Thursday, December 11, 2008

How To Be A Great Design Client!

There is always a lot of talk about how to get new clients, how to better serve our clients, and how to make the project go more smoothly from the designer’s point of view. But from the clients point of view, how can CLIENTS be the best that they can be to make the project successful?

When working with an interior designer , architect or builder,
*Be clear and communicative about expectations and desires.

*Do your homework, know what you like and what you don’t like. Be clear about you’re your needs- from wine storage to shelves for your collections of first editions; from dog beds to closet space; from bathroom lighting to a home office.

*Pay attention, take notes, and listen. Be willing to perhaps expand your original plan to make it better, bigger, and more satisfying.

*You’ll be working directly with the designer, who will in turn work directly with a team of specialists, from design assistants to general contractors and architects, tile-layers, painters, and many craftspeople. The designer will also will be ordering fabrics, furniture and working with showrooms, and coordinating every aspect of the project. Mistakes can happen. Custom made items invite the possibility of error; an incorrect measurement or color, a misunderstanding in finish. It is important to have a sense of humor and trust that the designer will make it work out and solve the issues.
*Stick to your guns. Allowing yourself to be talked into something you don’t like—only to decide later you cant live with it, can be disastrous. Avoid in-decision and especially do not change your mind repeatedly. It is unnerving to the designer and it can be a nightmare when plans, paint, plumbing, plaster, or tile work has to be redone.

*An architect or designer is an advisor who does not, ultimately, have the final decision. They do not sign the checks, you do.
*It is a creative process. Stay the course and remain emotionally involved.
*Observe with optimism. Be patient. Creative people are working hard to make you happy. Always assume the best.
*Pay your invoices in a timely manner.
*Be accountable to all your decisions. Don’t rush out and purchase major items, furniture or art without first discussing it with your designer.
*Be cautious and pay attention. Try out fabric samples, paint swatches, and furniture pieces to ensure that you can live with them. Don’t rush major decisions.
*Minimize the element of surprise. Don’t make decisions without considering all aspects of the design.
*If you are not comfortable with the designer’s plans or decisions, make a graceful exit only after considerable thought. Keep the parting amicable and perhaps even open ended if you feel there is no resolution.
*Your taste should not be steamrolled, but it is also your job to be considerate of the designers’ expertise in achieving your goals. The goal is to create a beautiful project for YOU. It is not a challenge to see who “wins” every decision.
*Try not to comment on everything until it is in place. Until the rooms are finished and all the furniture is in place, don’t critique. Look at everything in context. A sense of truly “working together” makes a project go well.
*Today, the design process is a democratic one. The days of designers and architects being the dictator or tyrant with a mean poodle in the back of a Rolls Royce are gone. The designer dictator made for very unhappy clients and sad endings. Design is now a collaborative process.

*Clients feel free to voice their concerns. It can be stressful, but it can also be a rewarding team work effort to produce a livable, well designed space that is a reflection of your needs and wants and the designers’ creative talents and skills.

1 comment:

tartanscot said...

Wow . . . what a great overview of the design process.

Can I forward this along to my clients ?


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