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The Psychology of Interior Design

Delving into the mind of your Interior Design client

The Psychology of Interior Design
Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

Interior Designers are therapists, personal assistants, and magicians. It is our job to anticipate the needs of the client, and execute it most fantastically. Every idea must be daring, fresh, and awe-inspiring. You must be able to use your cunning intellect to sway your client from their choice of Beige to going with Cashmere instead. You should also develop your intuition skills; to be able to take the emotional temperature of every person you come in contact with.

These are tools that require a highly developed sense of perception. Are you ready?!

Everybody Loves a Compliment

When I was working at a fine furnishing store in Connecticut, We spent our day's schmoozing UPs. This was a person who walked in off of the street without a design appointment; it was thrilling because depending on your opening statement, you could go from them blazing past you citing "I'm just looking" to furnishing their entire 5-room home, their neighbor's beach house, and their grandson's apartment off-campus!

Me: My goodness, I love that scarf!

Up: Thank you! My grandson got it for me...just because.

Me: Aww, That's lovely, I always give my grandma just-because gifts!

Up: You're a great grand-daughter!

Me: Thank you I try! Were you looking for anything in particular today?

Up: YES! I need...

The conversation is now flowing freely, you have complimented this person and shared a small personal detail which allowed them to let their guard down.


Always Have a Friend

Some time has passed. You've been to the client's home, assessed their space and now you are in the design stage of their family room. Your client is perplexed at an antique cabinet that fills the entirety of their wall. It doesn't fit in with their new design aesthetic yet they want to "make it work" in the space to stay on budget.

Me: I have a friend who owns a few consignment shops, we could sell that piece and put the money towards the custom built-in you want.

Client: You can do that?

Me: Mm-hmm

Client: Great!

This is not a service you and the client previously discussed, but having contacts in adjacent industries enables you to navigate unprecedented design quandaries.

Just Be There

During a site visit, your client has a blowout with their spouse over a lighting fixture. They storm off to their separate corners, and you can hear the client weeping silently to themselves. This of course is not apart of your job description, and it is not pretty. If you are comfortable enough, be present, ask if they would like some water, or offer them a handkerchief. It's the human thing to do.

Me: Hi, Can I get you some water, tea, or anything?

Client: No, I'm fine.

Me: Ok, well. Here. Take my handkerchief, let me know if you need anything.

Client: Thank you.

Always lend a hand when you can because even the smallest gesture can make a world of difference.

Throughout the year that I studied in Connecticut, I came to learn about people's love lives, their pets, their families, all the very real things that take up real estate in a person's mind, and consume their thoughts, sways their emotions, and contributes to their spending habits; the things that have nothing to do with whether they prefer a leather or velvet lounge.

An Interior Designer must develop people skills, and it has to be genuine.

Like a said, an Interior Designer is a magician, personal assistant, and sometimes, even a therapist. Tell me about a time in your life when you were "Just there"? Comment below.

Also, visit me on for design inspiration and leave a tip if you enjoyed what you read. Cheers!

Faye Whitaker Design
Faye Whitaker Design
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Faye Whitaker Design

Faye W. is a motivational writer, business owner, and Interior Designer servicing Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Visit to learn more.

See all posts by Faye Whitaker Design