When embarking on an interior design project in your home–whether it’s a full-scale renovation, a re-design of one room, or a light style refresh here and there–we, of course, recommend working with an accredited interior designer to help you love where you live at the end of your project. These days, it’s easier than ever to book a great e-designer online and get started with them on a design project, regardless of where you both happen to be located.
That said, when you’re working with an e-designer–who may not be able to be on-site with you for the duration of the project (a service that Kathy Kuo Home’s Design Team offers!), there are some questions that you should keep in mind to ask your designer to make sure that you’re both on the same page about project goals, that you understand the process and what you’re getting (and paying for), and so that you’re sure to be thrilled with the end result and the overall look of your home after working with your e-designer.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions to ask your e-designer about everything from design packages to shipping and installation.
Design by Marie Flanigan Interiors
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#1. Ask Your E-Designer About Interior Design Packages
The first topic to tackle when you book a consultation with an e-designer for interior design services is about the different design package options that they offer. Make sure you ask about the specifics of what is included in each individual package. Make sure you ask about things like design schematics, exclusive discounts, timeline guarantees, number of revisions, number of layouts, and the availability for collaboration with an architect. When discussing design package options with your e-designer, also ask for as-specific-as-possible price quotes.
At Kathy Kuo Home, our design team offers three tiers of packaging. With our Refresh package–which is priced at $100 and is great if you’re restyling a small space, or need final finishing touches–clients get exclusive designer-only discounts on furnishings, a three-day design time table, and up to two design revisions. With our Redesign package–which is priced at $500 and is ideal for a single room makeover–clients get exclusive designer-only discounts on furnishings, design schematics, up to three design revisions, and multiple layout options. Finally, with our Renovate package–which is priced at $150 per hour with a 10 hour minimum, and is recommended if you’re designing multiple rooms or doing a full home renovation–clients get the choice of hourly or flat-rate pricing, exclusive designer-only discounts on furnishings, collaboration with an architect, design schematics, unlimited revisions, and multiple layout options.
We always encourage clients to ask as many questions as possible you that the client and their designer can be on the same page every step up of the way and so that there are no surprises on either side of the equation as the design project gets underway.
Design by Kathy Kuo Home
Design by Sally Wheat Interiors
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#2. Ask Your E-Designer About Stocking & Consolidation
When you work with an e-designer (or any interior designer for that matter), they will most likely be sourcing furniture and decor from a variety of vendors. This means that there can be a sizable variation on stocking time and lead time. It’s important to ask your designer about how long the stocking and lead time will be, especially for larger pieces and custom upholstered furniture.
During your consultation with your e-designer, ask if there are ready-made options that will match your space or if most options are made to order; if buying made to order items, be sure to inquire about how long that will take. Finally, be sure to ask if any of the furnishings you want as part of your design are on backorder, because that will affect your timeline even further. You should also plan to inquire about why some items non-returnable, what a restocking fee is, and–if you decide to return an item without defects/design faults/misrepresentation–is there a price to pay (ie.a transportation fee or handling fee)?
Another important topic to ask your e-designer about is consolidation. It’s such a hassle if you receive items shipped one by one and you get a lot of calls from the vendor, as opposed to having everything shipped together at once. If you know you need a high volume of furniture and accessories, ask if your e-designer has the the option–like the Kathy Kuo Home Design Team does–to consolidate. There may be a fee for consolidation, but it’s usually worth it. the Kathy Kuo Home Design Team charges a 10 percent fee for consolidation, and that included inspection in the warehouse and white glove delivery (in room placement and debris removal) for a hassle-free delivery experience.
Design by Marianne Tiegen
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#3. Ask Your E-Designer About Fabrics & Materials
Your e-designer should be able to answer any questions you may have about fabrics and materials, and the overall craftsmanship of any item that they’re recommending to you–so don’t hesitate to ask about these topics. If you’re ordering outdoor furniture or rugs, ask about performance fabrics, what they are, and why you might need them.
If you’re ordering any large furniture pieces with custom upholstery, ask about all of the fabric options and ask for swatches and fabric samples. If you have children or pets at home, ask about which materials and fabrics are going to be the most durable. In addition to asking about the performance factor, durability, and feel of different fabrics and materials, you’ll also want to ask your e-designer about which fabrics and materials go best together (or vice versa). If you’re wondering about mixing metals, just ask!
Design by Lauren Liess
Design by Jaclyn Peters Design
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#4. Ask Your E-Designer About Shipping
Once all the fun of choosing new furniture and decor is wrapped up, now comes the less fun aspect of shipping and logistics. Fear not though: A good e-designer will be well equipped to help you navigate the shipping process with ease. That said, there are definitely some questions you’ll want to ask before anything ships.
First, ask about the difference between curbside shipping and white glove shipping. Typically, “white glove” means that unpacking, set-up in the space, and debris removal are including with shipping, whereas curbside means that the items you purchased arrive and you are responsible for assembly, arranging them in your home, and disposing of packing materials. Whether white glove makes the most sense will often be determined by the volume of product you purchase, whether or not you consolidate it, and nature of the design project. Ask your e-designer if free white glove shipping is included with certain design packages or after a certain threshold of product spending.
If you have questions about shipping timetables, whether expedited shipping is available, international shipping, or final mile delivery–definitely ask your e-designer early on in the design process in order to have the smoothest shipping experience possible.
Photo via Trace Aesthetic
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#5. Ask Your E-Designer About Installation
Installation is a key part of the interior design process–it’s the bridge between all the conceptual work you’ve done with your designer and the actual real-life results in your home. When working with your e-designer, it’s important to ask specific questions about installation so that everything goes according to plan–especially if you and your e-designer aren’t located close enough to one another for them to be on-site for installation.
You’ll want to ask if your designer can recommend installation professionals like wallpaper hangers, electricians, and painters. Ask them if they can assist with paint and wallpaper selection, choosing drapery and shades, and custom upholstery. The reason that it’s important to ask about these aspects of the design is that the answer might vary. Sometimes, if a designer can’t be on-site for install, they will advise you to work primarily with your general contractor on things like painting, installing light fixtures, and measuring for window treatments.
Photo via Home Envy
Photography Credit: Emily Henderson
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