The role of the interior designer and decorator today

Long ago, in years gone by! …….

When I first started working in the interior decoration world, you ‘had to have’ an interior designer to help you in your redecoration of your home. They would visit your home by appointment, discuss ideas with you to gain an idea of your tastes, colour preferences, desires, perhaps budget. They would go away to put together ideas and create ‘mood boards’ for your consideration. Probably after several meetings, a final scheme would be agreed and they would be commissioned to undertake the project. This was not only their job, it was their passion – to pull together colour, pattern, texture to offer their client inspiration and take them to aspirations they weren’t even aware existed. They took pride in finishing a project to the total satisfaction of their clients.

And don’t forget that an interior designer would also take responsibility for the scheme. If the curtains didn’t fit, they would take the hit. If the fabric or wallpaper supplied was faulty, the interior designer would put it right. If the sofa didn’t fit through the door, it was down to the interior designer to sort. They would be the problem solvers on their client’s behalf.

Things have changed. That scenario is far less common today, reserved for the most affluent who can afford and wish to have an exclusive bespoke service. Otherwise, it is far more likely that a client will have already seen on social media and chosen the scheme they want and will consider the interior decorator more as the facilitator. These customers do not require any creative originality from their interior decorator, they simply want them to recreate what they have already seen on line. These customers are also quite demanding on price and ready to haggle.

And so the role of the interior decorator is somehow diminished. They are denied the sense of fulfilment in relating to their client, to interpret what they would like and taking pride in their presentations to the client. They are denied the opportunity to display their own style and capability, their very raison d’etre. It becomes a soul destroying experience.

And the client also misses out. What they see on social media tends to be rather stereo typical, a bit of a band wagon. Whilst they take confidence from what they see there, on the basis that it must be the look to have as it is being endorsed by interior designers, it robs them of the opportunity to explore their own ideas, to be adventurous and display their own personality. So small wonder that the neutral colour palette without pattern has become so popular. It is safe, offers longevity, suggests ‘style’, as recommended by a leading interior designer of the day, so it must be right.

So, on the basis that the client is missing out on an experience and the interior decorator’s role is declining, what’s to be done? Is it worth saving? Yes, otherwise we could be heading to a world of ready made beige.

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