Angie’s List: How To Hire The Right Interior Designer

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Most of us don’t think twice about calling in a professional when the roof starts to leak or the basement needs painting. But, what about deciding to makeover a room, or even your entire house?

An interior designer can keep you from regretting the colors you combined or the new flooring that doesn’t stand up to the traffic.

Elaine Raszkowski has lived in the same house for nearly 30 years. With her children grown and gone, she decided it was finally time for an update, but one big question loomed.

“How can I marry this traditional house with all this woodwork with a modern, sleek design? And I thought ‘I need help,’” Raszkowski said.

That’s when she called interior designer Amy Contreras who takes a simple approach with each of her clients.

“I try to find out what their expectations are, what their dreams are, what their goals are. Basically, how I can help them get to where they want to be,” Contreras said.

“While we all have our own style that we like our house to reflect, working with an interior designer can really help you avoid some of those common mistakes like hanging pictures that are too small for the space or even putting colors together that just don’t work,” Angie Hicks, Angie’s List Founder, said.

Raszkowski remodeled her entire kitchen. She also added new flooring, paint, lighting and artwork around her home, but much of the furniture stayed after getting a fresh cover.

“The things that I thought were old and beat up she thought were rustic and had charm, so that’s the beauty of it. And if you put it in the right spot and balance it with the right elements, she’s right. It is beautiful. It does have charm,” Raszkowski said.

Contreras helped Raszkowski design and decorate with confidence. And her experience – just like with the furniture – helped keep costs under control.

“People who do not hire a designer spend a lot more time and a lot more money than if they had hired somebody to help them make the right choices the first time,” Contreras said.

“She could see how this could fit together when I was struggling, so I would absolutely recommend it because she makes it so much easier,” Raszkowski said.

Hicks said the key to hiring the right designer is finding someone who gets to know your tastes and is enthusiastic about your project.

She said to look for someone who belongs to the American Society of Interior Designers and has experience with your type of project. Fees can be fixed, an hourly rate or a percentage of the total project, so make sure you understand that from the beginning.

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