Interior Design Consultation - Advice & Decorating Ideas from A Pro
What is an Interior Design Consultation and is it for me? Do I want decorating ideas from an interior designer? Yes and yes!
I was speaking with an acquaintance recently and she asked what my favorite thing about my job was. Other than owning my own business (go me!) and the freedom and flexibility that comes with that, I answered I love my hourly consults with new clients. She was surprised. Isn’t it a little unnerving to go to a complete stranger’s home and tell them what’s wrong with it? I literally laughed out loud! Well, for starters, I’d never go into someone’s home and tell them negative things about their home. That’s not helpful or constructive. I do go into a consultation with the assumption that I was called for a reason and that the client is open to suggestions and helpful recommendations. I love seeing people’s homes (no I’m not silently judging) and talking with them about their design goals. I love instant gratification (who doesn’t) and often, by the time the consult is over,, the homeowner is left with a giant smile on their face, armed with the info they need to move forward with their design goals. Or they’ve decided I would be better suited to do the design work and they hire me to do it. Either way, we leave clients happier and better off than they were before we got there.
I thought I’d share what a typical design consult is like, what we do and talk about and why it might be a great tool for you to get your home looking the way you want to. It’s a great way to get to know me and my team and decide if our chemistry and styles are compatible. We meet and discuss things like paint colors, new flooring options, decorating ideas, how to down size, how to achieve a particular look (Farmhouse style has been a popular one recently). To be honest, we can discuss just about anything (but I’d recommend sticking to design related topics as I’m not nearly as adept at cooking as I am at designing).
Typical Interior Design Consultation - Bring On The Decorating Ideas!
I arrive at the home. Typically 5 minutes early. (Yep you better be dressed 10 minutes before just to be safe). Sometimes I bring my assistant, sometimes not, depending on what we’ve previously discussed may be on the agenda. I meet with women, men, husbands and wives, parents & kids and once I even met with a lady and her 6 cats. If we’re discussing paint colors, I’ll come armed with huge paint sample catalogs. If we’re rearranging furniture or the client mentioned they’re frustrated with layout, I’ll probably have my furniture sliders with me. We meet at the front door. Typically I’m invited in. Things tend to go more smoothly when that occurs. And then, without fail, the client proceeds to apologize to me for how their home looks (we just moved in, my kids just moved out, we’ve never updated, we’re lazy and watch HGTV all day etc etc). It’s really an unnecessary formality but people almost always do it. I chalk it up to nerves.
Once the small talk is over, I take a look at the room (or rooms) we’re going to work on. I’ll take some “before” photos and have the client tell me a little about why they called (what challenges they’re facing, what drives them crazy about the space, etc). The photos aren’t required, but do help me tremendously if they call me 3 weeks later and ask about the placement for a piece of artwork we discussed. I use the before and after photos for reference.
I set some goals and priorities for the meeting. For example, “Today, we’re going to pick paint colors for your living room and work on furniture placement so it doesn’t feel so closed off from the kitchen. Time permitting, we’ll look at the dining room and find a nice complementary wall color for it as well.” We get to work. Furniture gets rearranged, we find some paint color options for both living room and dining room. I make it a point to really listen to what’s being said (or not said) and adjust my recommendations accordingly. If no one in the room is showing an ounce of excitement about a paint color, I’ll move on to something else. (To get the most bang for your buck, it’s important to be honest with your designer). At the end of the hour, the client will be provided a summary sheet with any relevant notes (ie paint colors, furniture stores to checkout, etc). I pack up and leave and the client enjoys the new design plan or space we’ve worked to create for them.
It’s a piece of cake really! Sound like something you might enjoy?
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