They say communication is the most important part of any relationship. How you speak to someone and make sure you’re heard and understood is imperative to success and happiness in any aspect of your life. Working with a professional is no different and the trick to making this relationship effective and smooth is communication.
We all have our own personal design or style aesthetic. Have you ever feared that your design pro won’t understand your style or what you want? One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in any relationship, but especially when working with a professional is fear that we will not get what we want and that we will not have the communication skills to tell them what we want.
Checkout these 7 tips that you can use to help ease this fear and get the best from your design expert.
1. Use photos to express yourself
Have you ever gone on vacation and been inspired to decorate your home with the local style of your vacation destination?
For example, let’s say you recently visited Santorini and wanted to create that serene island look at home. A vacation photo that shows the stark white against the bright blue, mixed in with another bright colour could be all your designer need as inspiration to start your colour board.
Sometimes showing a photo you love is all a designer needs to capture your personal style and essence. The one thing that we love about a photo is it can immediately project emotions. Depending on the colours or patterns or even location, it can be a great way to show your style.
But let’s take that photo one step further by telling your designer WHY you like it. What is it specifically about the photo that you love? Is it the patterns? Colours? Hard or soft lines? All of these things play into how you convey your personal style and will help the designer better understand you.
2. Show interior design websites and blogs that you frequent
Another great way to show a designer your style is by taking them to a website that you love. Think about websites of your favourite bloggers, furniture stores and magazines. From there, the designer can not only gauge colours you like, but also understand patterns and styles that you may be drawn to as well. I’ve stumbled upon hundreds of interior design websites and blogs, each with its own aesthetic.
Something drew you to the design and layout and caught your eye. Take note next time you’re browsing so you can show your designer what kind of space you want: fully packed, minimized, colourful, black and white… the options are endless.
3. Look to designers whose style you adore
Maybe you’ve seen a work of a designer on HGTV, a daytime talk show or on a magazine spread that you immediately fell in love with. You might be able to get the same look for your home without having to hire that celebrity designer. Having a few names of designers you adore is a quick and an effective way to show your designer the styles you gravitate towards.
This may be one of the best options, since most designers have a signature style that your own design expert may draw from.
4. Draw inspiration from restaurants you enjoy
Over the past few years, restaurants have really upped their style game. Theme restaurants seem to be all the rage these days focusing on anything from fictional characters like Harry Potter to dining under a water dome like the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant in the Maldives.
Show your designer a restaurant you love and tell them what specifically you like about that restaurant and why. Your designer will be able to assess your style based on what you like and dislike in public spaces like restaurants.
5. Look to hotels and Airbnbs that enchant
While hotel chains like W Hotel continue to provide inspiration for great interiors, you can also look to local boutique hotels that are often packed with a ton of local style to communicate trends or design aspects that you really love to your designer.
Airbnbs can also give many hotels a run for their money in terms of having spectacular decor. We recommend looking at Airbnb Plus properties in particular to draw inspiration from.
Along the same line as a restaurant, luxury hotels and Airbnbs take a lot of the guesswork out of decor as you can easily pinpoint what you like and dislike to your designer using these spaces as examples.
6. Show clothing you love wearing
We may not realize it, but we show our personal style every day with what we wear.
Giving your designer a glimpse into your closet could be a quick way for them to gauge your favourite colours, patterns and even what “type”of fashion enthusiast you are (minimal, comfortable, trendy etc.). Clothing also translates well with what type of fabric you might want on your furniture and for your throws or pillows.
7. Share what you want to use your room for and how you want to feel in the room
Now, this might be the most obvious thing to tell your designer, but a lot of the time we just focus on how we want design of a room to LOOK and not how we want the design to FEEL.
Think about how you want to feel in your room, especially in a bedroom, as well as how you want other people to feel in your room if it’s a living room, a dining room or a room that is likely to be used by others. Do you want others to feel welcomed? Warm? Comfortable? Like they are in the forest? Clearly communicating this information will be very helpful to your design pro.
Another aspect that can impact the design of your room is what you want to use your room for. Is it for everyday use with a lot of wear and tear? Are kids or pets part of that picture? Or do you only want to use this room when guests are over? Knowing what you want to use your room for will help the designer determine what type of furniture/decor to use. Especially with kids or pets, your designer will likely recommend using durable furnishings and decor, incase any accidents occur and may stay away for furniture with hard, sharp edges.
Answer questions your designer asks in a well thought-out and honest way. If you really don’t like something, just tell them that, but also explain why you don’t like it.
Give feedback regularly — don’t expect them to get it right from the get go. They will likely show you an initial concept to gauge your style and preferences and tweak from there. So, if you really imagine yourself reading in bed under a fluffy duvet, with a cup of coffee and want the ability to look out the window and take in the view, tell your designer that! They really want to get this design right for you and every little thing you can share or every little piece of feedback helps. A good designer will ask you a lot of questions to draw out these answers.
Now that you’ve read our top 7 ways to make sure your design pro understands your style, we hope you’ve gotten past some of your fears about communicating with your designer and can go forth confidently in your decorating endeavours!
Written by Caitlin Cochrane.