5 Living Room Questions Interior Designers are Sick of Answering

published Jun 1, 2019
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Credit: Julia Steele

As seasoned veterans, it’s safe to say that interior designers have pretty much seen it all. They’ve played mediator as couples fought over paint samples. They’ve been eye to eye with mold and wood-eating insects mid-redecoration project. And they’ve turned horrid houses into interior design wonders.

But even after all of that, there are still a few things that grind their gears. For example, the questions some clients ask when redecorating their living rooms. Look, interior designers are professionals and more than happy to answer your questions, but there are a few they really wish we would all stop asking.

When we asked two interior designers about their least favorite questions pertaining to living room designs, they were quick to share some scenarios that even we find incredibly frustrating. Do yourself—and your designer—a favor and review the questions below before you begin redecorating your living room. But really, they can apply to any room:

1. “Why Should I Spend So Much on This?”

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s very unlikely you’re going to buy a living room sofa for $20. Even with the direct-to-consumer business that offer fair, affordable prices, you won’t find furniture under a couple hundred dollars.

“When people ask this, I just want to tell them that well-designed and quality furniture costs money,” says Alessandra Wood, interior design expert and vice president of style at Modsy. “It’s hard not to offend people when you’re talking about money though! If you’re not investing in the pieces you use everyday, you’re just contributing to our throw-away culture.”

But, as Wood points out, it is possible to buy furniture at a fair, affordable price.

“If you’re trying to save a bit of money, buy second-hand or vintage instead of purchasing something you plan on throwing away when you move,” she adds.

2. “Do You Know How to Do Your Job?”

You know that fuming sensation you get when someone at work (who’s in an entirely different department) thinks they can do your job better than you? It’s really annoying, right? Yeah, interior designers experience that, too.

“My goal with each project is to create a space that is intentional, functional, and beautiful, so I hate when clients ask me something that implies they don’t think I know how to do my job,” says Jade Joyner, co-founder and principal designer at Metal + Petal. “With almost two decades of experience, I promise I will not lead my clients astray.”

Instead, trust your interior designer—they know what they’re doing!

3. “Can I Only Have Some Of The Design?”

You wouldn’t order one shoe or salad dressing and no lettuce, so why ask for half a look?

“I really don’t like it when clients ask if they can only do ‘some’ of the design and not all of it,” Joyner says.

If you want to scale back on your home’s aesthetic for financial reasons, your designer is sure to have some budget-friendly suggestions. But if you can’t handle too much of the look, understand that what you see is what you get.

“Yes, you can do some of the work or implement some of the design, but it will look half done,” she explains. “And a half finished room is a half finished room.”

4. “How Can I Make My Space Feel Light and Airy?”

If we’re being honest, “light and airy” is one of the most overused phrases in the interior design game—hey, we’re definitely guilty of using it, too! However, it feels like everyone wants a space that’s light, airy, and relaxing. What’s the alternative? Dark and cluttered? Hard pass.

“Usually, the people who ask this have spaces that are overcrowded and filled with dark furniture,” Wood shares.

And while recreating Nancy Meyer’s aesthetic may require some strategy and planning, light and airy vibes aren’t as hard to get as you’d think.

“Step one in creating a light and airy space is edit what you have,” she explains. “Step two comes from color choices in paint and furniture. Opt for cooler, light-colored tones.”

5. “Do You Do The Joanna Gaines Style?”

Make no mistake, we love Fixer Upper as much as the next person; however, interior design is not a one-size-fits-all situation. And if we’re being totally honest, interior design was a thing long before the HGTV show hit it big.

“While I love farmhouse style and all that Joanna has done, I don’t do her style,” Joyner says. “I design homes and spaces for people that work for them in a style that elevates the way they live. No two designers are alike!”

Instead of asking an interior designer if they can recreate someone else’s style, share your overall vision and ask how they can help you achieve your decor goals.