How to Prepare for a Design Consultation

There’s something so exciting about the first meeting with a new client.  It’s full of possibilites, ideas, and inspiration. And it’s contagious – I often find myself and my new clients feeding off each other’s enthusiasm. But as exciting as those early days are, I know there’s a certain amount of unease and uncertainty that comes with hiring a professional. Particularly if you’ve never used a decorator before.  What can you expect? What will be expected of you?

In an attempt to dispel a bit of the unknown, and perhaps shed some light on whether a design professional is right for you, I’ve put together a few tips on how to best prepare for an initial design consultation.  Read on, friends!

Determine Your Goals

It’s important to know what your endgame is. Are you looking to finish a single room? An entire home? What kind of timeline are you dealing with? As oversimplified as it may seem, letting me know why you’ve come to me, and what your specific pain points are, will be the best way to make sure I help you in the ways you need it most. How are your rooms are being used? Are we changing that? What pieces are we keeping and incorporating into the new design?

Our first meeting will be all about me getting to know you, your family, and your needs. If you can spend some time thinking about that beforehand, we’ll be that much further ahead when I’m making my notes!

Set Priorities

Many clients aren’t able to redesign their entire home at once. If there are a variety of areas you’d like help with, creating a prioritized list is very helpful. Which rooms will we focus on first? Your job here is to give me all of your needs and requirements, and my job is to create a smooth timeline and advise you on the best way to accomplish it.

Let Me See How You Live

I simply can’t stress this enough – please don’t feel like you need to clean and declutter to prepare for any of  our meetings. I can see beyond boxes, messy countertops, and various stages of construction. I’m not there to judge – in fact, letting me see your home on a typical day allows me to see how you live. If you’re living in a sea of clutter, it tells me you’re probably lacking proper storage – and I can fix it. (Plus, I’ve got 3 sons – your mess has got nothin’ on mine!)

Gather Ideas

When I first began my design career, clients frequently brought me magazine tear sheets to show me things that appealed to them. These days we’ve got great tools like Pinterest and Houzz to gather ideas. Whichever method you prefer, organizing your favourite images is a powerful tool and gives me a much clearer idea of what you aspire to. Often, clients aren’t even sure why they’ve clipped a certain image – my job is to help you figure out why you’re drawn to these spaces, and how we can incorporate that into your home.

A Few Other Things…

Honesty. The process only works if you’re completely candid with me. Tell me what you like, tell me what you hate. I’m going to try to nudge you outside of your comfort zone from time to time. You need to let me know how you feel. Trust me, you won’t hurt my feelings! More than anything, I want to help you create a space that you love. I want you to be excited and inspired. At the end of the day, it’s your haven, not mine, and you need to feel it.

Trust the process. There will be times that you’re not 100% sure of something, and your instinct will be to play it safe. Trust that I’ve spent the last 13 years visualizing the “big picture”, and may see something you don’t…yet. There’ll most likely be a time that you’re excited to rush the timeline by choosing accessories or other elements of our design plan – trust me to save you the time and frustration of having to backtrack or work around a less-than-ideal piece. Part of what I bring to you is my experiences – both good and bad!

Relax! Interior Design can seem intimidating. I get it. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be. Try to think of this as a marathon, not a sprint (oh man, cheesy, right?!) I insist on keeping things fun and as stress-free as possible. Things will go wrong. We’ll fix them. Fabrics will be discontinued. We’ll find something just as beautiful. Trades will run behind schedule. We’ll use the time to fine-tune the details. In the end, things always work out – oftentimes even better than you imagined.


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