Architect and designer Varun Motihar counsels us to do some prep work before hiring an interior designer | Here’s his to-do list

So, you want the home of your dreams, or simply want to revamp your existing space? Call a designer, did you say? Not yet! For the perfect outcome, you need to do some homework of your own. IFM met award-winning architect and designer Varun Motihar for a to-do list before you hire a designer.

BE REALISTIC | Get a grip on the scope of work required and find a balance between what is desired and what is in the realm of possibility. Be aware of elements you wish to retain and those you are willing to experiment with.

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SET A BUDGET | before you start shopping for a designer, narrow down on two or three whose work you like and get a quote, that gives you the range of spend-the least and at the top-end-given the changes you want. Different designers will offer varying budgets. Comfortably fit yourself somewhere in between keeping in mind that although price does not dictate design, it can dictate quality.

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DO YOUR RESEARCH | This is the crucial bit; you can’t skip the research! Depending on the size of your project, understand what kind of designer you want to work with-structured corporate firms, boutiques or freelancers. Corporate firms will follow your brief, while boutique firms take on small projects and hold more creative control.

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BUILD A MOOD-BOARD | Understand the design direction you want to head in. Convey these ideas through images, sketches, samples or even words. Keep an open mind regarding the designer’s interpretation. A large part of a designer’s job is to get a basic understanding of what you want and present it in an innovative, functional and intelligent manner.

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STAY OPEN TO CHANGE | Be willing to change your life in little ways and to experiment, during the design process. I have had clients who have rediscovered their love for painting, music, art or entertaining through the risks they have taken. Good design is not merely aesthetic or functional. It’s extremely personal and allows you to be the best version of yourself.

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GIVE A DEADLINE | Set yourself a comfortable time-frame, a few weeks/months (depending on the scope of work) to begin and execute the design process. Designing a space is like cooking a good meal; it’s best done in one go. Interruptions in the design and execution process tend to weigh heavily on both the designer as well as the client. The best projects begin and end within an agreed time-frame.

LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS | Once you have selected the firm or individual you want to work with, have faith. The process, although transparent, can be abstract at times. If the processes are being logically handled, which means transparent costings, consistent sharing of drawings, organized labor teams and timelines are met, chances are everything is fine and you will get exactly what you were looking for.

(Varun Motihar runs the successful design studio MOVA1 and is a popular name among mainstream interior design magazines.)

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