The Key To Solving Interior Design Problems

There is a solution to all problems in design. That’s the first thing for you to know. The 2nd thing to know is that just about anything can be solved. Just about. And if you are willing to throw money at it absolutely everything can be solved.

I am the voice of Design Reason to my panicked clients. The cabinet they loved in the showroom is too large for the wall; the wall is too long for the sofa they wanted. The sofa they own is the wrong blue for the new chair fabric they absolutely love. The “it” fabric of all time just back ordered so the drapes won’t be done by Christmas. And to add insult to injury, the “just recently back ordered fabric” did finally ship to the drapery workroom, but it arrived damaged. All I can say is…

Everybody, calm down!

Design is a most human sport. This is not about the factory manufacture of Styrofoam cups, one after the other. This is a human driven, human executed art and business. From concept to fabrication to execution to delivery to your door. Human, human, human. The opportunity for error is everywhere present…and I haven’t even covered natural disasters like the flooding in Pakistan that wiped out more of the world-wide cotton crop than you even want to know about.

What’s the answer to solving design problems without losing your last marble and firing all of your contractors?? Follow these steps.

  1. Keep breathing. This is not cancer research. This is Design. There is no patient on the table whose life hangs in the balance. It’s a sofa. It’s a wall color. It’s a damaged piece of furniture. It will get fixed, redone, returned, resculpted, repainted, renovated…or removed.
  2. There is a solution to all things. My #1 role as a designer is not to be a #1 Designer (but thank you for thinking of that answer before I even typed it. Aren’t you sweet?). My #1 role is to solve problems. As a professional designer, one of the things that makes me so excellent at what I do is that I have keen problem solving skills and I use them probably about 80% of each work week. So give yourself a break – let your designer handle the headaches. That’s what you hired her for. Let her offer to get tough, get down, get serious and get things solved. She will shoulder the burden so you don’t have to – and you will be spared many a bruise.
  3. Weigh your ROI. A damaged piece of furniture can be repaired or returned. An incorrect delivery will be redelivered. A too small kitchen can be made to feel larger with wise design rather than knocking down walls with a budget that doesn’t exist. Nix the ulcer by telling yourself that all things can be solved. Shelve your disappointment and remember that Design solutions require savvy. As to Design snafus, remember Design is a human sport. Balls get dropped, fumbled, even lost in mid air. But they are always retrieved and remedied, especially with a talented designer advocating for you.

Everything can be fixed. OK, so you changed your mind after you lived with a window treatment for a year? Not an ideal situation on your part, but rest assured that you can have it recut, redesigned, redone. For a fee. Of course. But just remember that everything can be fixed if you’re willing to throw money at it. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and dish out the dough. The bedroom furniture you bought 30 years ago looks dated? You outgrew the dining room hutch you once thought you “must have?” The dishwasher leaked on the new wood floor and warped a couple of boards. Buck up and spend the bucks to get it fixed so you can move on to other more important problems like solving world hunger. Things happen. It’s only design.

The rub comes when you are rigid. You don’t want to wait. You don’t want to have to buy a new “xyz” because you no longer like the one you picked out when you were 30. Sure these are tough choices. But name an adult choice that does not come with consequences. Design is a rose bush…beautiful, fragrant, not to be believed when it’s in its glory, but oh by the way…watch out for the thorns.

The path to solving those design problems and snafus may sometimes feel like a huge pain in the fabric bolt, but hold onto the mantra that “there is a solution to all design problems” and you will surely find your way back to Kansas, my Dorothy. Hire a pro so you are immediately spared the numerous mistakes made by DIY design errors. Hire a pro so they can insulate you from the “its and bits” of the design problems that are fairly routine. Hire a pro and let their shoulders carry the burden so yours don’t have to.