Profile pics from Dean, Elisa and Liam, architects on DfM.

Hiring a designer is an important decision since this person will have a huge impact on your home and the way you live for potentially a very a long time. A good personal connection is key!

Yes, of course, compare quotes. But there is so much more to the decision than this, and it’s personal. You’ll want to feel re-assured of their capabilities, but also consider how you are communicating; are they paying enough attention to your requirements? or perhaps they are agreeing too much? This balance is unique to the two of you, so make sure you’re happy with it!

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Here are some good topics to discuss to see how compatible you are…

✓  Your involvement. Do you want to be heavily involved? Selecting fittings and finishes?

✓  Discuss design styles.

✓  What’s most important to you. Adding value? Creating more space?

✓  If budget is a priority, say so. Their recognition and understanding of this at this early stage is critical.

✓  Discuss how you currently use your home, what you like and what you hate!


Initial Consultations


I recommend that you speak to 2-3 people before hiring anybody. But not just any old three – you’ll need to narrow it down first. Make sure that (on paper at least):

a. they are suitable for a project like yours and

b. are interested and available to take on your project. (How?)


As critical as the personal connection is, there is obviously some (OK a little formal but) essential ground to cover. Here’s a checklist to get you started: 

  • Discuss structuring their fee and workload into phases.
  • Their insurance cover.
  • Clarify their experience and qualifications. Ask them for examples of similar projects they’ve done.
  • Discuss their schedule and yours. What are your time constraints or potential delays. How flexible are they in relation to this?
  • Do they have trusted consultants and contractors that they regularly work with?
  • Ask them to provide references
  • Their fee proposal (see our article on architect’s fees)


Emily  Design for Me

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