Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Importance of Quality Curtains

The Importance of Quality Curtains

I know I go on and on about this topic, but it is one of those pet hates - cheap and nasty curtains. They really bring down a good design. It is the finishing touches of interior design or decoration that people notice, no matter how much detail you put into space planning and architectural features they get left behind when you see poor curtain selection at the windows. Let's face it, most homes today have a lot of windows and they are expensive to drape, but please resist the temptation to buy that cheap fabric on sale at the local fabric store and then not use enough at each window and forget to line them, so all you have is a piece of mediocre fabric hanging beside the window limply with no fullness, no length and no design presence.

The curtain tracks or rods are also important. You need to make sure you spend a little bit extra on the curtain rod or track length so that you can have stack backs (space to either side of the windows for the curtains to sit). You have paid for big windows, so don't cover them up, stack the curtains off the window and let the light in and see the view out.

Short curtains - I cannot stress enough, if you are having full length curtains, then this means that they should go all the way to the floor, allowing a tolerance of 10 mm (1 cm) for ease of movement, or if you want them to puddle add a minimum of 100mm or 10 cm to the length. Do not leave your curtains with daylight showing through the bottom, it looks like you have taken the curtains to the dry cleaner and they have shrunk! It is not a good look and will ruin all your hard work.

I will leave it there as I can become rather boring when I go on about this topic, but I went to visit a house that was for sale yesterday and I couldn't get past the poor quality curtains, I couldn't look past this because it really annoyed me. First impressions count, and when people view your design you want them to look further into your design and decorating work and appreciate your hard work and dedication for perfection.

Happy decorating and if you want to read more about this topic you can find information on the following below and don;t forget if you really want to upskill your curtain and drapery design knowledge, we have a free ecourse for you here.

Short curtains Take a look at some examples of short curtains here with my design critique of them.

Curtain Fullness and Heading Get more information on curtain fullness and headings

Curtain linings Learn more about curtain linings

Curtain photos Get ideas about curtain design from photographs

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to Walk Your Client

How to Walk Your Client

I hear you say - "what?"

I know it sounds weird but I am quite serious.

You need to learn to walk your client through the design process. This means starting from scratch as if they a complete design virgins. And like life, they will never tell you if they know nothing about design as they won't want to look inadequate in your eyes.

Let's face it, the reason the client employs an interior designer is so that they can get a good end result achieved from a professional, but as you are well aware, you need considerable input from your client to make their project succeed.

Therefore you need to guide them, step by step into how that is achieved.

I was reminded of this when I had a client recently, who on the outside appeared in control and knew what she was talking about as she and her husband had recently had their home decorated I presumed she did. I was in a hurry as working with a newborn baby, time is precious, so I leapt straight in thinking she knew the process. When I started going over my design, I realized that the questions she was asking me were suspicious! Questions like "how do your other client's make their color decisions?", "how many choices do I get?", "how do we know which colors can go in each room, do bathrooms have to be white?". I suddenly thought that this was all new to her and she felt out of her depth, but didn't want to admit it. I felt awful of course, because if the client can't be open with their designer, how can you possibly get a good result? I had not followed my own rules. How did I fix this, you ask?
I quietly turned the conversation around to how a project goes together and discussed her needs and expectations as a client of the designer, the process of how a design goes together and what information I would give her to help us finalize color choice decisions together. It was amazing, all of a sudden she came out of her shell and we finished choosing all her colors in a matter of minutes, with quick and fast questions from her, answers back from me and then she could decide on what she liked without worrying if she was going to make a mistake. A mistake? This is not how a client should feel - being in fear of making a mistake; they should feel comfortable with you as a designer, they should be able to say, I don't like that color or finish and move on feeling happy with their decisions.

We have to remember that as designers we do this every day, our clients will only do this once in a while and it is usually involves a large financial cost, so they are really worried about making mistakes in their choices and having to live with them everyday.

At the end of our meeting, she said she was so happy to be able to work with someone who involved her and listened and made the decision making easy for her, she didn't have to think about making mistakes, because all the answers to her questions made her feel comfortable with what she had chosen. She was relieved, and I must admit, so was I. It was a good reminder for me to follow my own design process and explain it to the client, even when I think that the client has done it all before.

I hope you can learn from my mistakes and make all your client experiences good ones!

Further reading on design processes

The design process (downloadable)

The design process (online)
The key to a successful design

An just for fun - if you are thinking about color schemes - why not sign up for the free color ecourse here and get your color skills a step ahead of your competition!

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