Visiting an interior design center is one of the best ways to make your home come to life. You’ll have access to a wide range of showrooms, and the opportunity to work one-on-one with the experts. Designing a space from top to bottom is very exciting – but it can also be overwhelming, and most people don’t know what to expect when they walk into their first appointment.


Luckily, there are a few things you can do beforehand to prepare for your showroom visit and that will make your shopping experience much easier.


1) Figure Out Your Budget


Having a detailed budget will streamline your entire shopping experience. Not only will it prevent you from overspending, it will help the designers create an affordable space that works for you.


We even suggest breaking it down into smaller categories. Lighting, flooring and custom cabinets are big-ticket features, so you may want to allocate more for these items than you would smaller design elements. Don’t be afraid to organize everything! Accessories, appliances, hardware, furniture, paint, plumbing and electrical, wall treatments – no category is too small.  


It’s easy to go overboard on finishes and upgrades – especially when walking through a glamorous showroom. Keeping to a detailed break down will help you choose beautiful design elements that are still within your price range.


2) Wants Vs. Needs


Before your appointment you should prepare a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Is tile floor heating a necessity or is that more of an extravagance? How important are soft close cabinet drawers or marble countertops? What about dramatic lighting, window treatments or crown molding? Having these priorities in order will help you make smarter decisions and stay within budget. Again, every detail counts.


3) Do Some Research


Before visiting an interior design center, it is important to do some homework. Check out your design center’s website and social media channels to see what kinds of brands, products, designs and services they have to offer. Picking your favorite showrooms online will save you a lot of time during your appointment.


There are also quite a few interactive online tools available that can help you visualize your space. A lot of design centers have their own virtual room programs, but you can also find free design software online.


You should also start flipping through your favorite interior design magazines or watch notable home improvement shows. Which styles speak to you? What are some of your favorite colors, patterns and textures? The more inspiration you find, the faster your vision will take shape. Take notes. Save pictures. Don’t be afraid to create a small mood board, collage or journal. Have fun!


4) Be Prepared To Make A Few Appointments


Interior design takes time – even for the professionals. It may take several appointments to complete a design concept that suits your budget and needs. Be prepared to return to your design center to choose upgrades, pick accent pieces and add the finishing touches.


5) Have A Notebook & Camera On Hand


Superior interior design centers will provide you with everything you need (catalogues, brochures, cut sheets, etc.), but it is still a good idea to take notes and pictures during your appointments. This way you can keep track of all the important details and have a lot of fun in the process!