I hate helping you decorate.
Not ALL of you. Just some of you. I love decorating, and I enjoy working on my own place and on the homes of friends who are easy to deal with, but most of the time "helping" other people with their houses is a big fat pain in the bum.
Ya, I said it.
I don't know how real designers and decorators do it. I really don't. Because "clients" kind of suck. Not all of the time, but some of the time. Most of the time when you're me.
Here's how my decorating woes usually play out.
1. Someone sees my apartment (in real life, on the blog, on Facebook, wherever). And they love it. (Yay!) Said someone gets in touch immediately to ask for "help" with their home. Help means "I'm not going to pay you, but don't worry, this will be fun and easy!"
2. I'm nice, so I say "Okay, I will help you." I do this out of the goodness of my heart, because as stated, I am nice. And also because I have trouble saying no.
3. I ask a few simple questions such as "What rooms were you hoping to work on? What were you hoping to change? Can you tell me a bit more about what you like and don't like? Do you have a budget in mind?" Sometimes, I even send people to my Pinterest boards, telling them to pull the pictures they like and point out the ones they don't like. This will help, I say.
Never heard of Design*Sponge? That's because you know nothing. You should defer to me.
4. Nothing happens for weeks because no one ever seems to want to answer these simple questions. A month later, said someone gets in touch again. "Want to go to IKEA with me and my eight screaming children!? I need your heeeeeellllp!"
5. Again, I agree. Because I said I would help and this appears to be the help you want. Off to IKEA (or Home Sense, or Home Depot, or Structube, or whereEVER we go). Said someone brings his/her partner, pets and children. Chaos ensues. It's like herding cats.
6. As a group, we manage to buy one major item (a sofa, a rug, a chair, a dining set). Said someone doesn't want to pay for shipping, so we move these items ourselves. And when I say ourselves, I mean "myself" along with a grumpy husband who hasn't worked out in awhile. We haul the new item home.
7. Back at someone's house, chaos resumes. It's now 8 p.m. and the kids are up past their bedtime, so will I come back another day to help unwrap and place the new piece(s)? Of course I will!
8. When I come back, the new piece is exactly where I left it. I proceed to haul it into place, and unwrap it by hand, with no help from the out-of-shape husband, who didn't want to redecorate in the first place. Said someone realizes she doesn't like the new item. It doesn't work. It has to go back.
9. I talk the crazy person down from the ledge, and calmly explain that the new item isn't working because the room in question hasn't been cleaned since the dark ages, and every surface in it is covered with toys and/or papers. Someone continues to panic. I end up cleaning her house in order to show her that we don't, in fact, have to return anything.
Alas, unless I want to return a sofa, it's necessary to prove my point.
10. Three weeks later, the house is again in shambles and the out-of-shape husband thinks the new sofa was a mistake. Someone calls me back. We need to finish the decorating! Can I help?
11. I ask again, "what else did you want to do? Do you have a budget in mind? What doesn't he like about the sofa?" Etc. Responses are not forthcoming. Return to step #4, above.
This is a "salon wall" from House & Home in 2009 by Michael Penney, shot by Stacey Brandford.
If you don't like it, that's cool. If you say it's "gross" or "crazy" I might have to punch you in the face.
This process makes me want to kill myself. Seriously, people, how do you do it? How do you deal with decorating clients who have no concept of how much time things take or how much furniture actually costs? How do you deal with lunatics who want you to pick out the colours for their home, only to hate everything you choose? How do you deal with people who want your help, but refuse to take a suggestion until you PROVE they're going to like it? How do you deal with people who have no vocabulary, vision, or insight into the decorating process, but very (VERY) strong opinions? HOW?
HOW, I ASK YOU!?
Thank the good lord and baby jebus I'm not a real designer/decorator. Now I just need to learn to say no to the freeloaders and I'll be all set.