Advice on hiring interior designer?
October 14, 2022 10:32 PM   Subscribe

I am thinking about hiring an interior designer to improve my home office. Do you have any advice on hiring and working with someone?

My employer offers an annual stipend to spend on the home office. Ideally, I would transform my office over a few years.

I am also considering instead a couple of professional organizers who also do design work. It’s not too cluttered, but the furniture is suboptimal in various ways. And I considered getting a decorator (instead of a designer), but I didn’t see any in Albuquerque.

The priorities are roughly in this order:
New chair
Improved computer ergonomic situation
Maybe a desk (instead of the current table), better storage for office supplies
Easy chair

I would rather not spend my energy shopping, etc. Any tips on hiring help, and working with that help?
posted by NotLost to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Best answer: A decorator will probably want to do it all in one, from assessing and pitching to buying and placing, more on a timeline of a month or two depending on whether you need anything done like rewiring, floor work etc. Have a good idea what you want, but you don't need to know colors, materials, brands etc. Load up a folder full of what you like as a look book so you can say, "kinda like this but not so heavy duty" etc.

I would say to pick a budget (say 2x your stipend), ask around for an estimate on a home office redo with furniture, and see how they compare. You're not obligated to accept their ideas or choices, but some decorators can get discounts on certain brands or stores and they may know stuff you don't.

I would do most of the most-used stuff and stuff that needs the room cleared (chair, desk, flooring, paint) first, then live with it and decide how you might tweak it - for example, bookcases go here not here, and turns out I want a standing desk or a riser. And have fun - this is a space you will spend a lot of time in, make it your own and reflect your needs and likes!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:46 PM on October 14, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice so far. BTW, my stipend is $1200 per year, in case that informs answers.
posted by NotLost at 6:31 AM on October 15, 2022

Best answer: I find many designers have impractical ideas about how comfortable/ergonomic a chair needs to be and how large a workspace needs to be, so I would give very clear guidance on what you need in that department.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:44 AM on October 15, 2022

Best answer: I have limited experience with one designer and would not do it again.

It seems to me that they have discounts at special showrooms, and their strength is in delivering a generic look without too much fuss, but not necessarily at a low price point. I imagine their main clients are hotels and offices who want a cookie-cutter look.

At the very high end, of course, you can have concierge-level service, but that doesn't seem like what you are looking for either.
posted by dum spiro spero at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If I had $1200 / year for a home office:
Year 1: flooring, painting.
Year 2: lamp, desk, hutch, good chair.
Either Ikea or local cabinet-maker.
Year 3: cabinets, bookshelves.
posted by dum spiro spero at 8:58 PM on October 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, I think I am going to forego a designer after all. I was a little overwhelmed, but I am getting a better grasp of what I want and how to get it done.

Dum Spiro Spero, your list of priorities is very helpful.

I have been investigating Lowe's, and I think I can get the flooring this year. I was afraid I had waited too long to get it done this year. Then in a few years, I am hoping for floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, with a window seat!
posted by NotLost at 9:03 PM on October 15, 2022

Best answer: I had a closet company come in and do up my office for things like a long continuous desktop for my couple of computers and printers and related equipment (I had to work on two different platforms then), and put in lots of shelves and cabinets for storage, etc. It was wonderful--they gave me designs to choose from, worked with me about options for storage (my biggest need at the time), and helped me pick finishes. I already had my chair and rug, painting, etc. but they took my seating and height into consideration for putting in the desk surface. The sales reps you'll be talking to are essentially designers. (The company I used was Closet Factory and they've done a number of other spots in my house for things, but there are a lot of similar businesses to choose from.)
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:27 AM on October 17, 2022

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