Does your home need an update? Is the outdated appearance making you feel bored?

Or maybe you have recently built a beautiful new home and need someone with a good eye to help you complete the project?

An interior decorator can enhance your style or help you find a whole new look for your home. Selecting the right interior decorator will help save you time and money.

Know Your Personal Taste

Before hiring a decorator, think about your personal tastes. Leaf through magazines and clip out designs that appeal to you. You could also look on the Internet and print out looks you like. Put them in a three-ring binder or file folder with a comment about why it attracts you. Seeing your preferences will help the decorator understand how to fulfill your needs.

It is also a good idea to learn some interior design terminology so you can speak the same language as the designer. Do you know the difference between a club chair, armoire and highboy? Studying the words they use will help you avoid disappointment later.

Locate Interior Decorators

Research the names and contact information of interior decorators. The National Kitchen and Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Design have a list of interior decorators in your area. Check with your family and friends as well. In particular, if you know someone whose home you adore, ask who did the work.

Choose three interior decorators to interview. Typically, these meetings occur in their offices, but sometimes a prospective interior decorator will want to meet in your home. He or she might want to see the house in order to provide specific details. Others decorators prefer to hold interviews in their offices so you can see their previous work and look at samples.

Cost of an Interior Decorator

Ask about how bills are handled. Usually there are three methods of payment.

The first is by-the-hour. The interior designer will ask that you pay for a minimum number of hours. Once those hours are gone, you may choose to purchase more time in bulk or they may opt to work on an hourly basis.

The second payment option is cost-plus. When interior decorators purchase items for your home, they simply add a percentage to the cost. If the decorator uses this method, be sure to discuss your overall budget with them. They will welcome your honesty.

The third way that some interior decorators are paid is a combination of by-the-hour and cost-plus.

Certification and Training

Currently, 26 states require interior decorators to be certified. The National Kitchen and Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Design oversee these certifications. These professional organizations have their own requirements. By their rules, decorators must have at least an associate's degree, serve an apprenticeship, and then pass an exam to become certified. Once a decorator has passed an initial exam, professionals can continue their education to prove mastery in specialized skills.


The best interior decorators have strong personal design philosophies. You will see it in their portfolios and when you speak to them. The ideal professional will have an ability to understand and reflect your style. After all, you are the person who will live in your home.

They should fit in with your style, not the other way around. Find someone who is flexible and communicative. If the person doesn't take criticism well, that is not a person you want to work with.

Once you have interviewed three interior decorators, choose one you have a connection with. Continue discussing time frames, costs and other details about the project. Do not make payments until you have a contract.

Finding an interior decorator might seem like an overwhelming task. Through research, communication and staying true to your own style, you can find a decorator who will transform your house into a true home.

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