I remember my first time meeting up with an interior designer (ID) at her firm. I hadn't put much thought into it, save for a quick Google search on potential companies to work with.
All I knew then was that my Build-to-Order flat would be ready in a couple of months, and it was about time to start planning for renovations if I wanted to move in ASAP.
And as an excited first-time homeowner, I went into the meeting with no expectations whatsoever, and with zero prep work done.
Thankfully, the representative I spoke with was kind enough to walk me through the process, and I walked away with a better understanding of what was needed to make future discussions more productive.
If that sounds like you, there's no need to make the same mistakes I did. Consider preparing the following things in advance before the initial meeting to make the most out of it!
1. Put together a mood board
If a picture tells a thousand words, imagine what a collage can do.
Be it Instagram posts, a Pinterest board or just plain ol' scrapbooks filled with cut-outs from magazines, start compiling all the home interior looks you love.
It's also helpful to categorise them by spaces - think bedroom, living area, bathrooms, and kitchen.
By the end of it, you're likely to have figured out what your favourite themes are, and it'll be easier to convey your ideas to IDs too.
2. List down your needs
Take some time to think about your lifestyle and how your future abode will serve it best.
For example, do you need plenty of storage space, and would prefer a walk-in wardrobe concept? Or do you cook a lot, and love having guests over?
Prepare a laundry list of these things and rank them by priority for your ID, so that he or she will be able to come up with a considered design that speaks your language.
3. Study your floor plan and bring it along
Now that you have an idea of your preferences, it's time to take a good look at your floor plan and have a think about how feasible the ideas are for your living space.
Will it require a complete overhaul, extensive carpentry or minimal renovation? These are just some things to keep in mind when discussing your plans with an ID.
And be sure to bring along both a printed and soft copy of the floor plan for your meeting - it provides useful information (such as the location of structural walls) for IDs to work with.
4. Budget and timeline
This is the part that gets a little boring, but it is definitely important nonetheless.
There are two things to think about here - your budget for the project, as well as the timeline for it.
Letting IDs in on how much cash you're willing to splash helps them craft a feasible proposal; and by advising them on your ideal move-in date, they will also be able to advise on the possibility, and work with you in coming up with a realistic project timeline.
5. Keep an open mind
With all that said, the one thing I did do right was to keep an open mind.
After all, the whole point of engaging an ID is to tap on his or her professional expertise, so go ahead and bring your ideas to the table and see what transpires from there.
For all you know, you may end up gaining fresh perspectives and fall in love with clever design tweaks or themes you hadn't considered earlier.
All the best for your renovation journey!
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.