Finding the right designer is crucial, it is so important that there is a natural flow of communication and good 'chemistry'. Ensuring that your designer values your ideas and is willing to put aside their personal design biases is essential. However, even with the best interior designer with the warmest of personalities, there are people who just don't have the personality well suited for the interior design process.
Thankfully, my career has given me many amazing memories of clients who I have adored working with, some having blossomed into friendships. However, in my seven years, I have had a few clients slip 'under the radar' so to speak.
Having recently experienced a client who committed what I like to call 'A Series of Design Etiquette Sins', I decided to write a list of essential characteristic for prospective cleints.
1. Honesty : It amazes me that I have to list this as a deal breaker but there are people out there that have no reservations about asking for services that they have no intention of paying for. Even with a design contract, some people will go out of their way to try and find loopholes or will down right 'pull one over' to avoid paying for rendered services.
2. Respectfulness: Respect is essential for any relationship which is why it is essential that when working with a professional that you respect them as such. A good designer will take the time to really listen to their clients vision and make them feel heard, likewise a good client will take the time to hear what their designer is saying. Sure, everyone understands having to take an occasional call now and again but making a habit of answering your phone or sending emails while in a design meeting is a disservice to you and your designer. Not only are you likely to miss essential details in the meeting, you are indirectly sending a message to your designer that you don't value their time or respect what they have to say.
3. Courteous: You can't call your designer at all hours of the night, ask to reschedule your appointment the day of or show up terribly sick to a meeting and expect that your designer will want to go the extra mile and call you back on a Sunday morning when you're in crisis. Common courtesy is essential in maintaining a great relationship for both designer and client (or any relationship for that matter).
4. Open Minded: One of the most fundamental benefits of working with a designer is to have someone open you up to new ideas. If you are completely fixated on what you want and are not receptive to change, you will likely hate the interior design process. A good designer is suppose to challenge you to some extent and if they don't always agree with your ideas, it's not a personal attack, they are just doing their job. There is no point in hiring a professional interior designer if you are not open to new ideas.
Creating beautiful interiors is easy but only when there is a cohesive relationship between designer and client. Mutual respect and an open line of communication is essential in any relationship. I like to think that #1-#3 are on everyones list of required characteristics for any harmonious relationship but #4 is an absolute necessity for anyone who is thinking about working with an interior designer.
The clients that I have been the most fond over the years are lovely people with open minds who know how to communicate. Having sense of humor is also a plus as it makes weathering any challenges that can arise when building or renovating more enjoyable for all involved. Interior design is a glamorous and sometime messy line of work but. Beautiful Interior design is not just a destination, it's a journey and should be enjoyed in good company.
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