Interior design clients who wind up dissatisfied with the changes they ask you to make for them tend to have certain things in common: poor decision making, too much focus on the details, beauty over functionality – or functionality over beauty – just to name a few. Since the client rarely accepts blame for their dissatisfaction, it’s important for every designer to keep these common problems and timeless interior decorating advice in mind when bidding on a job.
While different clients will have different needs, and some will prove more challenging than others, there are a variety of design and decorating challenges that present themselves on a regular basis. The sharp designer is aware of these and has answers to the most common of them.
5 Typical Interior Design Challenges
- Big Picture Focus – Keeping your client focused on Big Picture, whole-home solutions, rather than details like this or that rug in that or this space, will help them understand and appreciate the vision for their project that you share with them. Maintaining balance within a particular space is important for long-term comfort, while “making a statement” can detract from that balanced look and feel. When your client seems to become lost in the minutiae, ask them to step back and keep the larger vision in mind.
- Style Choices – In real estate, the most important characteristic is “location, location, location.” For an interior designer, it’s “style, style, style”. Determining the character of a space, along with a style that will either enhance or diminish it based on the client’s wishes, will enable you to proceed with confidence and conviction that you’re providing what the client needs. Their lack of confidence will lead your client to make timid choices, so reinforce their style choices and move boldly forward.
- Artwork Must be Loved – Never let your clients choose a piece of art simply because it fills some empty wall space or because the main colors match their furniture. Art should be uplifting, provoke thought, take the viewer to new places or create a reason to pause and enjoy. Art is personal, so help your clients find pieces that reflect their passions, spirit or outlook on life.
- Paint and Wallcoverings Require Patience – Often, the process of choosing paint and wallcoverings requires more time than the application of either. Here, patience truly is a virtue, for the client and the designer. Since colors and textures can vary greatly when moving from store to home, the best choice is to perform in-home testing whenever possible. Ideally, your clients will be living with these choices for a very long time so, it makes sense to be patient with them when they make these choices.
- Balancing Price and Value – While high-end furniture may enhance the look and feel of a space, it is not always the best value for your client. Sure, “something cheap is eventually expensive” but, every client must work within a budget, which means that you must do likewise. The smart designer leads her client to make choices that offer the most “bang for the buck”; choices that enhance the vison and style you agreed to achieve when you began.
Are there other common design problems that, based on your experience, you would add to this list of timeless interior decorating advice?
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