When to hire an interior designer

As we’ve outlined in previous posts, building a new home or remodeling your existing home demands many big decisions often made in consultation with experts ranging from an architect to a builder to a landscape architect to an interior designer. That’s right: interior design is as important as the shape and structure of your home because it encompasses how your home will look after the concrete is set and the sawdust has been swept. But how do you know if you should hire an interior designer, and when is the best time to bring them on board? Check out our guide below on when to hire an interior designer and the benefits a skilled interior designer will bring to your project.


At the Flat Top residence, the layout of the living room was designed from the beginning to incorporate the three-sided sofa.

Integrate Interior Design Early

When done well, interior design will inform the overall design of the home because interior designers create spaces that cater to how you want to use particular rooms and areas of the home. Many people think interior design is the final element in building or remodeling, but it should always be a crucial part of the planning and overall designing process. From which views should be prioritized to which rooms they plan to spend the most time in, architectural and structural elements of the home can depend on how big the couch is in the living room or whether the kitchen will have bartop seating or not. By consulting with an interior designer, architects can create ideal, customized spaces that showcase the best attributes of what’s planned for the space, from furniture to art.

“Early on during schematic designs as interior designers we help craft the volume, size and feel of the spaces,” said Sarah Tiedeken O’Brien, Partner at Vertical Arts. “We can layer in architectural elements to help with the interior design, such as using a drop ceiling to distinguish between rooms.”

Our in-house interior designers are part of the project from the beginning and help inform our renderings and visualizations, creating mood boards and color palettes to help homeowners envision the space. The result is a more cohesive look that flows throughout the whole home. For example, in our Boulder Ridge project our clients wanted to optimize the connection between their indoor and outdoor living spaces, so we turned the kitchen perpendicular to a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass. This allowed access to the back patio, a great view from the seating area and two island spaces.


The flow of this kitchen prioritizes views to the outdoors.

Combat Decision-Making Overwhelm

Interior designers can also make the cumbersome decision making process easier. They not only inform the very bones of a home, but also work closely with homeowners to determine the concept and goal of the project. By determining these goals in early phases, the interior designer then selects a palette and style. From there, every design decision is funneled through the concept, creating a filter that weeds out eye-catching items that may not fit the budget or goal. This strategy helps avoid both matchy-matchy and hodgepodge design mistakes. 

“Our clients are surprised by the sheer amount of decisions that have to be made,” said Sarah. “We keep a detailed list of everything that’s been selected, from trim and doors to fixtures and tile. It’s actually a painstaking process to make everything look effortless.”

Collaboration is a key element of working with an interior designer to hone in on the perfect style, enhance beloved elements of the home and create a harmonious whole. For example, in our Thunderhead Ski In Ski Out project, a painting the homeowners loved became the inspiration for the entire color palette of the kitchen, and showcasing the painting became a key factor in how the room was laid out.


This painting informed the entire layout of the kitchen.

Use Them as Your Onsite Ambassador

With all the planning taken care of, someone has to physically be there to make sure your dream home comes to life. That’s, again, where an interior designer comes in. They answer all contractor questions and inspect materials to ensure all of the details come together as they’re supposed to. Plus, if an issue arises they can quickly come up with creative solutions that fit the design aesthetic and goals of the home. 

“Without proper execution and coordination, a well thought out home simply won’t come together,” said Sarah. “Homeowners take comfort in trusting the design team to execute their dream.”

For example at our Park Place project, during the construction process we decided to open the upper shelves behind the kitchen range. This provided more light and met the client’s goal for additional viewing access to the backyard, making a big impact on how the space feels.


The open shelving gives the kitchen a light and airy feeling that’s connected to the backyard.

Enjoy the Icing on the Cake

Finally it’s time to fill the home with finishes and furniture, the true character of a home. An interior designer will take your Pinterest boards into consideration and find realistic end products that work with the way you live and your budget. Mountain home pricing can be especially tricky with materials and shipping costs, so having an expert to guide you through the line by line process is a must.

“We help homeowners navigate the final phase of their new or remodeled home and think beyond the photo to truly understand what it will be like to live in the home,” said Sarah. “It’s fun to see the personality of a place come together into an end product everyone is happy with.”



This home’s style perfectly marries comfort and coziness with a glam twist on traditional craftsman style mountain homes.

This is the fourth article in our educational series meant to guide readers through the process of designing a mountain home. See our first, second and third entries for more information. Stay tuned for our last entry in the series detailing more about the furniture selection process with our sister company, Stel House + Home. Be sure to follow the latest Vertical Arts updates on our website, Houzz, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. To learn more about how we can help you design your dream mountain home, contact us.