What interior design really is and the value of great advice

One of the difficult things to pay for is intangible, hard-to-understand, hidden-value advice. Why would you?

When you go and buy something, you have it in your hand. When you go and rent that holiday villa, you’re in it, living the life. When you have kidney stones, and the doctor tells you how to get rid of them, you can measure the value-add through instant comfort.

Things get fuzzier when what you buy is talking, testing, thinking and the agony of decision-making with thousands of options floating around.


I had many clients telling me at the kick-start of the project that they are pretty good at design that they know what they want, and, really, all they need from me is just a bit of help. Have you ever heard anybody say that to a lawyer, that they are great at the law and, really, they just need a bit of help? You did not because it was never said. It almost sounds like a Sunday dinner joke πŸ˜€


Image by Kevin Matos via Unsplash

Like in law, design is a solution to a problem. It is not art. It is not an esoteric epiphany that comes upon you, like a “vision” that you bestow to clients out of the crevices of your mind.

Even with law, paying for advice is more straightforward and why? Because the assumption is that this complicated web of rules and regulations that form up the law is hidden from you while a lawyer, through their education and the perpetual perfecting of their craft, knows it inside out. They can navigate you through the system in such a way that you get what you want and more.

On the other hand, interior design is perceived as a talent, an artistic side of things. That apparently makes it automatically less critical, more frivolous, less severe and definitely less valuable as a service. Why? Because everyone who thinks of themselves as creative firmly believes they can do it.

There are exceptions, don’t get me wrong, and, with simple projects like furnishing a room, or even a bathroom or a kitchen, anything in the home, really, most talented amateurs do OK without a professional designer. That is because of the project’s particular requirements, its personal nature (they are doing it for themselves, after all..), limitations of budget, limitations of space and all things criteria that make design a design.

Image by Ricardo Annandale via Unsplash

But as soon as you move from the realm of the simple to that of complex, the chances of an amateur providing a solution that is actually the best diminishes substantially. And as much as you should not go through a costly court case without a lawyer, you should not tackle a complex project without a designer.

Wait for part two in April to find out what’s going to happen if your contractor designs the project…

πŸ“· Images courtesy of Dochia Media

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