Fact: the problem with decorators is that we make decorating look so easy and fun, that everyone thinks they can do it. The serious implications of this misapprehension are something I’ll explore another time, but for now: ‘You hired a decorator? My house looks nice, I buy great furniture, I can decorate, right?’ DEAD WRONG!
A trained family lawyer and former university teacher, analysis is still at the heart of everything I do. And so, in such a creative, subjective field, I have examined the question of what makes a good decorator? What is the most important skill a decorator brings to the table to lead a project to success? What is the difference between a decorator and a home owner with good taste?
The answer is vision.
And by vision I don’t mean producing 3d renders, technical drawings or computer-generated concept boards. Not at all. That’s just sticking with the times.
Vision as it relates to decorating has to do with the good ol’-fashioned ability to envision a space with all its challenges and opportunities from the get-go. A decorator must be able to assimilate the architecture of a space and its location, incorporate the client’s existing furniture (because let’s face it: most clients don’t throw everything they have out the window and redecorate from zero), imagine specific brand-new pieces, and infuse the design with meaning and relevance to the client. And all of this, before we even get started.
You may be great at generating renders, but if your furniture choices are horrible, you’re out. You may be great at copying what you see on social media, but if you hand in a Malibu style home on ski slopes of Switzerland, no offense but you’re out. You may be able to produce an amazing furniture concepts for your client, sorry to burst your bubble, but anyone can do that with no budget constraints or existing furniture to match, the real skill lies in integrating that less than desirable sofa in the design and making it look seamless. You may tick all the boxes and produce a stunning room, but if that design doesn’t remind the client of the good times, inspire them in any way, or have some relevance to their story… well let’s call you an amazing home stager.
As you can see, the success of a decorator should not be measured by the beauty of their finished rooms as that is a highly subjective concept and we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Instead, the success of a decorator lies in their vision to pull all the dreams and challenges into a design and produce something that’s not only beautiful but most importantly, relevant.
We've all heard the saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words.'
So to put it simply, a decorator should be able to see this:
But three months prior, when he/she walks into the space and actually sees this::
Easy? Well I'll let you be the judge of that.