Feel Confident in Your Choices

I overheard a conversation some months ago that I’ve taken time to think about. A group of women meeting for coffee were discussing their interior designers and it seems, like car salesmen and estate agents, we’re not much liked: bossy and unbending, seemed to be the general consensus, not prepared to listen and highly-strung was another comment and the one that stung, anyone can do what they do, so why bother? Ouch.

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It seems that celebrity designers putting together arresting schemes involving high drama on television have done us no favours. If you’re using a celebrity or high profile designer, then their signature style is what you would expect of the scheme but if that isn’t your look, it makes sense to search elsewhere. There are many designers who practice independently and who base their whole working ethos around the lifestyle, interests and property of the client.

First and foremost your home should be a haven, somewhere you feel safe and comforted from the pressures of the outside world. It should function well to allow you to perform your domestic tasks safely and with the minimum of inconvenience. It should accommodate guests easily and allow you to entertain them according to your wishes and above all, it should reflect who you are, how you live and make you feel happy to be at home.

Inside that statement is the key component – how you live and what you want of your home – this is the starting point of any brief but expecting a designer to know what you want is difficult if you haven’t defined it for yourself. This, I think forms the heart of what those women were complaining about. Creative vision needs a starting point and without the client having an input, the designer is forced to make choices, because the workforce is going to continue to need payment regardless of whether the scheme has been finalised or not. Either that or they’ll pull off the job and reschedule the work ‘when you’re ready’ – such a damning phrase!

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Working with a designer is a chance to put your stamp on your home without taking full responsibility for the process. Your contractor expects a project that is ready to go. He won’t be interested in your struggle to find the perfect wall paper or your concern about the traffic flow around the space and in all honesty, neither will your architect. Designers are there to bridge that gap between technical knowledge and creative detail and most are very keen to know what sparks your interest. This means you have to be open about yourself and give an honest opinion of why you want that specific look. Your input will form the concept of the scheme created for you. It all comes back to you and how you want to live inside the space.

Getting the timing right is crucial too, there’s no point involving a designer without giving them the time to achieve what you want, to source the fit-out and have you approve the quotes before the workforce need to be briefed. It’s even better to have them involved in meetings with the architect because often this highlights how the space is going to function during daily use. It’s an interesting dialogue that of interior designer and architect, like talking to someone through a window and if both are prepared to listen, your home will be the richer for the discussion.

With this level of collaboration perhaps our test group above would not have felt so powerless. It’s a shame they didn’t feel they could get involved in a creative process designed for their benefit.

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