4 Qualities of a Happy Designer-Client Relationship

Cultivate trust, flexibility and more during a design project, and it could be the beginning of a beautiful alliance!

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There is a rumor about designers, that we’re all bossy people, who whip together a design plan and then steamroll through your house executing our vision, without caring about the client’s needs and vision. Truth be told, most of us have strong opinions, but believe it or not, most of us have gotten a lot of invaluable tips, design ideas and trend information from our own clients.

Some will admit that even though they hated a client’s choice of rug or fabric, the end result was fabulous. I actually learned about Houzz from a client and it has forever changed my business. Here we’ll discuss the qualities that can make for a great client-designer experience.

Trust. Some of the best design projects happen when designers and clients trust one another.

Flexibility. Be flexible with your design choices when working with a designer or on your own. When you have your heart set on something, it’s hard not to go crazy if it’s been discontinued or is otherwise not available. But when it comes down to it, there is always a similar item that your designer can source that’s just as fabulous as the one you had your mind set on. Budget can cause similar issues, but when it comes to design,there are many ways to achieve the same result, and a good designer-client relationship will give you room to explore those options.

Diplomacy.There are going to be plenty of things you and your designer disagree on, it is normal, and it’s okay. I suggest handling these issues with diplomacy and respect. When someone colorfully expresses their hate for an item without presenting a solution, nothing gets solved. I’ve seen loads of projects stalled over intense differences or worse, the designer and client part ways with only bitter tales to share at happy hour, and that’s not the goal.

Collaboration. An open mind to share ideas and take risks can make a big difference in a designer-client relationship. For example: I love bold colors and often suggest using them in projects, but not every client is thrilled with this idea at first; some need some guidance before taking the risk. Collaborating on ideabooks to see how a color works in a space, choosing paint and fabric samples together to consider other options, and taking a few calculated risks in the overall design can help both designer and client achieve the best outcome.

Tip: It’s never too late to seek design guidance! Even a quick consultation can save you a lot of money and pain.