The question I receive most often during initial consults with a new client is when they should hire an interior designer. My response to this question is to change the wording a bit, and ask when you should begin speaking with interior designers.

The answer to the second question is this: As soon as it crosses your mind that you might need help, and that an interior designer might be an option. This may be something you think of immediately upon thinking about a new home, purchasing a new home, or at the start of a remodel. It may not be something you think of until you are knee deep in project delays, and still (or suddenly) feeling unsure of what your next steps are. Either time is the right time to begin speaking with interior designers.

That word “designers” is intentionally plural for this phase. If you have friends in real estate, if someone you know has worked with an interior designer, if you are using an architect or contractor already, ask them for referrals to designers. If you don’t have these resources available, do a quick google search for interior designers in your area. I recommend calling at least three interior designers.

Each designer will have varying answers to your questions. Some designers work with only certain sized projects, whether that is large or small. Some designers are happy to come on near the end of a project, or help with a particular sticking point, while others prefer to work with a client only at the beginning of a project, and only if there is an agreement in place that they will be on the team throughout the project lifetime.

I will say that it is never too early to bring on an interior designer. For our team in particular, working on full home remodels and renovations, as well as new construction in Sonoma and Marin counties, we prefer to be the first call on your list. Having a designer look at the potential of your home with you, and really be involved in working through less of how you want your home to look, but more of how you want your home to feel, is important. Once we are able to form a solid foundation for where we want to go, then we have something to clearly communicate to other design and build members, saving time and money on your project. Most Interior Designers will also have referrals to several contractors in their given area of work.

There is also the chance that for what you are looking for, an interior designer is not your best option. However, an interior designer is likely to know who you need to reach out to for those services. For instance, they may have faux finishers, tile contractors, handymen, craftsmen, and any number of other referrals for you in their network who would be better suited for what you are looking for.

And of course, most interior designers will themselves chat with you on a brief call about your project, free of charge, so don’t be afraid to call them and ask the general questions. If you want someone to come to site, an interior designer will often have a site visit fee, but you may or may not find yourself in need of scheduling that.

If you find yourself needing more clarification on when you should hire an interior designer, please feel free to reach out to me via email at, and we can set a time for a 20 minute chat to talk through your next steps.