Commercial interior design is one of those often misunderstood choices that business or property owners make. Given that a service’s value can only be determined when experienced in real time, there is a good chance that the wrong interior design firm is hired for a project.

Hiring a commercial interior design firm to improve the look of your office or work place is no easy task. There are many factors that should be taken in consideration during the selection process beside surface considerations such as budget and design style.

To help you in your search for the right interior design firm to partner with, we have summarized the key traits to look out for. Do try to use these tips help you narrow your search before you sign on the dotted line.

Does the firm have the appropriate amount of experience?

Experience in this context is not pertaining to the amount of time they have been in the interior design industry. Instead, you should consider if they have had relevant prior experience in projects similar to what you are requiring of them. In the commercial interior industry, there are a whole range of different tasks, challenges and specialisations. Even if an interior design firm has many years of experience, they may not have had specific experience with the work you require.

Every commercial business has their own needs and faces different obstacles, and your designer should be more than capable to cater to your requirements.

Scanning through their portfolio & reviews

How then can you narrow down your selection of corporate interior design firms? The answer lies in an interior design firm’s portfolio. By scanning through their portfolio, you would get a good idea of their specialities and prior project experiences. If you do spot similarities or desired traits in them, then it is more likely that the firm will be able to deliver your project’s requirements.

To start, most interior design firm’s websites contain a gallery of past project images as well as a couple of case studies. These can be used as your first assessment of the competence of the firm. From there, you could further expand your research to their past client reviews. Customer reviews are great for getting a grasp of the working style or relationships that the interior design firm has with its clients.

Thirdly, do not hesitate to reach out to the interior design firm to ask for further case studies. Oftentimes, interior design firms have done many projects but only choose to feature larger works or those for bigger brands. As such, the most relevant work experience in relation to your requirements may not be found on the website. Furthermore, you could use the portfolio to help describe the works that you want by pointing out previous features that the designer has installed.

How much are they charging for their services?

Commercial interior designers’ charges differ from one another; some charge by the hour while others have a fixed cost. Thus, it is a good practice to set a budget for your project before engaging with the design firm. Be honest with your budget amount so that your designer will then know how to cater to your needs.

You could also present your project requirements to multiple designers in order to get an understanding of what to expect when interacting with design firms.

Get feedback on your budget

Stating your budget up front and having it accepted by an interior design firm is insufficient. Rather, you should be careful to check with the designer on their plans for using your budget to meet your needs. After all, any firm could take your stated budget and deliver a barely satisfactory job. In which case, you can be sure that a great amount of dissatisfaction will arise on both sides.

While there are a multitude of aspects to interior design budgeting, here are a few questions that you can ask your designer:

  • A breakdown of spending of the intended project’s budget
  • Limitations that the designer foresees with the budget
  • Any common extra expenses that arise in projects
  • What would they do with additional budget

By asking these questions, you will have a better understanding of the firm’s ability to do a good job within the agreed budget.

Are you able to communicate with them?

Interior design consists of back and forth, constant communication between the client and the designer to ultimately achieve the ideal design. Your chosen designer should not only be open to listening to your suggestions, but also explain to you why some ideas work and others do not.

Finding synergy with the interior designer

In particular, synergy between you and the firm is paramount to the success of the project. While difficult to visualise, being a service, there is a concept of chemistry between the designer and you. With the right chemistry, you will find it much easier for you to communicate your design needs and vision for the project.

On the other end, the designer would be able to close the communication loop and confirm if they have understood your vision. Furthermore, if they have reservations or improvements for it, your designer would not be hesitant to raise them to you. This extends throughout the project, including the execution phase. Frequent updates and feedback should be delivered in order for confidence in the partnership to be built.

Ultimately, good interior design requires two hands to clap and thus a strong partnership is needed. One tip would be to put effort into all communications, using the most suitable medium. For example, if you wish to convey your space’s theme

Create your Dream Space with FE + Associates

A team of interior design firm with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, we are pragmatic in fusing aesthetic and functionality in space. By engaging our services, you will benefit from our timely delivery without blowing your investment, thus creating a reliable partner in your office relocation/renovation process.

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