What qualities and attributes are expected of an interior designer from a client's perspective?
A group of potential clients was recently asked this very question and the responses tabulated. I have summed up the results below and added some of my own thoughts.
The most required quality or attribute of an interior designer according to the survey is "experience." A client wants a professional who knows relevant information including product knowledge.
A portfolio of past, present and developing jobs is the best way to show a client your experience at handling many different projects. Keeping a portfolio is an ongoing task that may seem hard to maintain at first, but keeping your work up-to-date will seem much easier once the portfolio is started. This is a must for every professional in the field. In the back of each client's mind is the question, "What can this interior design professional accomplish to make my surroundings more pleasant?" Your portfolio helps answer that question.
The need for "organization" and "preparation" on the job are other very important attributes in this ever-changing field of interior design. The demands from one client may be so overwhelming for a new employee in the field. He or she could be easily discouraged if not well prepared and organized.
"Awareness of the client's needs and wants" is the next important item on the list. I always ask myself, "If it weren't for this client's needs and wants, would I even have a client?' The answer to this question, of course, is "No." There would be no client if a home owner did not have a particular need that had to be met through the designer's talents and efforts to research the client's preferences of style, color choice, placement of furniture, traffic patterns, family needs and wants, special tasks, etc.
"Honesty and integrity" are other attributes that a client will always mentally attach to a particular interior designer. Remember, your reputation in the design world is important due to the fact that a large percentage of business is based upon referrals. Punctuality, honesty, integrity, a positive attitude and how promptly a job is completed are of the utmost importance to the client. Consideration for job delays, back orders and product availability problems that might be beyond the control of the interior designer should always be disclosed in the contract.
"Friendliness and people skills" are requirements that are high on the list. As an interior design professional, working well with others and showing a positive attitude will prove to be contributing factors in most every successful project.
Keep in the mind the widespread competition you face. By offering the above mentioned qualities and attributes, the next steps in the design process should run smoothly. As design professionals, we must remember to keep the client's needs and wants as a top priority.
Customer service in this day of advanced technology will play an even more important role than ever before. We must treat the client with utmost respect . . . even when they might be difficult.
I just found your site on the Internet while looking for a solution to a window treatment problem I have. Here it is: I have a combination living/dining room with an office cubby to one side. We have three 40- by 60-inch windows next to each other. There is a sliding door on the west wall, so there is a lot of sunlight coming in. In the summer there is a lot of heat!
I like the idea of adding wood slat blinds, tab curtains, or possibly pull shades with scalloped bottoms. I am worried, though, that none of these ideas will provide enough insulation. We seek your advice. Please help.
For insulation and energy efficiency, wood blinds or wood shutters would be an excellent choice that would give you light control also. Vertical blinds inserted with fabric is another possibility you would want to consider.
Roller shades might not give you enough insulation unless they are fully lined. You might want to ask your designer about quilted shades. Lined draperies also will provide excellent insulation and total light control.
One last possibility you can consider would be tinting your windows with professionally applied window film for added heating/cooling efficiency in areas of fluctuating weather.
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and currently is an educator at Moorpark college in southern California. She is a published author and frequent public speaker.