5 Things You Learned in Preschool That’ll Help You Work With Your Interior Designer
Right now, we’re all spending a lot more time at home than we ever have before. (Hello, pandemic!) And when you’re staring at those same dumb four walls all day and realizing they could be improved or fixed or upgraded or changed, bringing a designer on board is an awesome idea to help you make that happen. There are a few things you probably learned in preschool (yup, preschool!) that’ll help you work with your interior designer.
Preschool Skill #1: Listening
Listening skills are essential when you hire a designer. You are hiring them because they’re an expert, because you trust their opinion, you trust their taste, and you trust that they’re a grown up business person capable to see your project through to completion. It’s so important as a client that you really listen to your designer. They may be suggesting things that feel a bit uncomfortable. They may be bringing new ideas to the table and it can be easy to tune them out or brush them off. But really, truly using your ears and listening to what an expert is suggesting for your home is huge.
If you can start that open communication from the beginning you’re going to get a way better end result than if you’re not open to new suggestions and new ways to approach things.
Preschool Skill #2: Raise Your Hand
Listening does not mean you have to take everything at face value that your designer suggests. What it means is to listen thoughtfully and carefully when you work with your interior designer, and then – metaphorically, not literally – raise your hand and ask questions and seek clarity around what your designer is suggesting for you.
Asking thoughtful questions is as important as listening to what your designer presents to you. We need to hear feedback and questions from our clients so that we can design the best possible space for you. Raise your hand and speak up!
Preschool Skill #3: Simple Addition
You don’t need to be a mathematician or an accountant to understand the math that goes into your design project – we’ll take care of the complicated stuff! But I do encourage clients to open their eyes to their budgets and how things are starting to add up.
It can feel overwhelming to have a designer quote you a design fee and a contractor give you his fee or her fee on top of that. Then there’s furnishings and decor and art and lighting. And if you’re not finding some way to keep track of that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and freak out when you realize how much money is being spent!
You have control over that; that is simple addition. Add things up on a spreadsheet or write it down in a notebook and get present with what you’re spending. If there is a problem, raise your hand and bring that up with your designer so that you can course-correct and make sure that the numbers work for both your vision and the reality of what your project requires to meet your needs.
Preschool Skill #4: Calendar Time
Interior design takes time. I so wish we could do a one-week makeover and have everything shipped and delivered and installed and done! Yes, that can happen on TV – but what you don’t see on the TV shows are the six months of planning that has led up to that one week of everything coming together.
Talk to your designer about timelines and deliverables and meetings, and note them on your calendar so you know when to expect things from them. Also, be sure to pay attention to the deadlines they’re expecting of you, too. When I present a proposal to a client, I need feedback within a few days otherwise I can’t guarantee the prices or availability of the items we’ve presented. I also can’t guarantee that we can honor the timeline we proposed which can put a huge wrench in the plans. Use your good ol’ calendar skills to help you be mindful of your project’s timeline.
Preschool Skill #5: Playtime
Play is important. Interior design is not rocket science or brain surgery or curing cancer (or curing COVID). Have fun! In preschool, you had fun like it was your full-time job. It’s totally okay to play as an adult too.
Homes that lose a sense of play and get stuck in striving for perfection are boring. So have fun. Play. Enjoy the process. Get creative. Work with your interior designer and let them push you out of your comfort zone. Be open to something new. And if it sucks, knock it down and try again, just like you did in preschool.
There is so much heaviness in the world right now – don’t let interior design be one of those things that stress you out or bring you down. Your home is yours – so get back to basics and bust out of boring.