By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

Remodeling is a complicated process that takes a balanced team to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

Obviously, we think a good architect is key to this team, but today we want to talk about another possible contributor: an interior designer.

The line between the responsibilities of an architect and an interior designer is not always obvious. The separation is clear if you think about it like this: The architect is in charge of everything permanently attached to the building (walls, windows, roof structure, etc.) and the interior designer is in charge of less permanent features (paint colors, window coverings and furniture).

However, the line blurs with items such as flooring, plumbing fixtures and cabinetry, which can be specified by an architect or an interior designer. Just be sure to select a team of professionals who can clearly define responsibilities and work together cohesively.

With swatches of carpets, samples of wood and photos of fixtures, a color board can be created by attaching these basic elements to a piece of foamcore or cardboard. You can then keep this with you as you are shopping, which will make choosing details for your home easier.

MAke Interior Design Part of your team

An interior designer will help you assemble the key materials, as well as creating the color board if you so desire.

A good interior designer will meet with clients, observe their existing lifestyle, discuss their ideas and budget, and draw relevant conclusions as to what will ultimately be needed for the project. You can do your part by gathering pictures, magazines and books that show the interior designer your tastes and style.

This color board by Lisman Studio Interior Design shows ideas for fabrics, flooring, countertops, paint colors and furniture.

Providing such information prevents the designer from wasting his/her time and your money by going down dead ends in the design process.
You can find interior designers at firms that specialize in interior design, at retail stores that sell furniture or carpeting, or as independent consultants. Interior designers are paid by charging an hourly rate for design time and/or by marking up wholesale furniture or other items they are ordering for you.

When selecting an interior designer, seek referrals, interview several candidates, ask to see portfolios and speak to references. You should be prepared to define the scope of their involvement in your project. This may range from something as dramatic as having them take charge of the design to something as simple as having them help you come up with a color scheme.

Interior designers can be a great help, not only in giving your project a truly “pulled together” look, but they can also save you a lot of time and effort. It is not practical for you to become an expert on everything you need to select for your remodeling project — every bathroom fixture, every carpet style and every doorknob.

A designer can sort out all the issues of function, cost, color and more to bring together choices he or she thinks will match your style. You still get to be part of the selection process, but you don’t have to do all the research.

In our book, interior designers are well worth the money. As you think ahead to your next project, remember to set aside a portion of your budget for this important member of the design team. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

Make interior designer part of team