Frequently Asked Questions
Interior design FAQs – we answer your top questions about The House Ministry and how we work with you.
Do you have a set design style?
We understand that every client has their own unique aesthetic style and preferences. Our primary goal is to create a space that reflects your individual taste and personality, rather than imposing our own design style onto you.
Instead of adhering to a specific design style, we focus on understanding your needs, lifestyle, and vision for your space. We collaborate with you to create a custom design plan that incorporates your ideas and preferences while also considering functionality, practicality, and budget.
An important part of the early stages of our process is careful questioning to understand your likes and dislikes, the colours, patterns, textures, shapes, finishes that resonate with you. We strive to create a space that is not only beautiful but also practical and comfortable to live in.
However, if you request us to draw on our in-house design style, we are more than happy to do so. Our in-house style is a mix of classic and contemporary design elements that are inspired by clean lines, shapely and elegant, textured and purposefully functional.
Ultimately, our design style is centred around meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations. We believe that every space should be as unique and individual as the people who inhabit it, and we work tirelessly to create a personalised design that reflects your style, personality, and lifestyle.
We may encourage you to push the boundaries a little so the result is something that makes you say Wow! I would never have thought of that!
How long will my project take?
The short answer to this question is – it depends on the size and scale of your project, but probably longer than you’d like it to.
On bigger projects, the design phase is typically around 8-12 weeks because it requires careful thought and diligence. The implementation timescale depends on vendors timelines and trades’ availability, and is established in the procurement phase. We’ll explain the likely timescales at the beginning, and always keep you updated throughout.
If you simply require an accessories and styling service the timescale can be shorter. However, any project where speed is the primary factor will be subject to consequences on quality and price because we’ll select from what is available within the timescale.
If you have a particular deadline coming up like a special event, we’ll of course try to accommodate it, but we’ll also be honest with you if we think it is unrealistic to achieve. So the sooner you start the process and get in touch the better!
How much will it cost?
We have a straight forward and transparent pricing strategy. We will be able to give you a full proposal once we have had a consultation with you, and can understand the complexity and size of your project.
There are three elements to consider when calculating the cost of updating your home.
Firstly, what you’ll want to spend on the furnishings and other ‘things’,
Secondly what’ll you’ll need to spend on the tradespeople to achieve the finished result and
Thirdly the cost of hiring professional help to design your home and project manage the process to achieve the end result you want.
We base our professional fees on the six steps in our process, the work each entails and the deliverables you’ll receive for the service you require. We will quote a fixed fee for each step, based on an agreed scope of work.
We act as a retailer when purchasing goods on your behalf, while still achieving preferred pricing for you. We have an open book policy with tradespeople, which means they will bill you direct. We act with integrity and openess in all financial matters.
We will help you establish a budget for the project early in the process and work within it.
Are we the cheapest? Almost certainly not, because we compete on excellent design, attention to detail, quality results, communication, and customer service. When you are researching interior design firms, take care to ensure you are comparing apples with apples – while there are some very creative designers around, not everyone offers the same deliverables or has professional systems in place for both the development of a design, it’s implementation and the financial responsibility for your hard earned money.
If you would like to understand more about the cost of a project, take a look at our helpful article on the subject of interior design costs and pricing.
Have some questions? Get in touch for a chat.
Who do you work with?
We work with people who don’t have enough time and energy to create the home interiors they aspire to. They are busy, have many demands on their time, and they realise they are not experts in design or renovation but do understand the value of outsourcing.
We’ve worked with clients in their 30s right up to those in their 90s, in modern homes and period properties.
Some clients have used designers before and know it is a short cut to a home that reflects their aesthetic and requirements for functionality.
Others have never worked with an interior designer and were a bit nervous about what to expect. Often they came to us because they felt a bit embarrassed about inviting friends and family round. Their home no longer reflected their décor style and needed updating. They’d wasted precious time and money in the past and ended up with rooms that did not look and feel like they hoped they would.
They felt overwhelmed about where to start and who to trust. They were looking for company that would understand and interpret their requirements into a stylish, comfortable and functional space, giving them a feeling of delight every time they walk through the door.
We put them at ease. Our testimonials bear out how they found our process and communication to be clear and easy.
So what’s the first step?
Book an introductory 20 min phone call with us to find out more. You can book this either through our website, or just drop us an email to .
Is there any kind of work you don’t take on?
Our forte is whole room designs where we are involved from the start of your project through to its completion.
If you are looking for someone to project manage tradespeople to enact your own design we will not be the right firm for you.
What if I'm not ready to start my project just yet?
That’s absolutely fine – many people take between 2 months and 2 years to decide to engage a designer.
It might be because you are in the early stages of a self-build, or perhaps want to live in a new home for while first or are planning an extension. Maybe it’s a question of needing to get finances in place first.
Whatever the reason, we suggest having a free introductory phone call to get some information about the process, the benefits to you and the different services we offer. After all you don’t know what you don’t know as they say and we can fill in some of those blanks for you.
What are the benefits of hiring an interior designer?
Here are 6 reasons why hiring an interior designer is going to significantly improve the results you could achieve by yourself.
a. Resolve your design differences – when partners have opposing design views it can be a stumbling block to moving forward with updating your home. Our skill is to take those differences of opinion and find common ground between you – we have a few tricks up our sleeve to get you both onto the same page.
b. Greater choice – our access to trade only resources or individual makers gives you a much wider choice of styles and sizes than you would find on the high street or online giving you a one of a kind result.
c. Trusted partnerships with trades people and suppliers – During our 11 years in business, we have worked hard to build partnerships with the best tradespeople and vendors. People who share the same values, standards of excellence and customer service as we do – and turn up when they say they are going to!
d. Our expertise, training and experience. We live and breathe design and space planning. You’ll get unique ideas and solutions for your aspirations and way you want to live in your home both now and for your evolving circumstances and family needs. A key part of running a successful project is knowing what should happen when, and by whom. We are your guide through the process and will ensure things are done in the best professional manner.
e. Add value to your home – As professionals in space planning and interior design, we’ll help you allocate your investment in the best way to add value to your property for the longer term, while avoiding expensive mistakes and impulsive purchases that never quite fit it with the rest of the space.
f. Completing your project – it’s such a simple one, but we see your project through from its start to its final conclusion, which for some means every last decorative item in position for the big reveal. People often find a project stalls, before the end with endless waiting for those last few jobs to be finished off. We’re not like that – don’t let that happen to you!
If you are still wondering whether you need professional help or not take our interior design quiz and get our free project planner giveaway.
How do you communicate design ideas and the progress of the project?
We use CAD drawings to show floor plans, elevations and 3D visuals, to show you the furniture layouts etc.
We’ll assemble physical sample boards and digital mood boards to illustrate the cohesion of the elements going into the room. Wherever possible we’ll mock up a visual of what a bespoke item is going to look like – it might be a sketch or a photoshop image.
By the time you are asked to sign off on all the elements going into your project, you should know what they will look like, and how much everything is going to cost. At that stage we’ll also have a good idea as to timescale too.
We run our projects in a linear and organised way, with check in points with you at set stages. This avoids unnecessary back and forth. We’ll keep you fully informed with weekly updates throughout the whole project, so you’ll always know exactly what is happening and what to expect at every stage.
What is full-service turnkey design?
Full service means a start to finish service, taking care of everything. Turnkey is another way of saying this – in effect the owner is given a key to open the door to find everything all completed.
What is white glove installation?
This is a premium delivery service. When the goods are delivered they are taken to the destination room, positioned in the correct place, unpacked with any final assembly completed and the packaging removed and disposed of.
What is the difference between interior design and interior decoration?
These two terms are used interchangeably but they are in fact different practices. Interior decoration is concerned with the cosmetic furnishings in a room where as I
nterior design is about the study of people’s needs and functions from a space including structural changes to create desired behaviours. Interior designers have training and a qualification and go on to furnish a room, but interior decorators are often don’t have formal training and are concerned with how the room looks rather than how it works.
Interior designers work with architects and builders on projects to design the interior spaces of a extension or new build, whereas an interior decorator will work with the finished space.
What does custom furnishings mean?
Bespoke items which are made to measure to fit in a certain space or designed or sized solely for a particular project which you would not find in a high street store. For example, sofas or tables which are wider or taller than the standard size.
We often design contrast piping on a sofa or chair to incorporate other colours being used in the room. Custom items allow us to select fabrics which are not be available in the high street suppliers choices.
Will you oversee my tradespeople?
For the Turnkey service we prefer to work with our own tradespeople as we know and trust them, however we are happy to work with those you recommend so long as they are willing to fit in with our working process.
Can I purchase some of the goods and have you order the rest?
In the Turnkey and Design MasterPlan Plus services we would order all the goods unless otherwise agreed. Purchasing from our suppliers is part of our business model and allows us to fully track the progress of the project, spot any problems early and work as a retailer to you, with the guarantees that brings.
Under the Design MasterPlan and consultancy services you will be responsible for buying all the furnishings.
What happens if I don’t like the design?
It’s unlikely this would happen because we take time and care in the early stages to really understand your aesthetic preferences and needs for your home.
The Concept design stage exists to check that our design direction is on track and this is where any tweaks can be made.
The Detailed design stage is when the design is signed off but is still on paper only so minor adjustments can be made. We show you visuals such as vision boards, sketches, 3D indications, physical samples of the finishes to illustrate how the scheme will look, so you can feel confident about what is proposed.
Which service is best for my situation?
It depends on your available time and budget. The different options have been designed to suit different aesthetic preferences and pockets. The best thing is to get in touch to discuss your situation and we can talk through the different options and help you decide.
Do you supply fabrics or can we?
Under the Design MasterPlan service you will purchase your own fabrics. However, for the Turnkey and Design MasterPlan Plus services we will always supply and arrange the making up of fabrics into curtains, blinds, cushions, upholstery etc. That’s for a few reasons – we will be acting as a retailer to you and have responsibilities accordingly.
Firstly, we like to check the fabric is the correct match to the original sample approved.
Secondly, if a fabric has a flaw and needs replacing, we rely on very good relationships with our suppliers to resolve the problem, and we are keen to maintain that through regular business.
Thirdly, we have the responsibility of calculating the quantity of fabric required and making sure enough has been ordered so our workroom has no delays because of shortfall.
“We have no hesitation in recommending THM’s services. Julia has a very good manner and has the ability to assess her clients’ needs. We loved her creative designs and colour schemes..”
Sign Up to the Mailing List and receive our free Furniture Layout guide