You don’t ‘want’ a designer – but maybe you need one?

I didn’t want to write a blog about all the reasons why you should hire an interior designer because: a. if you are here that means you probably already have a good idea about the benefits of hiring one and b. there is already a multitude of articles zooming around the internet explaining all these benefits and chances are you’ve read one of them. But I do want to write one about why you needn’t feel like you shouldn’t hire a designer. 

book on table

So many times I hear the sentence: ‘I don’t want an interior designer’. And I get that – no one asks for a designer as a birthday present or puts ‘working with an interior designer’ on their bucket list. But most times I hear this statement I can’t help but feel like maybe it’s for the wrong reasons. It tends to come with an undertone of misplaced pride and even embarrassment. As if admitting that you might need help is equal to admitting that you aren’t capable of doing it yourself. That you don’t have good taste or that you need someone else to make decisions for you. In reality, it means the opposite, it means that you are smart and that you have recognised all the amazing things that can happen when you do decide to take a leap of faith and work with a professional.

busy coffee table

In the early days of being a brand-spanking-new designer, I’ve accepted all the misconception and misplaced stereotypes of what a designer is and does. It’s a battle we are on a first-name basis with while we try to show people that hiring a designer has many-many positives. Allowing a stranger into your home, into your family; giving them space to figure out your style, the things that make you feel at home and the things that make your skin crawl; looking at them for advice and trusting them with something as big as your home or business – it is a big thing, and it is something you should be proud of.

There is another way of thinking about working with a designer and in my opinion, it’s the correct one. It is far more accurate to think that

– ‘my designer is an extension of myself’

– ‘my designer is there to put my ideas and thoughts onto paper’

-‘my designer will guide me through the project’ or

-‘I have a designer to stop me from making rushed decisions’

One thing I always try to explain to potential clients is that working with an interior designer is no different from working with an architect, the builder, the project manager, the electrician and so on. You go through the same motions and work on developing a relationship that will hopefully be built on trust, respect and a mutual understanding of the other parties’ needs and requirements. It should never involve a sense of shame – and I’m saying this because of stories of people who would only work with someone as long as said designer would agree to stay silent while the client convinces their family and friends that all the work was done by themselves. Someone else’s opinion can put a lot of pressure on you and your choices during a renovation – one you’ve worked hard for and saved up for. But it should not become a factor in how the process will play out. If it does, that is probably a good indication that maybe you’re not quite ready to have a designer on board.

I want to give you a few examples of all the good things that can come out of a solid client-designer relationship because it really can be quite magical.

books in a book holder

You are the most important ingredient in a project

Generally speaking, interior designers tend to be gentle, kind folk. We care and we are pre-wired to want to help you. A big aspect of our job is to get to know you as much as we can, so that we can take everything you are and translate it into the design scheme. Being an interior designer isn’t about us creating our own dream spaces – it’s about creating yours.

We can see the bigger picture

Renovations are a lot. They are a lot for everyone involved and even the most patient person will lose it for a moment (sooner or later). And because there are so many decisions to make and as a client, you are emotionally attached to your own project it’s hard to not zoom in on small details that might be insignificant; it’s hard to see the bigger picture. We are there to hold your hand and keep reminding you of what you have set out to achieve so many moons ago and show you the clear path of getting there.

Sometimes we are more practical than you are

This again comes down to your emotional attachment to your project. Chances are that you have never done this before so the question of what might be the best place to position a staircase or that pure silk cushions might not be the best idea with 3 toddlers in tow, might elude you just a little bit. But designer are trained to look at spaces not only aesthetically but also practically. To make sure that the choices you make right now will still hold up in 6 years when your circumstances have changed.

Interior design Yodas

All of those hours going through a gazillion websites, visiting trade shows, attending lectures and webinars, watching product launches and being part of the architecture and design community really do mean something. They mean that we have a pretty good knowledge of what’s out there, what works and what doesn’t and what products are suitable for you when others might not be. Think of us as little Yodas clued up on all things interiors.

Woman setting a dining table

Most importantly, your interior designer will care. And you might end up with something so much more special than it could have been – so it really is something you should embrace and consider. It’s worth a conversation and it’s worth the investment.

I’ll close this post by sharing a client testimonial I have just received a week ago because I think it beautifully sums up everything I have been trying to explain:

‘Having worked with Keyhole Interiors for over 12 months I can thoroughly recommend them. I bought a large grade 2 listed Georgian house, which had been offices for over 30 years and gained permission to convert them to a large house and 2 apartments. I interviewed 3 design companies to assist me and appointed Melinda because of her clean, contemporary but timeless style but, more than anything, her honest and thoughtful approach. I can truly say that working with Keyhole Interiors was one of the best decisions I made in the whole project. Melinda started with detailed room layouts but also designed fitted furniture and lighting. She proposed a choice of furniture and accessory options using a mixture of designer and high street suppliers. We were never over faced with too much choice but were still able to put our own stamp on things. Melinda is a very special person – totally profession and so gifted. She was always responsive, down to earth and friendly. I am very lucky to have an amazing house now, but thanks to Melinda it is far more spectacular than it ever would have been.’ Private client, Ribble Valley




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