When you first start thinking of hiring an interior decorator like me, you may be wondering why I insist that our very first in-person meeting is going to be a Design Consultation at your house. Today I’m going to share all of the ins-and-outs of what a Design Consultation is, why we start there, what happens during that two hours, and what’s in it for you.

What is an Interior Design Consultation, and Why do I need One?

Before the Design Consultation – Our First Phone Call

No meeting will ever get to happen until you pick up the phone and call me. Or use my Contact form if you want me to call you. You’ll be nervous, as everyone is who calls someone they’ve never met and reveals that they need help with something. I understand completely how you feel. Most of the time I ask a single question and can hear the frustration in potential clients’ voices as they tell me why things haven’t worked out. I’m going to use that time on the phone with you to gather some vital information about your house, your family, your dreams for what you want your house to become, and then we’ll set up an appointment for your design consultation. I try to do design consultations as soon as possible, but it will depend on coordinating our calendars during my business hours.

At the Design Consultation – Our First Meeting

Overwhelmed by what needs done to get your home ready to sell? Hiring a professional stager can help your Harrisonburg area home sell in less time for more money.Once we’ve set the appointment, you’re really stressing out about everything that’s not right for you in your home. Please relax. I’ve seen worse, trust me. If it was perfect, you wouldn’t have called me in the first place. (This is Step 1 of my Signature Design Process)


I will want to see all of the rooms you’re wanting to decorate. Please know that I’m an absolute extrovert, I’ve never met a stranger, and I will do my best to help you relax. But I will be quiet most of the time, jotting down notes on my clipboard, and I do need you to slow down and not rush through the entire house in just five minutes. The more thorough I can be at this point, and have an opportunity to ask you questions, the better our end result.

Why am I so quiet? Because I’m imagining your room. As you talk, a vision will start to come together. I’m seeing your room rearranged into a better layout. I’m looking at your windows to see how best to highlight them, or in some cases downplay them. I’m looking at your lighting and how it’s working with your current paint colors. I’m looking at you and what colors would flatter your complexion. Is it a complete vision at this moment? No, but it’s a starting point.

How many rooms can we view in a Design Consultation?

I’ve done consultations for a single room, and others for an entire house including design a bathroom where none existed before. Two hours is plenty of time to get the information I need. I do not do measuring at this point, unless you’ve told me in advance that you’re planning to completely DIY this and just need some guidance as to furniture or accessory sizes. Otherwise that comes in Step 3 of my Signature Design Process.

Farmhouse Decorating project

And during that two hours, as those visions pop in to my head, I’m going to share them with you. I’ll tell you how I would rearrange the furniture. What new pieces may need purchased. Did I spot something tucked away in another room that would be perfect in that spot? What colors I’m thinking I’d like to paint the walls, although that won’t be exact quite yet. We’ll go over all of those ideas and you’ll know right then if you think I’d be the interior decorator you would want to hire for your project. I’ll know if I think you’re the right client for me as well. And then we can discuss whether we would like to proceed together on this project or not.

Is the Design Consultation FREE?

No, there is a fee for design consultations. I charge $150 for the 2 hours.  Would you rather have a design consultation you pay for but is full of thousands of dollars worth of ideas, or would you prefer a free consultation where I say, “Yes, I can do this project. No, I’m not telling you how.”? Exactly. That investment can save you thousands of dollars in mistakes, and you will know right away that I’m as good as what you’ve heard about me. <wink>

I know, I know… the plumber will come out for free and give you an estimate. But I don’t do estimates – my clients dictate their own personal budget. Once the plumber gives you the estimate, you aren’t going to run out to the local hardware store and then suddenly fix that leak yourself. You’re going to hire him because you now know what he’s going to charge, how long it will take, and that you’ll spend twice as much money and 10x as much time doing the same thing he would have done, but probably not as well.

What happens at the end of the Design Consultation?

Before & After - ReDesign Project by Crystal Ortiz, Bluestone Decorating, Harrisonburg, VAIf you’re a strictly DIY client, I’ve tried my best to write neatly on my clipboard for you. All of my notes will be yours to keep. You’ll have a roadmap to start on your projects at home. We say our goodbyes and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Hopefully you’ll give me a glowing testimonial afterward.

If you’re looking for a full-service interior decorator, we’ll go over my different service levels together. I’ll tell you based on each room you showed me where I believe I can best meet your needs for each particular room. I’ll show you why I feel that way and let you decide how you want to proceed.

Then we will read my contract together. I will answer all of your questions on the spot. You won’t feel that you didn’t understand anything about my flat rate design fees, when payments would be due, or any other questions that may have arisen. If you’ve got a small projects in various rooms, you may only wish to hire me on an hourly basis.

Most of my Clients are the decision makers, and those who are looking to hire me are ready to sign the contract that day, pay their deposit, and let me get started on their design projects. I like working with this type of client, because he or she doesn’t waste time getting three other opinions and never making a decision. Yes, I’m telling you right up front that I prefer action over tire-kicking or price-shoppers.

Schedule Your Design Consultation

So if you’re tired of kicking tires, living with rooms you don’t love, and are ready for a change to your gilded cage, I’m ready to chat with you about your home and how I can help you. Call me today at 271-2686 and let’s have that chat and get your design consultation on my calendar. I’m really looking forward to helping you create the home of your dreams.

Until next time… xoxo Crystal

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