I get questions all the time about what is the “right” design for a space. And although that sounds like it should be an easy answer for an interior designer, the question is not as simple as it seems. The “right” design is all about who is using the space. When designing, my designs cannot just be about what I want to see in a space. If that were the case every home or office could be designed in exactly the same manner. But as we all know not everyone can function in the same home or office as their neighbor, friend or family member. A family of four needs different things than a family of six or an empty nester. So the “right” design has to be a design based on the user of the space. So here are some questions that I ask my clients when we meet so that I can create the “right” design for them.
What is going to be the main use of the space? This is important because we need to know what kinds of furnishings, electic, water, storage etc that need to be incorporated into the space. Once we have this information we can move onto the next question.
How many people are going to be using the space? We need to know this for traffic patterns and seating. This question can lead into two other possible questions; what are the ages of the people using the space and do you plan on entertaining in this space? Now if this is an office or similar space these questions may not seem relevant. These additional questions are for more of a residential application. However, they would apply to a common space in an office building. The answers to these questions help us in furnishing the space correctly and also making sure that we are meeting proper building and health codes. For instance there may need to be wheelchair access, or child safety measures taken.
What is the lifestyle of the users of the space? This question lets us know how much use the space will get and if we need to take into account specialty products. For instance, a homeowner that always wants the windows open could have fading issues with regular fabrics and a sunbrella style fabric would suit the application better.
How do you want the space to feel? This may seem like a weird question, but it is so important. For an office we may want the space to be productive, display an image of authority, or maybe cutting edge. For a home we may want the space to be happy, relaxing, or cozy. All of these feelings require different designs.
Are there any colors that you hate? Most would think that I would want to know what the client likes first. But what the client doesn’t like tells me so much more about them. And also if all the above questions have been answered I am well on my way to knowing what the client likes.
Do you like straight lines or curves? This is a great way for my to get to know the clients style even better. Most people do not know what is contemporary, or traditional, french country verse english country, spanish mediterranean verse italian mediterranean and so on and so on. By asking a more direct question and combining the answer with previous answers I can get a better picture of the clients style.
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered to be able the create the “right” design for a client. So as you can see the answer is not so simple since the question is actually much more complex than most people think. Once I have the answers to these questions and more I can create the “right” design for my client, giving them a space that not only looks fantastic but functions properly for them.