Monique Valeris is the founder of Decor Musings, which houses roundups of the most stylish home products out now, highlights of her flea market shopping adventures, interviews with interior design experts, and tons more. Happy decorating!
I landed my very first decorating client a few weeks ago. Of course, I couldn't have been happier to hear the news, but at the same time, I was somewhat (OK more than somewhat) nervous because this is all new territory for me. It made me think of a few pointers, which may be helpful for some of you in the same position:
1. Be prepared. Before meeting with your client, try reading up on his or her background to get a sense of their personality and lifestyle. You should've already spoken about the project at hand before meeting face to face, so take some time to think about different decorating themes the person may like and even some of the sources you may use for shopping. It's always a good idea to brainstorm beforehand to maintain your creativity level.
2. Professionalism goes a long way. The hardest part was scoring the meeting, but the work doesn't stop there. You need to deliver. By deliver I mean being punctual (so very important), well dressed and showing up to your appointment with a ton of ideas for possible design schemes that may work for the client. You also need to be able to clearly convey your overall approach to decorating, which you should've even already discussed prior to this meeting. It's the reason why you were hired in the first place.
3. Ask all the right questions. This is the time to find out absolutely everything you need to know about this person's lifestyle: what they like and don't like about their current set-up, the kind of pets they have, how they use the space on a daily basis, a description of their decorating style, the budget you'll be working with, etc.
4. Listen, listen, listen. It's crucial to listen closely while your client is explaining their needs. The worst thing would be to misinterpret what was said, so to help avoid any mistakes, consider taking notes during the conversation as a backup.
5. Set clear expectations. Be clear on everything from money matters to the decorating schedule. The key is keeping the line of communication wide open so that all involved aren't faced with any big surprises during the decorating process that could prevent it from running smoothly.