Client Relations

Who is your client? If you're a decorator, it's the person who is paying the bills. If you're working on your own home, it's you and your family. Either way, an unhappy client makes for a bad day. See how top designers handle their client relations to cultivate a successful outcome.

A decorator, no matter how talented, can't always get the desired results because sometimes there is resistance or maybe a lack of understanding on the part of the client. I think it is the decorator's job to work as a guide, to bring out the best qualities and the best attitudes.
Albert Hadley, The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer

Antiques can be like an old overcoat that tells you about its life. When clients move into a new house, they must feel as comfortable in their rooms as when they put on an old overcoat.
Robert Kime, Architectural Digest

Decorators should always remember that lettering a client see too many beautiful things is a pitfall.
Albert Hadley, The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer

Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect, loved possessions add personality.
Billy Baldwin

I have always believed that the more educated the clients are, the easier they are to work with. Clients with a knowledge of decorating, and an ability to articulate what they want from the finished project, make the designer's job easier.
Albert Hadley, The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer

It is to the client's advantage and also the architect's, to have a trained and experienced decorator with both technical knowledge and an understanding of interior architectural detail so as to be able to assemble intelligently the proper textures, colors, furniture and objects to make a consistent room. If all these things are taken into consideration in the original planning...a great many difficulties can be anticipated.
Eleanor McMillen Brown, Interior Architecture and Decoration

Maybe I work out my needs for change on my clients. I'm perfectly hapy with what I have. It functions and it's very pretty.
Eleanor McMillen Brown, Creating a Beautiful Home by Alexandra Stoddard

Never adopt a particular style and peddle it as your own. Always be personal, always be flexible. Many decorators fall into a trap, and when they finally want to do something a little different, they find they cannot because their clients have stereotyped them.
Billy Baldwin, Ruby Ross Wood

One of the greatest things about working for yourself is that you can work without interference. I firmly believe that the initial instinct is the best in design, and when you make changes to accommodate a client, you may be weakening the concept.
Robert Kime, Architectural Digest

The combination of an individual[i.e., a client] with a positive idea of living and a good designer is the great force in contemporary decoration. I don't care how good the designer is, I am sure that he [or she] would rahter have a person with definite ideas rahter than have to work with a negative figure as a client.
Van Day Truex, Interiors

The one thing I never get involved with is selecting art or pictures for a client. This is a very personal thing. If the clients have pictures, I will hang them. When they do not own pictures I leave the walls blank.
Albert Hadley, The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer

The real challenge is trying to filter the clients' needs, wants, and fantasies through your professional sensibility. At Repertoire, we jokingly call it "channeling."
Cindy Coleman, Interior Design

While I like the things that I own, I don't have anything that I could not live without. I am constantly moving things around, passing them on to friends - a sort of sharing- and when it is appropriate, using things I own in decorating schemes. When I use something that I have owned for many years in a project for a client, I don't think of it as getting rid of something. For me, it is like keeping things in the family.
Albert Hadley, The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer

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