The Guide to Good Design 2017

A living room designed by Todd Hansen Allied ASID of Alberttson Hansen Architecture that features a cream colored fireplace surrounded by cream colored sofas and a dark wood coffee table with decorative fruit on top.

Designed by Todd Hansen, Allied ASID. Photo by Karen Melvin Photography


The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the leading organization for interior design professionals. It’s a community of industry professionals, educators, and students committed to interior design. From corporate boardrooms to home offices, hotel suites to health care facilities, ASID designers create the places where we live, work, play, heal, and worship.


  • ASID members must pass rigorous acceptance standards: They must have a combination of accredited design education and/or fulltime work experience, and pass a two-day examination administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
  • When you hire an ASID member, you get an experienced practitioner who can save you time by doing the overall big-picture-thinking, looking at the furniture, the lighting, the color combinations, the patterns, the accessories, the spatial relationships, then do the measuring, researching, shopping, ordering, delivery-coordinating, and problem-solving, and help you avoid costly mistakes. Most importantly, a designer will help bring out your personality and inject it into the space, allowing you to tell your own unique visual story.

 A sitting room designed by Nan Sloan and Kate Regan Allied ASID shows a large, open, white room with dark wood floors. In the center of the room is a cream colored coffee table surrounded by sofas and chairs, and the far side of the room is made up of floor-to-ceiling windows.Designers Nan Sloan and Kate Reagan, Allied ASID. Photo by Troy Thies Photography


Once you’ve decided to hire a designer, what do you do? According to ASID MN, think about what you want and need in your space. Your designer might ask about activities, how long you plan to stay in your home, your timeframe, your budget, and an overall feeling you want the space to convey. It can seem overwhelming, but your ASID MN interior designer will patiently guide you through the process. The more information you can provide, the better. You want to give your designer the necessary tools for meeting (and exceeding!) your expectations.

Gather visual references of what you like and don’t like (photos, postcards, logos, examples of rooms or fashion pulled from the pages of magazines). Think about your favorite room in the house. What unites the things in that room. Where do you like to travel? Is there one piece of furniture in the room that’s different from the others? The best designs are ones that are thoughtfully collected, a reflection of your personal style. The second step is to interview ASID MN designers. Interview several designers to compare personalities, styles, and business methods. Explain your project. ASID MN designers will listen to your ideas and concerns, bringing expertise, education, integrity, and insight to the table. They will give you as much—or as little—hand-holding as you need and offer objective solutions, taking the time to carefully explain design decisions.

Once you’ve interviewed several designers, take time to compare their estimates. According to ASID MN, “Don’t base your decision on price alone. Keep in mind that differences in each proposal reflect variables such as level of service and quality of merchandise.” With experienced designers, you’re paying a premium for their experience and inside knowledge/tricks of the trade, but don’t discount the younger designers. Younger designers with less on-the-job experience are often energetic and excited to try and learn new things. They are ready to take on the world.

 A kitchen designed by Fiddlehead Design Group features all white cabinetry, black counter tops, stainless steel appliances and ornate light fixtures overhanging a central island.Designed by Andréa Dixon, CKD, Allied ASID and Jen Ziemer, Allied ASID. Photo by Susan Gilmore Photography

No matter what, be honest with your designer about your budget. According to ASID MN, “A professional designer assesses your needs and helps you determine where to spend and where to save, prioritizing expenses while creating an interior that is within your budget. Also, remember that not everything has to be completed at once. Your designer can develop a long-range plan, consult with you to establish a list of priorities and determine a timeline for accomplishing your project.” Hiring an ethical, professional ASID MN member can result in a beautiful, functional space designed specifically to meet your needs.

Featured Project: Kor Interior Design

Designed by: Keri Olson, Allied ASID

A living room featuring walls made of windows. In the middle of the room is a coffee table with some books place on top, and surrounding it are chairs and a footstool.

Photo by Troy Thies Photography

This home, built in 1928, just wasn’t cutting it for the homeowners, who love to cook and entertain. The kitchen footprint was original to the  home, last remodeled in the ‘70s. Keri Olson of KOR Interior Design worked on a complete kitchen remodel with sunroom expansion and master bed/bath addition. Half of the home’s first and second floors were remodeled or renovated; every room was touched in some way. The most unique aspect of this beautiful remodel is the range backsplash, imported all the way from Israel. Having lived abroad in Cape Town and Mexico and traveled extensively, Olson loves the sights, sounds and flavors of other cultures and works with all ages and spaces, from urban condo to classic home and lakeside retreat. “I combine treasures, old and new, into a home that’s beautiful and comfortable,” she says. “I believe that you should live with what you love.”

 A kitchen featuring wood cabinetry, tile flooring and high chairs surrounding the countertop.

Photo by Troy Thies Photography

Visit for a list of current interior designers, including their contact information, expertise, and sample portfolios.



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