Working with an Interior Designer (Part 1) WHAT & WHY?

Working with an Interior Designer (Part 1) WHAT & WHY?

The majority of my clients have never worked with an Interior Designer before they hire me. So, if you’ve never used a designer before, and you aren’t familiar with the services they offer, how do you know if you need one? In this post I’ll shed light onto the process of working with an interior designer; WHAT they do and WHY you might need one. For the WHO and WHEN (i.e. who should you appoint, and when should you engage them) tune in next week!

The WHAT. So, what do Interior Designers do?

There’s often a preconception that Interior Designers spend their days plumping cushions and hanging pictures. And yes, designers do often get involved in the final styling stages but there’s so much that happens before the cushions are plumped and the pictures are hung. So let’s start at the beginning…


Designers spend much of their time floor-planning; creating layouts that form the basis of a design. See it as the framework; without getting that right, nothing else will work as it should. A good layout takes into account your lifestyle, your space and how you plan to use it. It is the starting point of any great design and is an essential part of the design process. Without a floorplan that works for you, a room can look utterly stunning, but it won’t function properly. And if a space doesn’t function well, you won’t love it. Not for long anyway. A good designer will talk through who will use the space, when and what for. They will think about practicalities (sockets, switches, natural light etc), alongside the aesthetics.


Most designers offer a full room design service. This will combine a layout and design concept, resulting in a full design schedule to create a space that you love. All designers have a slightly different process, but they nearly always start by taking a brief from you, the client, considering what you want and need from a space as well as looking at your likes and dislikes in terms of interior style. Then it’s over to the designer to create a scheme that works for you. A good design needs to work for you and reflect your story, so I like to make sure there is a two-way process here; a conversation between client and designer throughout which ensures any tweaks are made to ensure the design is something you really love, rather than an on-trend design which is created and imposed.


Some designers offer design-only, others only take on jobs they can fully implement too. Others can offer both design-only and implementation, depending on what the client wants or needs. The project management part of the design process is the implementation; bringing the scheme to life. It consists of scheduling trades, monitoring works, places orders, taking deliveries, making sure everything is finished, on-time and on-budget. It is perfect for clients who don’t have the time (or the energy!) to get involved in the detail of the practicalities.


Some designers will offer stand-alone consultations, or a series of consultations to deal with specific design issues you may have. Perhaps you need help choosing colours for rooms, or perhaps you have a tricky spot and want some bespoke joinery designing. An interior designer can take a more objective approach, looking at that element as part of your wider living arrangements. They also have a wealth of experience and, in the case of colour consultations for example, is not tied to one particular paint brand.


Some designers and stylists will offer separate interior styling services. Often this is part of a full deign scheme; it’s the finishing touches, the cushions, the artwork, the accessories. But sometimes you may have a room that you don’t want to change much, but feel like the finishing touches are missing. That’s when the services of an interior stylist can help bring your scheme together, adding those important final elements to make your design sing.

The WHY? Why do you need an Interior Designer?

You may well not need one! But I am also conscious that lots of people are unsure whether the services of an Interior Designer are for them. Interior Design is no longer the preserve of the rich and famous. Interior Design is so much more accessible than it used to be and with people spending so much more time within their home than ever before, they are recognising the need to create something that truly works for them and which they truly love.

The reality is, people hire designers for many different reasons. You may well have a great eye for interiors but simply not have the time to focus on pulling a design together, let-alone the time to implement and project manage it all.

Or you may have a great eye for interiors and want to create the scheme yourself but working with a designer may help you think about the layout in a different way. Perhaps you’re drawing up plans with an architect for a new extension; a designer will bring a different perspective to the plans, considering your lifestyle and the internal flow to make sure that the space you create can be used how you need it to be used.

Alternatively you may just not know where to start when it comes to colour and pattern. You’ve read all the blogs out there, got lost down many a Pinterest rabbit-hole and now just feel completely overwhelmed. Perhaps you need an interior designer to get to help you define your style and create something that works for you.

Or maybe you’re a creative who loves design and interiors but wants to be challenged and pushed outside of your usual comfort-zone a little. Using a designer allows you to tap into their wealth of knowledge, suppliers, products and materials.

Whatever you want help with, whether it’s a lot or a little, a good designer will help you create a space you love and that works for you. As with any professional service, there’s obviously a financial investment but it results in an enjoyable process which helps you define your interior style and ultimately creates a home that tells your story.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 – Working with an Interior Designer – The WHO and the WHEN, out next week.




Design Edit: Garden Lighting

Design Edit: Garden Lighting

Autumn is definitely in the air, but what a glorious weekend we had in Yorkshire. After such a long, sunny summer I’ve got rather used to spending time in the garden, so it was nice to be out there again. I’m certainly not ready to close the door on my outdoor space yet. Admittedly, I am excited about updating the interior for the seasonal changes, but this year I’m keen to incorporate the garden a little more, alive to the possibility that it too is a magical place to be enjoyed all year round. Garden lighting may not be the obvious choice for an Autumnal Design Edit, but when it’s cold and dark outside, what’s better than looking out into your very own enchanted forest?

And if you’re garden-ready, as soon as there’s another sunny day, you have the perfect excuse to get outside. Throws, lanterns and candles; perhaps even throw a log on the fire pit. Now’s the time to wrap up and enjoy some cosy, alfresco autumnal evenings. Who’s with me?

So here are my top picks for the optimists who refuse to make the garden redundant for the next half of the year …

#1 I love a floor lamp. And now there’s one to take outside. Make a sophisticated statement with this Elsa outdoor floor lamp, £120 from Cox and Cox (

#2 Hang these squirrel festoon lights in a tree for a magical effect all year round, £45 from Garden Trading  (

#3 Now’s a good time to update your hardwired outdoor lighting; welcome your guests in style with this contemporary carriage light, £95 from Garden Trading (

#4 Giant lanterns are a great way of creating a bold look while making an outdoor snug cosy and inviting. I love the Mosi giant lantern, £140 – £190 from Nkuku (

#5 Admittedly alfresco dining opportunities may be few and far between until the Spring, but these pendants would look amazing hung from a tree over a cosy seating area. And then you’re ready for next year’s outdoor dinner parties! £75 from Amara (

#6 Add some architectural definition to your patio area with these luminous orbs, £50-100 from Cox and Cox (




A few of my favourite things: Bedside Lamps

A few of my favourite things: Bedside Lamps

Whether it’s for your bedtime reading or morning cuppa, a good bedside lamp is essential. Not only practical, but a pair of bedside lamps leaves your bedroom beautifully styled. And, if you’re feel confident, mix them up. No one ever said they had to match.

Take a look at the lamps I’m loving right now….


#1 Rose tinted glass makes everything better.
Glass shade lamp (£78) from

#2 Simple style. Beautiful combination of marble and glass; just add a vintage bulb.
Oracle domed £49.99 from

#3 Easy and elegant. Choose the dark pleated shade for a touch of sophistication.
Bessy Table Lamp £145 from

#4 Soft and dreamy. Perfect in light airy rooms as well as dark moody spaces.
Eos tripod lamp from www.vitacopenhagen

#5 Sleek and stylish. Brass finish adds a touch of elegance.
Octavia £39 from

#6 Classic combination of blush pink and polished brass. A favourite of mine.
Ewer £59 from