3 Things We Hate in the Interior Design Industry


Irwin Weiner ASID - If you've followed our Design2Share videos in the past, you know that we have our own "pet hates" about the design industry. Our Worst Home Design Mistakes video has garnered many thousands of views because people are naturally drawn to worst dressed lists and other industry rants. By and large, we try to stay on a positive, upbeat path, but here are three aspects of the interior design industry that I can't stand ... and I'm not going to take them sitting down any more!

1. Home Goods Shipped in Flimsy Packaging

More designers and their clients are turning to online decorating resources and having merchandise shipped to their homes or job sites. Why do some companies fail to understand that merchandise is fragile and should be well packaged so home goods arrive unscratched, unbroken, unmarred, unbent, and ready to use? I've had mirrors packaged in flimsy cardboard boxes; they arrive with the broken contents tinkling around inside the container. Not acceptable! Advice: Be sure you do not accept any merchandise delivery until you open it up and carefully inspect all items. Do not sign for or accept something that is damaged. Have it sent back and work with your designer to get a free replacement rush shipped in proper packaging - a crate if they have to in order to ensure a better condition upon arrival.

2. TV Home Makeover Shows that Distort Expectations

Here's one of my biggest gripes: you have a $2,000 budget and 24 hours and you'll get an entire room redecorated to the nth degree. This is the promise of many so-called reality home decorating makeover shows on TV. The reality is that the homeowner and the show staff are working like dogs to make something that looks fine for the television camera. In real life, the results are too flimsy to last and too awful to live with day in and day out. I remember the worst of these was a den makeover where the designer had the homeowners spread glue over the walls and attach pieces of hay from bales she brought into the room. The reveal of the done-over room served the designer right. The reaction was appalled anger for putting up such a terrible wallcovering ... and one that their toddlers could tear off the wall and put into their mouths. Advice: Make a realistic room remodeling budget that covers high-quality, eco-friendly products - from low- or no-VOC paints to great flooring. Set aside enough time to get the job done right, either by you and your partner trying your best in a do-it-yourself kick or by hiring pros to help you achieve a great end result. Don't let any TV show persuade you that decorating is a cheap, overnight thrill. Dream on.

3. Designers and Clients Who Don't Express Gratitude

I'm a stickler for civil behavior, and our society could stand to become more genteel. It's important for both interior designers and their clients to establish a thankful rapport. Your client pays you on time ... thank you! You go out of your way to deliver something to your client ... thank you! Eventually the give-and-take of thankfulness will infuse the working relationship with civility and enjoyment - but too often I see designers being treated like slave labor or see designers who don't have gratitude or respect for their clients. Advice: If we can all agree on two basic premises, the industry will become much less toxic. (a) If you hire an interior designer, you need to appreciate their training, experience, and good taste. If you think it's fun to make extra demands and treat all service people like second-class citizens instead of how you'd treat your doctor or lawyer, reconsider hiring a design pro. (b) If you take on a new client, you need to appreciate that they're trusting you to do your best - no matter what their taste level, budget, or style preferences. Show more gratitude and less attitude; there are plenty of designers in the sea, and you could well be thrown overboard if you don't change your ways.