Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of interior design. I feel like so many companies are capitalizing on the industry (HGTV, Houzz, Laurel & Wolf, and the like) and the independent designers & vendors are suffering for it. These companies aren’t going away and designers aren’t doing a great job of differentiating themselves. We’re undervaluing ourselves, lowering rates, dealing with crappy clients, and giving away work to try to stay relevant.Read More
In my series, Business of Design,I help designers run better businesses. I also have helped a client or two find the right interior designers. This list, how to be a good client, is based on hiring the right designer, someone who is just as considerate of these items as you're going to be. Designing a home is a collaboration, so the project can only be completed with cooperation from both the clients and designer team. So you've found a great designer, here are 7 requirements to being a good client and having the best experience.
This is the most important. If you hired a designer to help you, you better trust them. Trust them to make good decisions for you, trust them to be honest, because nothing sours a relationship more than distrust. Trust their design, because we are creative people and when client's second guess or reject creative ideas we die a little inside.
HAVE AN OPEN MIND
Be open to your designer's ideas and vision for the project, trust them to take you out of your comfort zone a little. Designers are creative for a living and if you open your mind to their ideas you will end up happier in the end for it. You hired them to do something to your home that you couldn't so let them flex their creative muscles. One of the most rewarding things I hear from clients is, "I would have never thought of that."
DO NOT MICROMANAGE
If you hired the right designer, they will be a great project manager or have a great project manager. Do not tell your designer how to do their job or obsessively check to see if they have done something. You know what micromanaging is - don't do it.
Thou shalt not shop behind your designer's back. Thou shalt not steal your designers ideas. Thou shalt not lie or be sneaky. Thou shalt not be unethical.
Don't waffle and waver. Stick to your decisions and make decisions quickly. Not doing so can delay the project and cost you money. Constantly questioning the decisions you've made and the choices of your designer is a slippery slope to a design that lacks integrity and ultimately frustration.
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
This also goes under be ethical, but your designer is running a business, not a bank and should be paid for her services. If you are concerned about the bill, open the dialog with your designer - if she is the right one she'll explain and help you understand the charges. But if you don't trust (see #1) this may not be the right fit.
Often the designer will see the big picture, the end result, the ultimate design when the client cannot. The best results are when the clients can let go and let the designer do their job. So often clients second-guess or over-analyze. In the end, projects turn out better when the clients aren't stressing over every detail.
Title Image: Flowering Cherry 1 by Michaela Pereira