There are many impressions people have about Interior Designers. When I tell people that I’m a designer, most people respond with, “Oh! That sounds like fun!” This is often followed by, “I could never do that…picking out furniture for people all day.”
An interior designer is more than just a person that helps you pick out furniture and pretty fabrics. We play many different professional roles that are not noticed by the client, but are very much a part of our everyday jobs.
Here are 5 things you may not know you are getting when you hire an interior designer:
1) A Logistics Expert
Logistics is the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies.
Especially with independent designers like myself where there is no team of assistants, a designer is a logistics expert. For any one room, there could be a dozen or more vendors and suppliers that require purchase orders, tracking, inventory and billing. Add that to an equal or greater number of phases that require scheduling with a number of tradesmen or sub-contractors.
When you multiply that times multiple rooms and multiple clients, these processes can take an incredible amount of time and attention in order to ensure your project is completed on time and on budget.
2) A Marketing Professional
Coming from an advertising background, I can say with certainty that an interior designer is a marketing professional.
In marketing, a clear message is trying to be communicated using visual and/or non-visual cues. Marketing encourages emotional reactions as a response to its medium. In interior design, that medium is your room…your space.
Our goal in developing a design is to learn what are you trying to say about yourself, your family, your business, etc. in the space that we are designing. We ask questions, observe your habits and tastes, and translate that into a visual representation using a 3-dimensional approach to 2-dimensional design practices: space, content, balance, and a call to action.
When you find a room that calls to you to curl up and read a book, snuggle in and wait out a cold day, or inspires you creatively, that is interior design marketing at work.
3) A Financial Advisor
Ah, money. Often clients have an idea of what they want from social media, magazines, movies or television shows without a concept of what those spaces cost. It is our job as designers to make sure the client has a realistic budget. This can take extended spreadsheets and negotiations, as well as educating the client on the hidden costs (contractor fees, rough-in costs, shipping and transportation, etc.) to ensure a project can finish to the client’s expectations and within their budget.
4) A Marriage Counselor
Occasionally, it’s necessary to facilitate dialog between spouses on the direction of the design. Once again, this requires lots of listening and creative communication. As a designer, we listen to both parties and hear their desires, search for neutral ground (if there is one), or navigate the tricky waters of redirecting one’s views to best serve the overall goal. Thankfully, it’s not often that this gets to the point of being uncomfortable, but sometimes it does.
5) A Lifelong Friend
When you hire an interior designer, you share a lot of your life with him/her. We learn about your family, your kids, your grandkids and your businesses. We are there for births, deaths, marriages and divorces. We are invested in your life because we are helping create spaces that you live your life in! So, true, while you are technically paying us for our services, real friendships are a natural result of this close relationship.
For me, this is the reason why I keep doing what I do. The friendships I’ve made with former and current clients are precious and I will treasure them always.