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Q: I have a remodeling project but I’m not sure if I need an interior designer or an architect?

A: This is a common question. Typically, an interior designer has the skills and professional education to design and draft new space plans — whether reconfiguring an existing interior space or adding square footage to a home — as well as develop lighting and electrical plans, select all interior finishes such as flooring, countertops, tile, paint colors, wall and window treatments, as well as specify plumbing, appliances, cabinetry and furnishings, to name a few.

If your project involves changing structural load bearing walls, or adding square footage, an architect and/or structural engineer will need to be part of your team. They’ll provide the necessary drawings and structural calculations required by your local building department to ensure your safety and welfare, as well as pass building code inspections.

Q: My project only involves re-decorating my space, how does a professional interior designer’s skills differ from an in-store decorator at a local furniture, tile, or kitchen and bath showroom?

A: Many times retail in-store decorators are primarily sales people. They’ve had only a limited education in interior design and space planning, unlike professional interior designers who attend comprehensive, accredited 3-4 year interior design programs at colleges.

Typically, in-store decorators are not as well versed in scale, proportion, space planning, color theory and health and safety issues. Also, they’ll only offer you product selections from their featured lines. Professional interior designers have access to hundreds of trade-only vendors and manufacturer’s world wide. If you decide to use an in-store designer be sure to ask about their qualifications to determine if they’re the right match for your job.

Q: I would like to re-design my home or office but I don’t have a lot of time to devote to the process, should I still hire a designer?

A: Yes, most definitely, we’ll handle the shopping, ordering and delivery of finish materials, furnishings and fixtures, as well as coordinate and oversee the labor so you can spend more time enjoying family, friends, loved ones and outside activities.

We’ll bring selections to your home or office if you prefer not to go to design showrooms with us and try to make it as convenient as possible. All we ask in return is that you respect our professional time and communicate with us in a timely fashion so we can help you create your vision.

Q: I don’t know what my design style is or how to articulate it, should I still work with an interior designer?

A: We hear this concern frequently. Rest assured we have a unique assessment system to draw out what colors, textures, images, shapes, finishes and feelings resonate with you. Your answers inform our design process.

Our favorite part of our job is helping you create a space that’s completely unique to your personality and not a replica of “specific style” that looks done and impersonal.

Calming master suite designed by Pasadena's Soul Interiors Design
Condominium living room in Pasadena designed by Soul Interiors Design

Q: How do interior designers charge for their professional design time?

A: Hiring an interior designer is an investment in saving you time and acquiring the peace of mind that your job is being executed professionally, in a cost-effective manner and to your liking.

Currently, there is not one industry standard for how interior designers bill for their professional time, but there are three common formats– Hourly, Flat Fee and Cost Plus.


As its name implies, hourly billing means you are charged an hourly fee per team member for the time it takes to complete your project. A Flat Fee arrangement means you are billed one flat fee for the design, execution and completion of your job. And, Cost Plus means a flat fee based on the percentage of the cost of your job is billed.

When interviewing your prospective interior designer make sure you clearly understand their billing practices and frequency.

Soul Interiors Design will work with you to develop a mutually agreeable Estimated Budget of Professional Design Time based on the size of your project.

Q: Are Interior Designers required to be licensed?

A: Each state in the United States has their own regulations. Follow this American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) link to find out your state’s policy

Q: What is Soul Interiors Design’s style?

A: We don’t subscribe to a just one particular design style such as modern, transitional or traditional. As creative professionals we enjoy working on a variety of project styles from elegant traditional kitchens, to soft-modern bathrooms, to mid-century family rooms, to name a few. This keeps business fresh and interesting. As such, we are always seeking out new artisans and vendors to help create new, custom pieces for you that complement your personalized style that we co-create with you.

Q: I am ready to start creating the home or office I’ve always envisioned. What’s the next step?

A: We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Please call or email our office to arrange your initial consultation. We’ll come to your residence or office for a one-and-a-half-hour consultation to see your existing environment, as well as review your aesthetic and functional needs. We’ll ask a number of detailed questions, photograph your current space, and discuss your project budget and timeline. The fee for this consultation is $200.00 which is credited back to you if you proceed to hire us to create your vision.

Q: How do I prepare for my initial consultation with an interior designer?

A: In an effort to help us create a beautiful and functional space for you, we suggest developing a visual reference file of images or items that capture the feeling, colors, textures, and functionality of what you’re trying to achieve.

You can draw design inspiration from many sources such as fashion, art, sports, travel, books, music, stationary, etc. The images you show us don’t have to be pictures of interior spaces. Show us whatever tickles your fancy.

The more meaningful images you can show us the easier it will be for us to understand your preferences and design your unique environment. Have fun compiling your reference file knowing that it will be a valuable tool.

The second item that you must be prepared to discuss is your project budget.

Rather than approach your project from a standpoint of how much you think it will cost, we have found it more effective to give thoughtful consideration to what you’re comfortable investing in your project.

Once you have determined your project budget, we’ll work with you to determine how your money should be allocated as far as interior finishes, fixtures, furnishings, labor, etc., as well as offer suggestions on how to maximize your budget while producing an excellent result.

Not disclosing your project budget from the beginning will only lead to an increase in delays in job completion, as well as create frustration as your designer may spend hours designing something beautiful, shopping for a unique piece of furniture, or bringing in qualified sub-contractors to bid work, only to be informed that it’s not within your budget and that re-selections need to be made which results in higher professional design fees.


Solidify a budget you’re comfortable with before your initial consultation and you’ll feel in control of the process, save time and money and assist us in working more effectively.

Q: What is the sequence of phases that my design project will go thru?

A: If you have not worked with an interior designer previously the five phases your project will move through may be unfamiliar. As such, we have prepared a general outline of the Five Phases of Interior Design and what you can expect to happen during those periods.

Please note: not all of these activities will pertain to your job as defined by its scope of work. This will be reviewed at your first meeting.

Click here to read about the 5-Step Design Process.

Q: What if there is a labor problem or I am unhappy with an item delivered to my home or office?

A: Our business is based on referral so your complete satisfaction with the end result and the process getting there is our priority. If an issue arises, we’ll do everything in our professional capabilities to resolve it immediately and to your satisfaction. For further details, please see our Customer Service Policy.

Q: What other services does Soul Interiors Design offer clients?

A: We want to save time you and give you peace of mind by acting as your “go to” resource for everything related to the design, as well as the care and maintenance of your home or private office.

From rug cleaning to re-finishing floors and re-sealing countertops to removing junk, we will keep your home or office looking fabulous and functioning well.

Q: Do you accept clients outside of the Southern California area?

A: We offer a variety of ways to work with us if you live outside of the Southern California area. Our most popular are:

Instant Interior SOULutions™  – a 1.5 hour Zoom call to support you and answer any questions you may have about your decorating or remodeling challenges. Whether you’re having trouble making decisions about paint colors, furniture styles, window treatments or tile, for example, we are here to help you make the right decision, save time and avoid costly mistakes. Or, perhaps you need some remodeling or budgetary advice before hiring a contractor. We’re here to support you so you’ll feel informed and prepared before starting your project. Just upload your “Before” photos and give us a ring and you’ll be on your way to creating a fabulous space. Click here for more details.

On Location Design SOULutions™ – My favorite! Send us a plane ticket and we’ll work with you on location to create a beautiful and functional space. Just Click here to contact our office and let us know how we can help you take that next step. 

E-book by Gail E. Jamentz – Avoiding 7 Costly Mistakes Clients Make When Hiring An Interior Designer

Select Wisely By Reading: “Avoiding  7 Costly Mistakes Clients Make When Hiring An Interior Designer”

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