Interior design is a big business, and one that has grown in popularity over the years. As our lives have become busier, our free time is rationed and more of us are interested in creating the perfect home environment, ready for rare moments of ‘me time.’
But being busy doesn’t lend itself to creativity in the home, especially if that isn’t where our passions lie – which is where, more and more, the need for an interior designer comes in. Below, we share insights from respected industry figures, regarding the type of customer they believe likely to commission an interior designer, and the ways in which these customers are most likely to buy.
“When it comes to who is most likely to commission an interior designer, I can’t honestly profile the typical customer…frankly I can never second guess who is going to ask me to design their home, that’s half the fun. They all have one thing in common, however. My clients value having a home that is, of course, comfortable and practical, but also one that tells a story about them. I have had young clients whose only request is to look cool, and newly retired who are downsizing and want to start again with a freshly designed home. At present I am also working for a princess, designing a rather grand home which exudes the glamour that we all dream to have one day – it really does take all sorts.
In terms of how clients find an interior designer, personally I find my work arrives mainly as a recommendation from a previous commission, discretely, just like a gentleman passing on the name of his tailor to another.”
- Daniel Hopwood, Daniel Hopwood
SEEKING EFFICIENCY AND HARMONY
“The type of customer interested in interior design services really depends on which side of the coin they’re on – residential, or commercial. For residential clients, we’ve found there are two key markets – those seeking efficiency, and those seeking harmony.
Those seeking efficiency often want to rearrange existing space in the most efficient way, and they request a specific designer’s knowledge and experience in doing so. It could be anything from trying to squeeze in a shower room, to designing a loft conversion. Quite often we meet clients who would like to rearrange the ground floor of a traditional Victorian house, for example, as more traditional layouts don’t always fit the modern family lifestyle!
Those seeking harmony, however, often appreciate design the most. They usually have personal experience in redecorating/refurbishing, and know how much work and knowledge it requires. They know how difficult it is to create a perfect combination of materials, colours, textures and shapes in order to create a comfortable and harmonious space. They are usually in their 40s and 50s, successful in their careers, and busy with family, work and life.
When it comes to commercial, all type of businesses use interior design services nowadays. Design matters everywhere: comfortable and relaxing restaurants, motivating and inspiring work spaces, welcoming and chic receptions, stimulating retail, respectable and collaborating offices. Going to work or entertain we expect good design as a part of service, like friendly and helpful staff. Experience of good food will be easily spoiled by uncomfortable chairs or harsh lighting, for example. Clients tend to trust professional services more when they can visit an office which not only provides basic facilities, but tells the story of a company and the people working there. Younger generations of business owners really understand this – most of our commercial clients are in their 30s and 40s, and are ready to invest in good design, even adapting it regularly to keep things fresh.
Although nowadays there are a few online interior design platforms that can provide fast services such as space planning and moodboarding, we personally think that our industry is bespoke, and every client and space is different – getting to know the client, their habits and routines, their business and aims is essential for a project success.”
- Anna Romanenko, Barbarella
FAMILY FOREVER HOMES AND WORKING PROFESSIONALS
“Generally speaking, the kind of people who are likely to commission projects from our studio, personally, are couples with young families, and busy professionals with high incomes.
With family homes, often people take on a major renovation to create their “forever” home. They tend to commission services when they become overwhelmed by the scale of the project. In most cases they have an idea of how they would like their house to look, but need a steering hand to bring it together and make it happen. They often have lots of ideas and are unsure how to filter and shape them. They like to remain very involved and do some elements of sourcing themselves.
With busy working professionals, it’s usually the case that they simply don’t have the time to focus on a project, but have a clear idea of what they would like. They also like to create homes that impress friends and family, and tend to look for a full interior design service where all the stress is taken away from them. These people tend to be less hands on, and happy for the designer to do all the sourcing!
Projects tend to come through word of mouth recommendations. The website is a tool for potential clients to see what kind of signature style you have. Sometimes people find you online through Google searches according to a region or a style. No matter how you’re found, though, most clients will require a bespoke approach.”
- Lisa Bradburn, Lisa Bradburn
SAVVY AND STYLISH
“Clients most likely to commission design services are often taking on large projects such as new builds or extensions, and just as they would hire an architect and builder, they bring an interior designer in to work with them from the early stages to create the optimum end result. On larger projects this also means they get excellent value from their designer in terms of trade prices and industry contacts, as well as avoiding costly delays with good planning.
Others may simply need help in priority areas such as reception rooms or master bedrooms, where they want to do something that creates more of an impression or a feeling of luxury, without taking on the whole house. This can help with phasing budgets or minimising disruption from decorative works.
As there is now access to design inspiration across magazines, online and particularly social media, clients are more savvy than ever and often know the style or look that they are after before they hire a designer, which helps steer the project from the start and makes it more personal to them, which is important.
In my experience, clients will usually research designers in their area, alongside browsing online platforms such as Houzz or Pinterest to find inspiration and establish the sort of style they are looking for. This in turn will dictate the designer they choose to approach, as there are so many different design services available, for example some work with more classic looks, others contemporary or mid century.”
- Emma Hooton, Emma Hooton