5 tips to finding the right interior designer in Pittsburgh

Choosing an interior designer or interior design firm does not need to be a difficult process. There are many skilled and talented designers in the Pittsburgh area, all with different strengths and styles. Here are 5 tips and tricks to consider when selecting the right fit for your project.

  1. 1. Set clear expectations – both in terms of form and style
  2. When you are looking at different interior designers, start with their portfolio and drill down from there. If you schedule an initial consult with the designer, try to bring clear and concise ideas of what you like so you can begin to establish the basis for an overall design theme. A good interior designer should be able to take the seeds of a style and create a full design concept.

    It is also important to communicate to the designer how much you want to be involved with the process. Past clients of ours have been a mix of, “No thanks, just pick all of the design features and make it happen!”, while others want to be far more involved. Have this conversation early to establish those expectations from the start. The relationship between the home owner and designer can be a fun and effortless process or it can be a bad fit from the start – so have these conversations early and have them often!

  3. 2.  Determine what skill set you will need for the project
  4. People immediately associate interior designers as only being able to pick out colors and wallpaper. Different interior designers come with different skill sets. Some designers specialize in furniture only, others excel at color schemes and motifs. Perhaps you are in a situation where you have selected a general contractor that you are comfortable with, but you need someone to put the finishing touches on the design elements. Regardless of the situation, find out from the designers you are speaking to and get a sense of the skills they bring to the table so that they can serve the best role possible in the scope of the project.

  5. 3.  Ask questions and then ask some more!
  6. Your interior designer is there to guide you through a difficult process. There should be no such thing as a dumb question and the more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the person you are about to potentially hire. How does the process work? How do we set a budget? How do we communicate throughout the project?

  7. 4.  Talk about next steps and initiate a specific contract
  8. Should you find the right interior designer that meets your style and project needs, clearly define the next steps and discuss the terms of the contract. Make sure the interior designer is fully transparent about the scope and costs of the project. A good designer will present a detailed proposal that should make sense and outline, in detail, the overall scope of the project, style elements and cost.

  9. 5. Have fun and stay flexible
  10. Planning, designing and completing your Pittsburgh interior design project should be fun, so you should feel a good chemistry with the interior designer you choose. Keeping an open mind and letting the designer work within the professional capacity they were hired for can yield amazing results. Keep lines of communication open, express satisfaction or concerns when they arise and enjoy your beautifully designed Pittsburgh home!

“Kristen and Emma met with us well in advance of our initial design meeting with the builder in order to understand our tastes/preferences, determine what existing furniture/art we planned to bring from the old house and to discuss our priorities.”

— Wendy H.,

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LMNTL DSGN | Pittsburgh Interior Design
Kristen Hancock

Kristen Hancock, Associate ASID, is the President and Principal of LMNTL DSGN. Kristen founded LMNTL DSGN to solve one of the great residential construction challenges: Seamlessly transition the project from the owner's original vision effectively through the design and build phases.

Kristen served as the Director of Operations for the premier design build firm in New York City, The Renovated Home. Kristen returned to her hometown, Pittsburgh, PA, where she was the Lead Designer and Operations Manager for Primrose Homes. She has been the creative force behind some of Pittsburgh's most prestigious homes, including Pittsburgh Magazine’s Ultimate Home 2015.

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