Being an Ideal Client for Interior Designers
The relationship between a client and an interior designer is a special one. Unless you know each other beforehand, you are basically entrusting one of the most important things in life to someone that you just met not too long ago. In addition, you would be seeing each other for the next few months since renovations take a while.
With that being said, I’m sure you understand the importance of creating a strong relationship between yourself and your interior designer so that they can carry out their job well by crafting a nice, functional space for you at the end of the day. So the million-dollar question is, how do you ensure that you have a strong working relationship with your interior designer? Here’s our advice.
Although you are not an expert in this situation, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be proactive. Don’t be afraid to clarify things that you are unclear about. This would help you to iron out any misconceptions so that you are on the same page as your designer.
During the design discussions, feel free to share your visions or any ideas that you may have with your designer, or even use visual representations to give them a peek inside your brain. Helping the designers understand you would go a long way by helping to prevent or eliminate any future potential misunderstandings.
During the renovation process, your interior designer would require you to do a bit of “homework”. I’m talking about the shortlisting of possible appliances or finishings and more. You should have your “homework” ready before the commencement of the renovation.
An interior designer would be able to help you with colour coordination or to provide advice on the suitability of the furniture design with regards to style, but as far as the functionality and preferences go, it is purely subjective to different individuals which is why you need to make these decisions yourself. Engaging an interior designer does not equate to having a personal assistant that runs errands for you regarding the renovation process. Homeowners are also expected to make their own arrangements when third party vendors are involved such as air-conditioning or Citygas works. So do be cooperative and let your designer guide you along the way!
A good client is also realistic. Realistic about the cost of renovations, the renovation timeline, and basically everything. Money is a touchy subject and everyone wants to get a good deal, but instead of haggling to get the cheapest price possible, try to look at the more important things such as the quality of materials and service. While we are not advocating that one should splurge on their home renovations, we have never heard of an example where one skimps on the renovation costs and got more than what they deserved.
A little bit of trust goes a long way in improving any relationship. After you have picked an interior designer, you should learn to trust them since they have the experience and professional knowledge to do a job that they have always been doing. Trust that the decisions they put forth are in your best interests and do not go in with the mindset that there is only one way of doing things (“your” way) and challenge them by thinking that you know better. However, if there is anything seemingly dubious about the situation, do bring up your concerns to clarify with them.
It is the duty of your interior designer to ensure that they maximise the potential of the space that you are renovating, and sometimes during the design process, they may bring up some suggestions that you have not considered before. In such situations, a good client would be open-minded and hear out what the interior designer has to say. It goes without saying, it is completely fine to turn down the suggestion if it is not in line with your vision, but do hear the expert out and try to see if it really does add value to the existing option. For all you know, their suggestions could greatly improve the renovation project.
Being decisive when making decisions helps to speed up the renovation process. We understand that sometimes it is hard to be decisive when there are so many options being presented to you, but when you feel overwhelmed, it helps to talk about it with your interior designer to get some advice and make an informed decision. Do a cost-benefit analysis of each approach and after you make a decision and stick to it.
Needless to say, respect is another important tenet in relationship building. A good client is respectful of their interior designer and their time. They show up to meetings on time with their “homework” done and do not doubt the ability or talk down to their interior designers. Seek clarifications politely when you have to, but don’t cross the line by sounding like you are challenging them or questioning their expertise.
Try not to spam your designer with emails or messages and expect them to reply instantly, vice versa, respond in a timely-fashion when contacted by your designer. Just remember, treat others how you want to be treated.
Paying on time is another way of being respectful towards your interior designer. After working hard to provide you with your ideal space, your interior designer should be rewarded with prompt payments according to the contract details. With money tension out of the way, both you and your designer can focus on having a smooth project completion.
In all, there are no downsides to having a good relationship with your interior designer. The better relationship you have, the more effort they would be willing to put in for your project. So just remember to treat others the way you want to be treated, go forth and spread some kindness!