The problem with online interior design

The problem with online interior design

I met with a client to check in on their kitchen refurbishment project.  They decided to work with Ikea on the kitchen design and layout and I was asked to make the specification selections.  Things like cabinetry colour, door profiles, handles, splashback and so on.

Short cut the design process

I started by understanding their preferred style goal and colour scheme. As I do with all my projects. The client wanted a Mid-Century Modern (MCM) aesthetic with a grey, white, sage colour scheme.  Although there are similarities with Scandinavian design and MCM, they are different interior styles.

So, choosing from a primarily, Scandi range from Ikea for an MCM style was going to be a challenge. But importantly, this part of the process is bypassed with some online design services.

To achieve the client’s style goal, I decided to focus on creating the MCM vibe through the handles, pendant lighting and splashback. Primarily, because there were limited options with Ikea cabinetry.  My client loved the mood board I presented.

The reality of online interior design

However, visiting them recently to see how the project was unfolding, the client expressed disappointment.  Both with the Ikea design and with some of my selections.  It’s never nice to hear a client is unhappy.  But it is normal for clients to feel doubt in the middle of the project because they can’t visualise how it will look completed.

I made a couple of simple suggestions to rectify the issue with the selections based on my client’s feedback. But what struck me was how hard it is to complete an interior design project online.  Especially a kitchen where millimetres matter.

There was an imbalance in the cabinetry, with uneven lines, poor design solutions and limited options. So much of what guides an interior designer is intuition.  Spending time in a space and making the right decisions due to this level of familiarity with every nook and cranny.

I understand that client’s have budgets to consider but I also think it’s important for clients to be mindful of their expectations relating to important design projects like a kitchen refurbishment if an interior designer hasn’t set foot in the space.

Cover Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash


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