6 Types of Clients Interior Designers Should Avoid

More often than not when browsing the web, you’ll come across articles sharing on the types of interior designers that homeowners should avoid. However, in today’s article, we present to you from an interior designer’s perspective, six types of difficult homeowners that designers should avoid having. Having the right type of homeowner will allow designers to do what they do best and make the renovation journey as pleasant and painless as possible.

From our years of experience working together with various interior design firms, we have compiled together a list of 6 different types of homeowners a designer should avoid. As a homeowner reading this, you may wish to be aware that some of these homeowner archetypes as normally don’t work quite well with most interior designers.


Here are the 6 different types of homeowners that designers tend to avoid:

The Homeowner With Unrealistic Demands:

In the name of excellent service, the homeowner expects the interior designer to come up with mood boards before their first meeting. Interior designers are expected to read the minds of such homeowners even before an appointment.

Upon engagement, they may expect the designer to put aside all other commitments and prioritize on their home only. They may not even be aware as to when they may get their keys but have already fixed hard deadlines to move in by. On the other hand, some may say that they have a flexible timeline, but during the middle of the renovation, they have a sudden deadline that you must adhere to.

On pricing, the homeowner expects the interior designer to "match" the cheapest alternative quote they can get their hands on while retaining the high quality and good workmanship that the more expensive quote entails. Any price higher than the cheapest one they can source for is "unreasonable."

The Indecisive Homeowner:

It is not uncommon for this homeowner to give you instructions to do something and then later go back on their words.

The designer has already done an in-depth discussion with the homeowner on the general direction of the design theme. However, weeks later, the homeowner goes through another self-discovery process and realizes that he/she is no longer the person they were weeks ago and their needs have "evolved". The homeowner is often in a constant state of dissatisfaction, which is caused by their inability to pinpoint their exact preferences or needs.

This results in time delays with back and forth design discussion and by changing the general scope of the works, it results in some price alterations which itself may become a bone of contention and impeding the progress of the renovation works.  


The Elusive or Passive Homeowner:

This homeowner may be uncontactable for days and even worse weeks, and all of a sudden make an appearance and comes up with a laundry list of new demands or questions to be addressed immediately. It is perfectly fine for them to take ages to make seemingly straightforward decisions, but it is not acceptable that the designer is unable to act on them quickly.

The homeowner may also claim that they have full confidence in your design expertise and do not wish to micro-manage. They do not want to be involved during the design process, but when the works are completed, they have differing opinions and their exact requirements on how things should be done.


The Mr/Mrs. Know It All Homeowner:

This homeowner keeps questioning and limits your decision making to the extent whereby you question their decision to hire you as their interior designer for their home. It can be a deflating experience for the designer when a non-expert tells you how to do your job.

The homeowner may also “tap” on other family or friends’ advice who know better otherwise. They may also happen to have family or friends who are “designers” or “contractors” and thus giving “kind” or "valuable" advice. The homeowner wants you to get the work done based on their know-how instead of leveraging onto your experience. Should you do otherwise that you know is in the best interest of the home, it still equates to not "listening" to or brushing off their concerns. 

The Nitpicking Homeowner:

This homeowner appears to go around the home with a magnifying glass in hand, identifying any minor defects and demanding a perfect home without any flaws. The homeowner tends to be overly critical of the work even though it has been done in accordance with the norm. Often, they will take a magnified image of the said defect, which in effect is superficial at best when seen in person.


The Over-zealous Homeowner:

This type of homeowner starts messaging interior designers frantically after their BTO or condo application is successful. They believe that the design planning for their home takes as much time as the developer takes to complete their project. 

Without first shortlisting the types of interior design themes that resonate with them, they begin their rounds of “interview” with numerous designers. They start to feel that the search for an interior designer is an arduous process and that no one seems to understand their preferences. Before the renovation commences, they are already burned out and get frustrated over the tiniest things.


Toxic clients are energy draining and opportunity killers. The next time you encounter a new enquiry from a prospect that resembles the such profile, it’s probably advisable to steer clear of them early.

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