The biggest mistake clients make – not taking risks

If you missed my previous posts in this mini series you can read about mistake 1. and mistake 2. which you might find helpful. In those two articles I discussed understanding the difference between style and trends, and how not to get confused with colour selections.

Today I’m shifting the attention to one of the most basic elements of design. TAKING RISKS. We, as human creatures, are very risk adverse. Many of us don’t like change. We like things as they are. Some of us though get bored and aspire to something beyond the normality.  As a designer I need to able to raise above my fears and just step into the unknown. To feel uncomfortable at first in order to deliver something truly special.

Currently I’m working with a client on updating her living room which she inherited from the apartment’s previous owners.  We discussed few options and I purposely and very gently led her “to see other possibilities”, which she would have never considered before by herself.  I could see making the space so interesting, different and just “wow”.  It is very common for me, when working with clients, to get the usual “I don’t like it” answer to the initial proposal. But that’s only the initial reaction, we all do and get, to something unusual. Something we are not familiar with, or something we haven’t come across or thought about before. That’s just how we are. But if we approach it with an open mind and explore the reasons why, then there is a big potential to be different.

And so with my client it’s not necessarily a massive risk we’re taking (worst case scenario we take the products back and go back to the drawing board; as I say as long as your life or health is not endangered, everything else is solvable)  but definitely we’re pushing the boundaries outside her comfort zone. And that’s what we all should be doing more. Because the only way to make a statement in our home, and put our own stamp on it, is to take risks and really express our personality from deep within.

Start exploring the opposites. Make yourself feel little bit uncomfortable. It could be bringing your favourite colour in not as accent but as bold wall paint colour which will be more dominating rather than playing the second fiddle. It also could be a pendant light which you spotted but in its bigger version. It could be a bold patterned rug, tile or unusual mirror. It could be mixing metals, colours, styles or clashing furniture. You don’t have to go completely crazy though. I see so many “trying too hard” interiors online that clearly went all crazy just for the purpose of seeking attention. I’m totally for pushing the boundaries but it still has feel right for you.

Whatever it is, start taking risks because playing it safe will never reward you as much as being brave. You’ll overcome your fears, you learn about yourself and you’ll be more confident for next time. Plus your friends will love what you did and probably they will take your idea as an inspiration for their home projects.

DESIGNER’S TIP: if you don’t know where to start, I suggest you push yourself first in kids rooms (great for colour exploration), guest /spare rooms, utility rooms, cloakrooms or hallways. Learn from those projects, gain confidence and move on to the main living spaces.


Cover photo: See more images from my home office makeover here.