Getting what you want from your designer

Nervous about working with an interior designer? If you’re not ready to speak up for what you want, maybe you should be.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with a new client, and if they’ve worked with a designer before they tell me that they didn’t like what their designer had created in their home. It shouldn’t be that way!

One gal had really, really, really wanted some orange in her new living room. Now, when I first walked into her space to consult on their basement design, I though “wow, this is a beautiful room!” But in asking about her previous experience with interior designers I learned that she’d craved having some juicy orange in her space. She didn’t get that because her designer either didn’t like orange, or didn’t think it was a good idea (we’re not sure which). The client figured the designer knew best, and so she though it would be better just to go along. To this day, despite how beautiful her space is, she still wishes she had a splash of happy tangerine.

I went to another gal’s home to consult on her kitchen remodel, and as we walked through the space I noticed that nearly every wall and every piece of furniture was a shade of blue. Assuming she liked blue I asked her if she wanted that in her kitchen and she said “No!” She told me that blue had been her decorator’s favorite color. And while she didn’t hate blue before, she was so saturated in it now that she was really coming to detest it.

Decorators and designers are human, and naturally their taste is going to shine through in their designs. That is part of the reason why it is so important to like what you see in someone’s portfolio, and to make sure that you share a similar design aesthetic.

But at the same time, your designer is not going to live in your home. *You* will! So it’s important that what you come home to makes *you* happy, not your designer (or your sister, or your mom). I mean, sure, it’s nice when other people like your home, but really, if they want green in their living room, maybe they should put it in *their* living room. Right?

So do your homework before you redesign your space (whether or not you are working with a designer) and make sure you understand what you want and like. Speak up during the design process if the plans start to veer away from what you crave.

Now, if your design professional has good reasons to suggest something that feels uncomfortable to you, listen, because they may be doing something “crazy” that actually *will* get you to your design goal. But make sure that it’s *your* design goal, and not theirs.

Remember, even if your designer thinks that you should paint your walls purple… if you hate purple… then just say no. After all, *you* have to come home to this space, not them.

May your home always be happy!

Hi! I’m Rebecca West.

I’m not your classic interior designer because, frankly, I don’t care if you buy a new sofa. I do care if your home supports your goals and feels like “you.” Remember, happy starts at home!