While interior design is a creative pursuit, it’s grounded by the client’s goals. The client’s budget. The space. Availability of supplies or quality tradespeople. Time also plays a role in delivering a successful interior design project. This week I told my client she had the right to veto my specifications. Including my ideas, or suggestions and recommendations. While I believe this to be true it did make me think about how you can get the best out of your interior designer.
While you might think you understand interior design or interior styling or even think you have a knack or are good at it, an interior designer is naturally creative. A creative person thinks about things differently. Which is exactly what you want as a client. You want an interior designer to present ideas and solutions that you would not normally think of yourself.
For example, I met with a prospective client last week to talk about turning their attic/bedroom on the first level (below) into a home office. After listening to their functional needs, taking a tour of their house and understanding their individual lifestyle, I suggested using an adjacent space called the rumpus room as the home office / second living space.
The first idea was to create a parent’s retreat turning the rumpus room into the master bedroom with the attic/bedroom on this level becoming a stunning ensuite.
These types of idea need further review, discussion and qualification to make sure they work but this is what your interior designer can do. Come up with unique, individual solutions.
Interior Design Process
Every interior designer has their interior design process. This is a systematic way the interior designer learns about the client, their goals and the space. It’s a comprehensive, question and answer process. The interior design process is robust and takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time because it needs to.
I tell my clients this is how I can get inside their head or on the same page. If I don’t understand my client then I can’t deliver a successful interior design.
The brief is a road map, it documents everything the client wants and acts as the design strategy. This is what the interior designer uses to develop designs and concepts.
Working with an interior designer can be an expansive and retractive experience. Clients go on this huge learning journey about interior design, and the difference between their vision and what is actually possible.
Every time a client changes their mind about one simple thing, everything has to be re-considered. A design solution is symbiotic, everything is connected. For example I specified a hexagon tile for a client because the wallpaper had a floral motif and stems had 6 petals. This is the level of abstract thinking an interior designer goes through to ensure cohesion.
Having an open mind will help you get the most out of your interior design experience and almost always the end result is better than the vision because you’ve let your interior designer work their magic.