule and indicate how you prefer to be paid, whether it’s by the hour or a fixed fee.