The hard work is over. You’ve finally found the perfect interior designer and you’re ready to get started on your project. Pretty exciting, right? It is exciting! I am going to share some of the secrets I’ve learned as the lead designer on hundreds of projects over the years. Here’s how to prepare for a meeting with your interior designer that will be productive and enjoyable for both of you.

You’ll want to help your designer get into your “head” right away. She (or he) needs to understand the essence of YOU: how you think, what your goals are, your top priorities, etc. Basically, what it is that gets to the core of the space you are dreaming about.

It all starts with a little bit of homework on your part. Take the time for this and the entire process will run much more efficiently and be fun for you and your interior designer.

interior designer

1. Buy Magazines: Visit a newsstand and browse the magazine rack. Purchase the publications that you feel best represents your tastes.

There are so many choices these days, here a few that I love:

  • Architectural Digest
  • Veranda
  • Elle Décor
  • House and Garden
  • Traditional Home
  • Southern Living

Tear out pages or tag the photographs and ads that appeal to you most. I love it when couples use different colored “stickies” to identify their individual selections. Then I can see who thinks what.

Here’s what to look for in magazines:

  • The overall feeling of the room
  • Colors that appeal to you
  • Patterns you like
  • Fabrics that look wonderful
  • Window treatment styles
  • Furniture shapes and styles
interior design tips

2. Use The Internet: The Internet is full of great ways to get inspiration. Here are some ideas:

  • Pinterest: Create “inspiration boards” on this visual social network (so fun!).
  • Houzz: This interior design “social network” has lots of ideas.
  • Check out the online versions of popular interior design magazines.
interior design tips

3. Make a List of What You Do Not Like: It’s just as important for your designer to know what you hate as what you love. Don’t forget this important step.

  • Colors
  • Styles
  • Design periods
  • Materials
  • A type of furniture
  • Certain kinds of artwork
  • Don’t hold back!
Interior designer meeting

4. Have a List of Questions Ready: Brainstorm and record everything you are wondering about in regards to your project. Here are some important ones to put on the list:

  • What will be the sequence of events?
    • During the design phase?
    • During the construction phase?
    • During the finishing phase?
  • How long will each phase of the design take?
  • How will the design implementation directly affect me?
  • Should I plan to go on a long vacation during this time or will you need me?
  • What more is expected of me?

Some More Tips:

Always try meet with your designer in your present home. This will give her lots of insight about things that may be hard for you to verbalize. It’s amazing what amusing tidbits can come up! I’ve heard:

  • “I’ve hated this sofa ever since it came into this house”
  • “I’ve lived with that china cabinet my in-law’s gave us for 20 years and I’m done!”
  • Share with your designer any “interiors experiences” you’ve enjoyed (I’ve coined that expression!). When I hear a comment like this: “We loved staying at this 5-Star hotel in Italy and we want that same feeling” it helps me greatly.

Follow the above tips and you will inspire your designer in ways you don’t even realize! Just be 150% yourself and you will have a life-changing design experience together!

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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