trade tales | Jun 17, 2022 |
What’s your biggest client pet peeve?

Every designer has at least one thing that drives them up the wall, and in this industry, there is no shortage of ways for clients to get under your skin. We asked 10 industry pros—Sandra Asdourian, Leia T. Ward, Georgia Zikas, Bupe Soneka, Amy Leferink, Nicole Fisher, Susan Hayward, Sam Tannehill, Malka Helft and Catherine Staples—to share their biggest client pet peeve.

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Sandra AsdourianCourtesy of Sandra Asdourian Interiors

What Dreams Are Made Of

“When a client will not disclose their actual budget for the project. When starting with a new client, we have an extensive questionnaire we ask them to fill out—it’s about 50 questions. It helps pinpoint our client’s design style, must-haves, needs, and color and texture preferences. Most clients don’t reveal an accurate budget, though. They consistently lowball it or say they don’t know. So when we meet and discuss the scope of work, I walk them through the cost of everything on their wish list. It’s enlightening to see the price of their dream design.” —Sandra Asdourian, Sandra Asdourian Interiors, Naples, Florida

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Leia T. WardCourtesy of LTW Design


“My pet peeve is when the clients love their project presentation, approve all furnishings and then go onto Pinterest and start spiraling, second-guessing their decisions.” —Leia T. Ward, LTW Design, New Canaan, Connecticut

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Georgia ZikasCourtesy of Georgia Zikas Design

OK, Boomerang-ers

“It really bothers me when a client hesitates and doesn’t trust our team’s selection process. Oftentimes, we will suggest a solution to a design challenge, and the client may question it, which requires either additional selections or further troubleshooting—only for us to come back to our original suggestion.” —Georgia Zikas, Georgia Zikas Design, West Hartford, Connecticut

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Bupe SonekaCourtesy of Mael Interiors

Neat & Tidy

“Too much clutter! Often, less is more. Rooms look much more put together when they are styled with fewer accessories. The first thing to do when you’re trying to make a space feel open and bigger is declutter. Using creative storage ideas will free up space and curb clutter.” —Bupe Soneka, Mael Interiors, Manchester, England

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Amy LeferinkCourtesy of Interior Impressions

Full Disclosure

“It’s when a client holds back on giving us the information about what they really want, what they like and dislike and their comfort level with budget. Sometimes clients are afraid to tell us their true feelings because they don’t want to be judged, or they purposely hold back because they don’t trust us yet. The problem with that is then it becomes more difficult to really understand what our clients want. If they won’t tell us the budget, for example, we have no idea what their expectations are with pricing on their finishes and furnishings. Being transparent will save time, money and prevent unnecessary frustrations.” —Amy Leferink, Interior Impressions, Woodbury, Minnesota

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Nicole FisherCourtesy of BNR Interiors

Trust the Process

“A client that can’t think outside the box. Designers are hired for a reason, and a client should only go into this process with trust in mind. Some of my clients start out with very strong ideas of what they like, but I feel it’s my job to make sense of those ideas and put them together in a cohesive and visually appealing way. I know it’s a big leap, but I always tell clients to trust the process.” —Nicole Fisher, BNR Interiors, Hudson, New York

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Susan HaywardCourtesy of Susan Hayward Interiors

Going Rogue

“One of my biggest client pet peeves is when they go rogue. We take great care in the beginning phases of a job to really get a feel for the look our clients are going for. We ask for Pinterest boards, Houzz Ideabooks, photos, magazine pictures—anything to help us understand the client’s overall vision. Then, as we begin preparing our inspiration boards, we receive more links to products from clients with notes asking, ‘Do you think this would go?’ ‘Should we get this lamp?’ ‘How about these sofas?’ I know they mean well, but at that point all it does is slow down our process because we have to stop and explain why something will or won’t work.” —Susan Hayward, Susan Hayward Interiors, Milton, Massachusetts

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Sam TannehillCourtesy of Sam Tannehill Designs

Getting Shopped

“Our job is to help you source material and really condense the options that are out there to a very select few that align with the design goal in mind. When clients start searching for products on their own, it creates more work and takes more of our time.” —Sam Tannehill, Sam Tannehill Designs, New York

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Malka HelftCourtesy of Think Chic Interiors

Wandering Eyes

“My biggest pet peeve with clients is excessive use of Instagram and Pinterest. Why hire a professional to design a space for you if you plan on copying someone else’s work? It defeats the purpose of bringing on a designer to bring your vision to life.” —Malka Helft, Think Chic Interiors, Westchester, New York

What’s your biggest client pet peeve?
Catherine StaplesCourtesy of Aspen & Ivy

Honesty Hour

“When clients don’t give complete, thoughtful feedback during the [initial] design process, changes may arise later that hinder the timeline. Also, when clients make changes with the builder and don’t loop us in, it can affect other design details that they might not think about.” —Catherine Staples, Aspen & Ivy, Toronto

Homepage image: Inside Leferink’s West Lakeland, Minnesota home | Mackenzie Merrill Photography

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