InteriorCrowd Design Guides
Useful insights from experienced designers to help guide your career in interior design.
Tips for sourcing the right products for your client
InteriorCrowd, as an online platform, is clearly a different model to traditional interior design. You probably aren’t going to be at your client’s home when the items you have picked are delivered to their home. So, when choosing retail items online for a client to purchase, it becomes even more important to know which vendors and items will suit your client’s needs.
We asked Jolene Lindner, owner of JL Interior Designs and InteriorCrowd’s Lead Designer, what she wished she’d known about product sourcing for clients when she first started out.
She has created a few guidelines for internet-based (or really any) interior design:
- It is best to search companies that you are familiar with, so that you have an answer when your clients ask the inevitable questions:
- Can I view this product in-person?
- How do I know this chair is comfortable, where can I go to sit in it?
- This table is on a pedestal, does it tip easily if a person puts weight on one side?
- Does the fabric look the same in-person as it does online?
Things to keep in mind while sourcing:
Client’s height and mobility/age, particularly when it comes to seating. A tall person (someone over 5’10”) will have a longer femur and will need a deeper seat and likely prefer a taller seat. As we age, seat heights should be higher, as it tends to be harder to sit on and get out of a lower seat.
- Your client’s projected timeline in their space. A family that is going to remain in their home for a long time will be willing to make more permanent decisions and do more work to their home than a young renter who only plans to stay in his/her apartment for 5 years or less.
- Not all doorways are 36″Wx6’8″H. Consider the path of travel and dimensions of hallways and doorways a piece of furniture will need to pass through in order to get into the room. Ask ahead of time if there are any tight corners or narrow hallways or if there is an elevator that must be used.
- “Do I go custom or retail?” If your client has tricky spaces that a retail solution will not solve, a custom solution may be the only route. Work with your local furniture makers, refinishers and fabric work rooms to establish an initial relationship. See what they do best, and check out examples of their craftsmanship. That way, if your clients are nervous about the price tag on custom furniture, you can bring them into the work rooms and they can see how much effort and time are going into their individual piece of furniture.
- Each piece of furniture/lighting involves many people – from transit of the initial parts to the delivery of the finished product, errors are occasionally made. Accidents and dings happen, pieces arrive damaged. When issues do arise, remain calm. Listen to the client and see how you can work to a positive solution. Your clients should understand that just because they are working with a designer does not mean that these errors go away. As much as we would like to, designers can’t control the entire process from start to finish.
If you have specific issues you’d like covered in our Design Guides, please contact us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you.