When is the Best Time to Hire an Interior Designer?

Ahmad AbouZanat

Transforming your home begins with a vision and understanding timing. Once you have an idea whether you need an updated interior on a faster or slower timeline, you can define the scope and larger ideas for your space. So when is the best time to hire an interior designer, and how are they best suited to help you transform your space? In the following guide, we explore this central question for interior design and renovation projects.

Determine which project phase you’re in

The services an interior designer is able to provide are tied to which phase of a project you’re in. Are you getting ready to gut an old space and renovate? Bringing in a designer before the start of a major renovation can provide valuable insight into elements that might influence the renovation process. For example, if you are determined to have a certain type of lighting, an interior designer can help you map the lighting layout, run it by a contractor to confirm it’s doable, and then have the idea implemented and executed for your space.

A new build project will have a very different timeline than a renovation. Because these types of projects can become quite complex and involved, it’s best to bring in an interior designer early on to provide expert insight into the design, development, and construction process.


What if your project is less involved- such as decorating a new space you are moving to? In this case, your interior designer can provide you with cosmetic services such as selecting paint color, or advising on furniture and art selection. Regardless of the type or phase of the project, it pays to set up a consultation with a designer early in the process. Here at PROJECT AZ, Ahmad explains this idea for renters and homeowners alike:

“The ideal time to hire an interior designer is once you know which space you want to work on. At this stage, a designer can help you identify the full potential of a project, including many unforeseen challenges you may not anticipate at the beginning. It’s a process that requires patience and passion, as designers need time to gather information, ask questions and understand your lifestyle. This includes how you envision using a space. A functional, comfortable, and beautiful design is the accumulation of many small decisions, and the result reflects your individuality and lifestyle, a space that feels like home.”

Madison Square

Decide what you need expert input on

When you are redesigning your space, it’s important to identify what areas you need the most help with. Maybe you have a specific aesthetic in mind for the space, but aren’t sure how to make it a reality? Find a designer with a portfolio that matches your desired aesthetic.

Let’s say you have a color palette picked out, but have no idea where to purchase quality furniture for your space? You’re best off hiring a designer that also provides furniture sourcing services. If you go into the interior design hiring process with a clear idea of what you want, it will make it all the more easy to find the right designer for the job.

As clients trust in the process, they should also recognize timing for expert feedback and idea generation. “I truly believe that spaces affect us and shape our quality of life. To make a house feel like a home, and to trust in the process with a designer, involves an exchange of ideas. While it may take up to six weeks to submit the initial design phase, the end result will be a better space if you invest in this time and trust in your designer” notes Ahmad.

There are generally four phases of an interior design project: the first involves the floor plan and identifying larger items like furniture, as well as understanding the full scope if the project will be a larger renovation. It will include organization, initial ideas on schedule and timing, as well as sending samples to clients to see how they react to different ideas. This is when a client can expect to see the first round of options based on the agreed upon scale. After that, you move to smaller pieces once the major elements and scope are decided.

If it’s a renovation, the project may include the designer working on the technical side of things with the contractor, including lighting plans, electrical layouts and detailing. The third phase is contracting, construction and install, which often means waiting for orders to arrive and the space will start coming together. This is often when artwork and interior elements with shorter lead time may arrive. Finally, once any construction is complete and details are in place, the last step involves styling and accessorizing the space. This often gets overlooked by clients for time or budget purposes. But this phase brings out the individuality and character of the design, including documenting the space and ensuring the renovation, furnishings and styling make a space feel like home. It’s important to remember that a designer can be engaged for a range of services, and at different points in a project. In the end, it’s about clients enjoying their new interiors.

NYC Midtown

Remember it’s a collaboration

An interior designer’s mission isn’t to impose his own vision on a project, but rather, to guide you toward an outcome that you are satisfied with. For designers, it’s rare to be given complete creative freedom over a project from the start, and it can be a richer process when working with a client that trusts the designer as they provide feedback. As this trust is established, a designer can take more creative control and bring the interior design ideas to life. Especially when you are dealing with a space you have to live in, or a project with a budget you need to stick with, it’s important to remember that the process involves collaboration. The more you are able to clearly communicate as a client, the better the outcome in the long run.

Are you looking to hire an interior designer for your home? PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio that has worked on many interior design and renovation projects in NYC, from Manhattan penthouses to Chelsea apartments. Lead Designer Ahmad AbouZanat’s focuses on finding unique design solutions that work well with his client’s modern lifestyles.

Contact us today to get started on your next design project.

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