My least favorite phrase is “there’s nothing wrong with it.” When I meet a new client for an initial Design Consultation on a remodeling project, the first thing I try to do is walk through their existing house with them and listen to their thoughts about what needs to change. I listen for key words like “color”, “comfort”, and “style”. All of these are indicators that lead me to understand exactly what kind of change the client is looking for, and the direction in which my design needs to go.
Some of the more common design mistakes I see in people’s homes are artwork that is out of proportion, a lack of ambient lighting, and sad little light fixtures that undoubtedly came with the house. (Design tip: You are the person living in the house, so put in lighting that you like, otherwise you are left to the mercy of the person who built the house, and when the builder chooses things “budget” always wins over “style”.)
All of these issues are easily fixable. The greatest stumbling block I face as a Designer is the client who shows me a severely dated piece of furniture and tells me they don’t want to replace it because “there’s nothing wrong with it.”
I think what people mean by that is that the item is not damaged. Let’s consider this sofa, for example:
The upholstery is unstained and without rips, the exposed wood is not scratched or marred, the seat, back, legs and arms are not broken. Does that mean there is nothing wrong with it?
Let’s consider another example. This was once the absolute height of fashion:
Is this the suit you wore to work today?
Interior Design, like fashion is about trends. If a piece of furniture is more than ten years old, take a good hard look at it. It worked for you once; does it still work? Does it fit with who you are now, your lifestyle, your taste? Imagine the perfect room for you. Does this item belong there?
Your home is your sanctuary, the place that belongs to you and makes you comfortable. Everything in it should make you feel good. If something doesn’t, there is definitely something wrong with it.