There are a lot of misconceptions in this industry~ from the type of people Designers are, to the type of clients or jobs that designers will only take on. So I figured we would hash that out right here/right now to help set the record straight!
I will be the first to admit that I once thought that I couldn't be a designer because... well.. I'm me! I'm pretty much unapologetically myself... transparent and real. I try not to take myself too seriously (but y'all better believe I take my work seriously as hell), I joke around a lot, I drop my kids off at school in my "homeless chic" attire, I'm laid back, I curse a lot... I'm just pretty much the girl next door and have no qualms about it. I once thought that to be a designer I probably needed to be 'some kinda way' for people to take me seriously. Ya know... stuffy, pretentious, luxe. I too had the same misconceptions that many of you might have before I really went after it, so let's just unpack that shall we?
You know what I figured out really quickly? Me being my truest self (because let's face it, I'm not gonna pretend for anyone) immediately put my clients at ease. Turns out, they were actually a little worried I might be all of those things and they thought maybe I wouldn't want to work with them because they weren't stuffy enough. Y'alllll that couldn't have been further from the truth! When I walk into your space and you immediately know that I'm going to be a trusted friend during all of this... that I will be honest with you, that I won't judge you or your home, that I truly care and share in this experience WITH you with empathy and compassion, that I will do exactly what I say I'm going to do, I will communicate openly with you, and I will make the process FUN? People are like "Oh! Well shit then, sign me up!"
MYTHs vs FACTS about Interior Designers
MYTH: Designers are rigid, uptight, stuck up, cold, "buttoned up" or hard to deal with.
FACT: Sure, some are indeed. Obviously this industry can be a little stuffy and intimidating, but just like everything else in life, it's absolutely not true across the board! I've met some amazing people in this industry who are warm, kind, and more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise with the design community. When I walk into certain design centers and the employees are warm and welcoming, I know that I've found my vendors. When I walk in and they don't speak or even look at me... well, then I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman... "Big mistake. Big. Huge."
MYTH: Hiring an interior designer is unaffordable, a luxury, etc.
FACT: Designers truly work with all sorts of budgets, and while it's true that we do have project minimums at this point because we have to make money running a business over here, we are happy to share our ideas in advice sessions for those not quite ready to take the big leap, we offer e-design in some cases, and we share tips and tricks on our social media platforms so that literally ANYONE can make their space feel beautiful, warm, and welcoming!
MYTH: Designers just pick out furniture and play with paint colors. Why on earth do they cost that much?
FACT: No. Homeowners just pick out furniture and play with paint colors and then call me when they realize that nothing fits, nothing is cohesive, the paint looks nothing like they thought it would, and now they've spent far more money trying to fix their "design mistakes" than they would have if they'd just called me from the start! Designers are looking at the WHOLE picture. We take very detailed measurements, we listen to your needs, we create electronic renderings so that we can all see with our own eyes exactly how things will play together, we make sure that your home is both beautiful AND functional AND lies within the budget that we've determined together from the start, AND we help remove your stress during the whole process! I'd say the #1 feedback I receive (even from the once "Doubting Thomas's") is that the fees are more than worth it once they experience the whole process!
MYTH: My home is too embarrassing to ever let a designer step foot in it! I'd be mortified!
FACT: I feel like so many people I chat with during a discovery call make some sort of apology about their home before I come into it. That it's a mess, that their current furniture is all old hand-me-downs, that they've never even tried to have any sort of 'style' before now... many of you are worried that I'm going to judge you if your house doesn't already look like a magazine upon entry. I promise you, I'M NOT! If your home was already perfectly curated then I wouldn't have a job now would I? We honestly see a bit of absolutely everything, so please don't ever be shy about where you land on your design journey!
MYTH: Designers are only for people who have fancy spaces and I won't be able to let my kids in the designed rooms!
FACT: Again, those designers absolutely exist in this world. They create stunning spaces (and a lot of anxiety for people like me~ terrified I'll ruin something stepping into the space like a bull in a china shop!). There are obviously MANY different design aesthetics out there, so I suggest that you do your homework and make sure that you love the aesthetic of the designer you are aiming to hire. We are artists, after all, and no 2 artists are exactly alike. Here at Brocato Design + co, we personally believe in designing LIVABLE spaces. I'm a mom of 2 young boys. We take up every square inch of our home so there is no room and no time for rooms that we aren't allowed to go in and/or touch. Do I design for higher end clients? Absolutely! ('Livable' doesn't mean 'cheap', let's make that abundantly clear!) But I would say that if you are looking for more of that pristine/luxe/almost "museum-like" vibe where things are more on display than they are used, then I'm probably not your girl! (And that's okay because there truly are plenty of designers out there that rock that zone of expertise!). Personally, my zone of expertise is for you to have nice things AND live fully and freely in your home; to feel at ease, comfortable, and stress free when you come home to your surroundings!
MYTH: If you have a really good contractor, you don’t need a designer.
FACT: Well.... I mean, I can't say I agree with that! I'm a huge team player and I'm well aware that I sure couldn't do my job without them, but honestly we all have our lanes where we thrive! While I'm sure there are some GC's out there that are absolute unicorns (hey, hit me up if you know one or ARE one), there are plenty that just don't think like a designer... they think like a contractor (as they should!). I have joined many projects after the client already had their contractor on board, already had plans drawn up, and then I see things completely differently and have suggested modifications that the home owners were so grateful that I caught. I'm sure not all GC's love us because making modifications may add a bit more work to their plate and they want to roll their eyes, but I can say that most homeowners sure do!
If you are thinking about hiring a contractor and don't feel that you need a designer, then I would say to check out their portfolio and ask if they worked with a designer for the projects you are drawn to! If they did, find out who that designer was and go from there!
In closing, design is far more down to earth than many might think. I'm a real mom with a real life and a real house that gets messy and spilled on and dog furred... (yep, we'll just go ahead and make that one a verb). So many of you are simply overwhelmed and exhausted by life, kids, schedules, work, cooking, house keeping, and so on. You want a beautiful space to land at the end of the day (or even at the start of the day now that so many of us are working from home full time!), but just don't have the bandwidth to add even more to your list of things that are expected of you.
After almost 7 years of doing this professionally, I can confidently say that those that go through the design process with us now have a sense of pride, gratitude, relaxation, and comfort in the home they've worked so hard to enjoy! After working with a designer, you will no longer worry about what others think of your space, and can take it all in with gratitude every day as you nuzzle in to relax, and breathe a true sigh of comfort and contentment. You can be more present rather than daydreaming that "one day maybe we'll have a nice home" or falling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest.
Together we can create something beautiful all while having fun, laughing, throwing out a few curse words and taking in a few glasses of wine... also while being organized, punctual, and professional, of course!
Can I get an Amen?!