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Fern Johnson

Excellent article. Your examples of things to think about were specific enough to ensure rightful considerations. Thank you for this well written and quite comprehensive article regarding design.

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This is a VERY interesting Comments stream. Having worked with designers I thought I'd add my own thoughts:

1. If you don't have rapport with your designer, every penny you pay them will feel like a rip-off. I paid a designer to choose the white that I was painting my new house. I threw out that I would be needing more help with my deciorating. Her reaction told me she wasnt' the right person for me. The two people I've successfully worked with had my design aesthetic and could enhance my own ideas from "good" to "fabulous.

2. If you don't respect that these people need to make money for their time, go to a store that offers free design help.

3. Reading ENDLESS emails takes time. Keep it short or expect to be charged. Asking your designer to search websites and Houzz takes time.

4. Collect photos of what you like. A good designer "gets" it right away. Being indecisive is super hard for them. It may take more time to figure out which direction to go if you have "no clue". Also, if you change your mind in the middle of a project, it'll cost you.

5. Spending time shopping with your designer will save you A LOT of time roaming stores without guidance. I've done three kitchens and yet going to the granite yards with my designer was very, very helpful. We got the EXACT right stone -- and she helped me with hardware and backsplash choices. Worth every penny since a wrong countertop decision is an expensive mistake.

6. Designers: Not all people are Houzz addicted, but I bet the ones that are at least can show you what they like. However, since Houzz stories rarely offer the total cost paid (despite pleas for this information) many of us are CLUELESS as to true cost in our area. Be patient but honest.

7. Be aware that your budget IS flexible. Like the story of the cocktail dress, sometimes it's worth it to upgrade. However, if you upgrade EVERYTHING, your budget will get busted. Not the designers fault.

8. Changing your mind costs money and time. Stop shopping once you've ordered stuff.

My current designer is a super calm, soft spoken person. Good choice for me. My mom used a designer 40 years ago who was fast-moving and brash and decisive. Perfect for my mom, who doesn't trust her own design choices but knows what she likes.

Confident designers help you create the space YOU'LL want. They don't push their aesthetic on you. But if you don't know what you want, give them some breathing room to help you figure it out.

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Anita McGinn_Natali

@RedRyder Thanks for your well though out points. Very helpfu!!!

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