Alexis Varbero’s Tips for Hiring the Right Interior Designer

As a member of the team at the prestigious Schwartz Design Showroom, which recently opened a new location in Stamford, Alexis Varbero knows what it’s like to work with top interior designers — in fact, since Schwartz Design is exclusively to-the-trade, it’s pretty much what she does all day. So we figured who better to ask for tips on hiring a designer than someone who’s made a career out of catering to them? Here, we talk to Alexis about the advantages of hiring a professional to decorate your space, the most important factor in a designer-client relationship, how you can vet your decorator shortlist, and more.

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You work with a ton of interior designers. What’s the advantage to having someone design your space for you?
I do! Working with an interior designer allows the client to go out of their box. An interior designer sees scale, color and function in a completely different way. People hire nutritionists, trainers, landscapers, and life coaches all the time. They do so because they fill a professional need. Interior designers are the same.

From what you see, what is the key to a successful client-designer relationship?
Trust! I always say have faith in your designer and the process. It is so important for clients to be open and honest with their interior designers. Set upfront goals and expectations. Ultimately every interior designer that I work with wants to create a beautiful environment for their client. It is an intimate relationship…Designers need to understand how someone plans to live and/or utilize the space. No one wants surprises!

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What are the most important considerations for hiring an interior designer?

  • Interview and vet thoroughly.
  • Check all references and referrals.
  • Consider personality – someone may have worked perfectly with your friend but you could be very different than your friend.
  • Ask how freight and delivery are handled. This is typically when things have a tendency to go bad. Good interior designers have great back end support and can deal very effectively with damages and or issues.
  • Understand how your designer is compensated. As much as we all love what we do, designers are also running their businesses.

How can homeowners vet the good designers from the bad?

  • Make sure that the designer has a contract, again, this way there is no grey area.
  • Have conversations up front about their knowledge of the industry.
  • The more questions up front the less questioning on the back end.

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Do you have any favorite local interior designers you work with or recommend?
I LOVE all my interior design clients! Like children I can’t play favorites.

Do you have any other advice for homeowners looking to hire an interior designer?
Enjoy the process!

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