Every year, we have a booth at the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show where we provide free 15 minute design consultations. Without fail, at least one person will start the conversation with “So, I have this house…”
This is a pretty important starting point when talking to any interior designer. However, it's only the tip of the iceberg -- if we’re going to help you design the perfect home for your family, we need to dig deeper and learn more about how you live and how you want to live. And that means asking the right questions.
Here are six starter questions to ask yourself or your client when beginning a home design:
Who lives here? Finding out who uses this space is our first priority. There’s a huge difference between creating a design for a family of four with two small children and a design for a bachelor. This goes beyond color scheme. If you have tiny children running around, we’re going to want to steer clear of the crystal (at least in places where it can be easily knocked over).
Which leads to the second question: how do you function in your space? Do you eat breakfast standing at the kitchen counter before your commute? Do you work from home? Are you up early to get the kids ready for school and need space to plan out lunches? While this is admittedly more than just one question, finding out how you use your space is crucial to making your home work better for you in those everyday moments.
Do you entertain? Making sure that your kitchen, dining area, and living room meet your needs during the holidays or other gatherings (when life can seem a bit more hectic than usual) is key to a good design. Running into things while trying to make a good impression on your in-laws or boss is not the kind of stress you need.
What’s staying and what’s going? Not everything needs to be replaced when you decide to redesign a room. That lamp that you’ve had since you were a kid or the family heirloom shoved in a corner can have a new life in a well designed space. Re-using items can also cut down on the overall cost of a project.
What is the timeline for this project? Or, exactly how much time would you like to spend with us? All right, so spending time with us may not be the deciding factor (though we are good company). We need to plan around any upcoming holidays, get togethers, or house guests. We want to make sure that you can put your best self forward for those moments in your life that matter most -- the time spent with family and friends.
And the big question -- what’s the budget? You may not know the answer to this question, or you may be afraid to even approach the question. But we can help. With over 200 available in-house manufacturers, we have something for every budget. While this question is important in the grand scheme of things, figuring out the scope and scale of the project comes first. We’ll work with you to create a project that fits your budget and needs.
The key to starting a design for a client really comes down to one thing -- listening. And if you’re designing for yourself, the same is true. Ask these questions and make sure to fully explore your answers before moving ahead with choosing furniture or planning out your space. (But remember, if you need any help throughout this process, you know where to find us!)