In your home, your taste and preferences trump that of all others—including interior designers.
However, if you are feeling stuck in any way and genuinely would like some helpful advice, then an interior designer is the person to ask.
An interior designer knows a thing, or three, about colour theory, how to create harmony and balance in a scheme, and generally how to make things work together.
And they also know when something simply won’t work, and why.
That is worth a hell of a lot more than the preferences of any layperson. And when you ask people on social media for their advice, what you get back are recommendations based on their personal taste.
I see people ask others for advice on what to do all the time, and I want to pull my hair out when I read some of the answers. Please don’t allow your home décor choices to be influenced by random people whose homes you aren’t familiar with.
If you feel the need for some third-party advice, then a pro is the one to ask.
And plenty offer one-off consultations that will provide just the kind of support you’re looking for.
An interior designer’s job is to listen to your wants and needs, get to know your style, and then make recommendations that provide the solutions you need while catering to your taste and lifestyle.
They will explain to you the rationale behind their suggestions so that you understand what could—and wouldn’t—work for you. This helps you to avoid costly mistakes.
The decision of whether or not to implement their advice is entirely up to you. You can decide to go a different way, but at least you’ll make that decision with a better understanding of interior design principles.
The “rules” are signposts that help you get better results.
But, as we all know, rules are meant to be broken. It’s simply better to understand the rules before you break them. Know what rule you are breaking, and why, and you’re more likely to get the effect you wanted than if you’re simply guessing.
If your budget is so tight that you’d prefer to avoid a one-to-one session, you’ll find many video tutorials on Youtube to help you understand the fundamental design principles. Again, look for qualified designers, rather than influencers.
What’s the difference?
Influencers will explain what they’ve done, and often how they did it too. Designers will add to that why they made the choice, outlining the elements of good design that impacted their choice. (Influencers often explain why too, but that’s usually all about their personal preferences rather than design theory.)
Influencers tend to be folks with a really good eye and a personal style that they replicate for others. They are a good reference point if you want to create a particular look in your home.
But their advice and tips are often solely based on their own experience rather than a fundamental understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and why. In this regard, they’re often drawing from other influencers—some of whom understand the fundamentals, and many who don’t.
Designers can help you understand how to figure out what style suits you best and how to create it. And they’ll also explain why it’s best to avoid certain layouts, when to use particular colour palettes, and how to choose your big-ticket items.
I follow and enjoy a good mix of both designers and influencers. But I usually find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the designers at least 90%+ of the time. Whereas the influencers might make me want to shout at the screen sometimes. A lot of times.
At the end of the day, it will all come back to your own personal taste and what will work best for you in your home.
The influencers can help inspire you and the designers can help educate you, so you have a better idea of how the finished execution will function in your home.
But nobody knows what will make your heart sing better than you.
If you work one-on-one with a designer, they will seek to have that understanding as their first step. But if their recommendations aren’t resonating with you, then go your own way.
First, listen to their rationale—with an open mind. I wouldn’t suggest dissing their suggestions completely. But if they’re not quite on the mark, then make whatever tweaks you feel will make your home perfect for you.
Get a handle on the fundamental elements of interior design. Then, be brave and trust your own intuition.
The more of you that goes into your home décor, the more at home you will feel in the space. And the better your visitors will sense that too.
If you would like to bounce ideas around and get some one-off helpful hints and advice, check out the Pick my Brain service that I offer. This is available remotely so geography isn’t an issue. I also love to work with renters (being a renter myself), as I believe home ownership shouldn’t be a pre-requisite to having a home that makes our hearts sing.