As an interior designer, there's nothing I love more than the initial design consultation with a new client. This is where we get to know each other, and we can spend time just throwing out all of the possibilities for the space. Getting ideas. Sharing inspiration. This time is worth it's weight in platinum! You'll come out of a good design consultation with thousands of dollars worth of ideas that you can run with.
What I can't understand is why some designers are giving away the first "design consultation" for free..?! (I hope you could sense my major sarcastic finger quotes there.)
Let me just say this: You WANT to pay for your design consultation with an interior designer. If you aren't paying, you aren't actually receiving any value. Trust me on this!
Think about those free events you've been to before, like a time share presentation or a free Lasik consultation. The speaker will waste your time giving you teasers and just hinting at what you really want to know. They won't actually give you the meat and potatoes until you've signed on the dotted line, handed over your money, or promised your first born. This is not how your first consultation with an interior designer should be!
At Leone Interior Designs, your initial consultation is when you're handed all the keys to all the doors of my design brain. For up to 2 hours, I am there to give you my expert opinion on whatever it is you want to know. So utilize the time. Bring a list. Have pictures. Nothing is off limits. Ask anything!
What do you think about this curtain height?
Do these fabrics go well together?
Could this room be spaced better?
Where should I hang this picture of Aunt Suzie's dog?
I'm an interior designer because I genuinely love walking in to a room for the first time and taking it all in. Absorbing it. Seeing possibilities. Noting the charm, noting the gaps. That's my superpower - and during the consultation, I'm sharing that power with you.
I just did a consultation where the husband loved the existing couch, but the wife hated the color. So we compromised - we're reupholstering! Luckily, I specialize in custom upholstered goods, so I was able to spend the consultation time walking the couple through everything they would need to know for a successful transformation.
Another scenario: The clients were confused about what to do with the big blank wall in their living room. They'd been feeling stuck. I noticed that it would be a perfect place to showcase pictures... and it turns out the husband is a photographer. Boom! So some of the client's most loved photographs are being printed and framed. Everyone's happy.
I have another client that needed a new piece of furniture in the playroom for storing games, toys, and blocks. During the consultation, I noticed that she was getting rid of her old changing dresser. Instead, we gave the piece a facelift and a new purpose - and it will stick around for years to come!
All these are the kind of design ideas, tips, and hacks you can get out of a short design consultation. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a consultation and given simple, actionable advice only to have the client call me a few weeks later saying, "This was exactly what I needed. It changed the room so much."
Maybe the design consultation is only the first step to working together on a full-scale design project. Or maybe you just want to pick my brain for a couple of hours so that you feel confident to keep going on your own. Either way, I promise to actually provide real value in our time together.
Bottom line: Expertise is not free.
I wouldn't want to go to the plastic surgeon giving free consults who isn't busy - would you?
So next time you wonder why a design expert charges for their initial consultation ask yourself: "Would I do my job to its fullest potential for 2 hrs... for free?"
Let me show you what I'm talking about!