When you hire a designer, what answers are you looking for?
What results do you want that you can’t get on your own?
Interior design work is magical. Designers are dream makers, creative seekers, and guardians of the beautiful.
We are also servants, psychologists, executors, fund managers, and problem solvers.
Beyond that, we are fathers, mothers, siblings, and caretakers.
We are human.
Just like you.
With that spirit in mind, I thought I would attempt a post that brings client and designer together to a better understanding. While television glamorizes, social media shows the best-of, and I truly love what I do, my work is not all sunshine and roses.
After all, when we signed the contract to work together I agreed to take your stress and make it my own for the next 3 months to two years.
I’m ok with that.
And I really, really, really want to make you happy.
To make this go well (knowing we WILL hit bumps in the road), there are a few things that would help me and my colleagues out tremendously. A few have joined me today!
We know you are coming to us because you don’t know. There’s a pain point you can’t fix on your own, and that’s why we’re here. We’ll figure it out. The question is, will you accept our answer?
Stop shopping. Once you have done your research, found your designer and taken the leap of faith by hiring them you need to trust them, trust their creative concepts. Let them do the work you hired them for and not disrupt the design process by shopping around at kitchen companies, tile companies and so on. You have chosen them for a reason. You love their design aesthetic, you have been following them for months so let them do their job and bring their vision to you. If you shop, you are overwhelmed with options and then you bring it to us and we either have to talk you off the ledge, or we have to adjust the designs we have already done and this will cost you. Let us present, and then make small changes if need be. I can’t stress enough to just sit back and let us bring your vision to life. That is what we do best and what you are paying a professional for. -Sonya Nesbitt-Kinkade
Honestly saves every relationship, or at least lets it end with dignity and resolution. Honesty requires a great amount of vulnerability, but this is where projects can thrive.
Please be honest with us. If we show you something you don’t care for, just let us know. We won’t be offended – (we promise!) and it will help us select the PERFECT items for you. Often clients can say – Well I’ll think about it, (when really they dislike it), but this just prolongs the process. Let’s both be upfront and we’ll nail this job together! -Jil Sonia McDonald
Share as much info about yourself as possible with your designer. They can’t actually read minds. The more you can clue your designer into what’s in your head the better. It’s their job to understand your aesthetic, your lifestyle and your comfort level. Ask lots of questions and communicate often. Good communication always keeps a relationship strong. -Debbie L. Talianko
I would say this is the BIGGEST thing we need as creatives. When we see you release your problem without looking back, it gives us oxygen. We will move heaven and earth for clients who have faith in our work.
I’m all for asking other people’s opinions on your design options. We all need a friend who can tell us that the red dress looks better on us! But when you ask, be aware you are asking in a vacuum. Your friend does not know how you use the space (function) how much you want to spend (budget) your contractor’s schedule (leadtime) size of the space (scale) other materials (texture and finish) or other colors (tone and value.) These are all items that your interior designer has considered before picking that perfect tile, chair, etc. They chose that item to fit a specific need. Your friend will not take any of these into account when they say what they think. Value the work you have paid for. -Alison Johnston
The world moves on, regardless. The fabric you wanted may only have 15 yards left, our bills come in like clockwork, and our kids are hungry three times a day. If you pay promptly we can quickly secure the fabric, relax because our power bill is paid, and keep everything else running too. Thank you for paying on time! It alleviates SO. MUCH. STRESS.
You know what’s (almost) better than money? A word of thanks. A great review. A compliment. It’s not often heard in ANY work environment. These help us get through the hard days. And while you’re at it, make sure to compliment your waitress as well.
Seth Godin says that our job is to connect to people and interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them.
There’s a chance for us, both client and designer, to enrich each other’s lives.
When I first started my business I thought about it being a way to express my creativity and to increase the beauty around me. After almost a decade in, I realize that this business isn’t a creative business. It’s a service business. (New designers take note). Service businesses aren’t easy. There are a lot of emotions and stresses at play.
It helps a lot to remember that we are human.
Together, flaws and all, we can create something amazing.
I hope this list guides us all to a better place.