The cost of impulse buying…

March 31, 2010

I have a client who I have been working with for years.  She’s the kind of client every designer dreams of… and dreads.  Every couple of years she calls wanting to overhaul her space, she needs constant change. For some reason without fail, after a certain amount of time, she just can’t take it anymore.

The fabulous thing about a client like this is obvious, constant work.  The not so fabulous?The same impulse that has her clenching for change also leaves her impatient, spontaneous and somewhat reckless.  Not a good combination for a well planned and beautifully executed home.

Without fail, I’ll get the distress call or email that sounds something like “Help!  I was at X store and had to have this chair (the price was amazing) and didn’t realize until I got home that it doesn’t match the room.  Can we make it work?”  A designers nightmare.  It’s not that a client shouldn’t have the freedom to practice their purchasing rights, but there is a reason a designer was called in the first place.  Making something work isn’t exactly taking a blank canvas and painting the picture of your dreams.  Neither is recklessly spending money that could have gone to something you really love but instead went to getting something on the cheap that you could take home NOW.

It’s natural to have a case of the “I want it now’s”, but who wants to later deal with a case of the “What did I do’s”?

Part of a well executed design is planning and having a good sense of the big picture.  Taking into account the overall vision and then being able to ask yourself, does this item contribute to creating the look that I want?  It’s so easy to go out shopping and fall in love with a variety of different pieces, looks, wall coverings, etc.  It takes skill and restraint to stop and really think about what is being created and to then select the exact right pieces to make that look a reality.

On top of that, most people are working within a budget.  I have yet to meet that ‘dream client’ who says “here’s unlimited funds, do what you wish and call me when it’s done”.  Every time you make a spontaneous ‘in the moment’ purchase, you end up chipping away at funds that could add up to that perfect antique or piece of art that really ‘made the space’.

So next time you feel the urge to go out and buy with reckless abandon, think twice and keep your designer on speed dial.

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