Deciding When to Bring in an Interior Designer

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

I recently had the joy of talking at the Brisbane Home Show on the topic of kitchen design; dishing out the designer dirt on how to achieve a stunning and functional space. During our Q&A time, I had a member of the audience asking about working with an architect and after I left the stage I had another two people come and have a private chat on different topics however they both had the same question for me “When should I get an Interior Designer Involved?”. It would seem from these three individuals asking different versions of the same question that it’s worth putting my two cents out there on the best time to hire an Interior Designer. 

Where to start; Architect? Builder? Designer?

Depending on your type of project you will likely need at minimum a Builder and an Interior Designer. If your scope of work is larger or includes some big structural changes you might also be working with an Architect or a Building Designer. The $37 question is who do I go to first?

My Answer: An Interior Designer!

But Dave, I think I want to move this wall and the Architect can make sure the roof stays up first. While that might be true, here’s why I say start with your designer.

Our role as your Interior Designer is to draw out of you what you want from your whole home and to understand how you currently use your spaces and how you want to use them in the future. Yes, a Builder or even a Cabinet Maker can help you redo your kitchen but what they likely won’t be thinking about is that amazing space in the front area of your home that you don’t use and that would make the most incredible new kitchen. Or the builder may not think about shifting that wall back in your bathroom renovation to give you an extra toilet in the house that you so desperately need. 

A great Interior Designer will start by thinking about the big picture and will come up with design ideas that perhaps you haven’t thought about yet.

Of course, once these ideas have been birthed they will need to go to the relevant Engineers, Architects or Building Designers to ensure they can be constructed in the way we had designed and there will likely be some back and forward while details are worked out but the result is still properly considered from a design point of view. 

What you don’t want to happen is to have a space built then have a designer come in and have to say; “look we can’t do what you really wanted in this space because it’s been constructed in this way” OUCH!

We go into battle for you!

A key characteristic of an Interior Designer is that we aren’t focused solely on the “easiest or quickest” way to build something unlike Dazza that tradie. Instead, we are focused on the right way that aligns with our design vision and your budget. This doesn’t have to mean expensive taste but it does mean picking a more elevated light switch instead of what Dazza has lying in the back of the ute. It means recessing illumination to give you a warm ambient glow instead of harsh overhead lighting.

Do you think your tiler cares about your plumbing? Nope! Do you think your electrician cares about your carpets? Nope! Does your cabinet maker care about your toilet? You get the gist. Individual trades are focused on what they are doing (rightly so) but that means there is no master puppeteer bringing everything together with your best design interest in mind. That’s where your Interior Designer works their magic!

Dave standing in front of the stage at the Brisbane Home Show 2024
Start with a consult...

Most Interior Designers offer design consult sessions; yes they are usually paid but it can be a very sage investment to spend a few hundred dollars to talk with a design professional first and set a plan of action. Your designer should be able to formulate a plan of attack. For instance; let’s draw up our ideal changes and then take it to the Architect and see what is and isn’t possible. After feedback from the Architect and Engineers, we can then come to a design compromise that still works in your best interests.

Of course Disko Designs offers consult sessions and you are starting your next project now might be time to get in touch right 😉