Whether you're considering decorating one room or your entire house, if you want to retain the services of an interior designer or decorator it is important you are selective and careful about whom you choose. The right choice can lead to wonderfully decorated rooms done to your design and your budget that vastly improve the look, feel and value of your home. Make a poor choice however and you could find yourself out of pocket with very little to show for it.
The best place to start when choosing an interior designer or decorator is to contact friends or family to find out whether they have anyone they can recommend. Choosing someone who has already been recommended by a friend is a good way to make sure you hire someone who is reliable and can do what you need. Every designer should have a portfolio to show you their work so even if you're forced to look for a designer who hasn't been recommended to you you should still be able to see some of their work. If someone doesn't have a portfolio you should probably not hire them because it is likely they have very little experience or don't know what they're doing. However good someone's portfolio is if they've never created something in the style that you are looking for then you might want to give them a miss in favour of someone who has done something similar to what you want to achieve.
Once you've found a likely candidate you'll still want to check out their references which they should have provided for you. Always follow up on references and ask questions to find out more: Some great questions to ask are whether they got what they wanted, if it was on time, if the price came out as quoted and whether there were any problems at all during the process. If both the portfolio and references have come out good you can go ahead with planning to hire them. Talk to your potential designer and get an estimated time of delivery as well as discussing budget. You might also want to discuss how much of an interest and input you'll be wanting in the project.
One of the most important things is to make sure you hire someone who you can communicate well with and who has a similar personality to you. If you like to have everything carefully planned out well in advance you might find it very hard and even stressful to work with someone who is much more spontaneous. When chatting with your designer the questions should not be one-way, it is their job to also find out as much about you and your needs as possible and so they should be asking you plenty of questions. If they're not they might not be able to deliver what it is you want. If you want a particular theme or you like particular colours this is the time to discuss this with the designer. Perhaps you like the French country interior look or the retro look, then tell them. If you hate a particular colour of theme, this again is the time to mention it. They will be able to take your likes and dislikes and turn it into a great look for your rooms.