Today I am going to attempt something that isn’t done very often. I want to open up a dialogue about the fears that come with hiring an interior designer or decorator. I hope to address a touchy topic with grace and help people understand interior designers aren’t really the people portrayed on television shows or that live a in some secret, fancy world that takes them out of your league.
First of all, why? Why am I setting off a conversation that could be touchy? I promise you it’s not because I like controversy. I’m quite controversy adverse. I also understand once this post goes out into the universe, it is out of my control, and the results could be unpredictable. I’m willing to take that risk for something better. My hope is that you will find this post educational, inspiring, and even if you aren’t in the market to hire an interior designer or decorator, you will understand us a little better.
The number one thing I see when people want to start a conversation with me about their home is fear. I’m sure that fear is a little different for each individual, but it rears its ugly head more often than not. Where does this fear come from? I’m not sure. I do think most of the time it’s a fear of being judged harshly.
I’ve even heard, “I don’t want to __________________ because I don’t want a designer to tear me apart.”
I’ll admit designers usually come with strong personalities. Most are pretty darn stylish (I’m working on my own authentic style as we speak, but that’s a subject for another time). We have opinions, and we share them. We write them on blogs and tell you what we think when you ask. It’s part of our life; our job. We’re creatives, and that comes with it’s own amount of mystery and maybe perceived irrationality.
So I understand when we might be seen as intimidating or judgmental.
But there’s something that you need to know.
We really aren’t that judgmental. Speaking for myself, if you invite me to your house for a party, the last thing I will be doing is look to see if your sofa is stylish. Or that your undertones work. It’s not going to happen.
That statement might not comfort you. You might be thinking, “I kind of don’t believe you.”
Trust me when I say it again. I don’t find any joy in finding the “wrongs” of a home. I do “fix” homes. But fixing homes isn’t easy business. At some point of each day, my fixing/creative energy is done, and I need to shut that area of my brain down. I don’t care if I’m at your house and your favorite lamp has an outdated shade. It won’t even register. I’ll be glad I have a light to see you by and enjoy your friendly face. No judgment is passed, on any level.
Here’s something else to consider: while we designers have “rules” we use often, and we share them with our audiences, don’t assume it’s the end-all-be-all. When we get hired to “fix” a home, we come knowing that those rules may not apply to you. Your situation is unique, and it’s going to take some fun problem solving that will be exhilarating when we find the solution together. Designers are client’s strongest advocates. We aren’t there with a secret agenda. If you feel a designer has a goal that doesn’t line up with yours , it’s time to find a new designer.
Phew. That takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it?
Also know this: while it is vital that you show us “inspirational” images, the beautiful photos in magazines are very staged. We know this too. Do you have expectations of having a home with fresh flowers, a beautiful tea set, and a perfectly lit fire each and every day of your lives? I doubt it. So guess what? That’s not really the standard we go by either. Expecting a home to be like that is the equivalent of expecting our bodies to look like the air-brushed models found in beauty magazines. That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to make your home look good. We will. But it may shock you to know that is the last thing we care about. First and foremost we have to make sure you can create a life in your home that you love. The beauty part? It is simply icing on the cake. If you are working with a designer that puts beauty before functionality, it’s time to find another designer.
Last of all, please know this: we are as worried about starting a new “relationship” with a client as you are with us. Taking on home projects, connected to your hard-earned money, is intimidating for us as well. We don’t take it lightly that we are steering a great ship, with a thousand moving parts and tapping into some of the most vulnerable aspects of your lives. No home project goes off perfectly. At times it could get messy. But if we trust each other, are open and caring about each other, the results will be mind blowing.
Now, over to you. Have you been scared to hire a designer? I would love to hear your worries. The more we address, the better of we’ll all be!
Happy Monday everyone!