Can You Make All Design Clients Happy?


Modern traditional family room by Houston residential interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors

Can you make all design clients happy? There must be hundreds of answers and opinions to this question across the Internet, but I have found that the one thing that ultimately makes clients happy is HONESTY.


How simple and universal, right? I can't say it's the easiest thing to do (it almost never is). But after completing and reviewing so many projects over the years, the one thing that either made a project successful, or could have made a project more successful, in my humble opinion, is honesty from the client.


Have a look below for a few ways to maintain trust and honesty throughout the design process!


Mistakes You Can Avoid Easily in the Design Process

  1. Not being completely honest about your budget. That goes for your designer too, but truly with yourself. If you have champagne taste and only a beer budget, that's a reality you should be aware of. Either your wish list has to be adjusted, or your available funds have to be adjusted. There's only so much you can do with the money you have for a project, and being honest about how much you truly have to spend will save you not only from being disappointed in the end, but a lot of heartache and wasted time during the design process itself. And believe me, there's NO judgment here - that is exactly why we have discovery calls at the start of a project. I understand completely that if a potential client hasn't gone through a remodel or design project before, it would be close to impossible for them to know what costs actually will amount to be on the final bill. A discovery call is the perfect time to ask all the questions, be completely honest about what you're envisioning for your home plus your true investment amount, and getting realistic expectations from your designer.

  2. Not being completely honest about your plans for the home. If you plan to sell your home in the foreseeable future, that will definitely change advice we give on layout or overall design. If it's a forever home, we have full license to make your home exactly what you want, which may not be a big advantage in the real estate market later on down the line if you opted to sell.

  3. Seeing your designer as a 'coupon' rather than a trusted service provider that is your partner through the design process. I go into more detail about this topic here in this post, but it's worth saying again! Our firm's primary focus is creating a beautiful, functional space for you and your family to live in day in and day out, not to find the cheapest way to recreate an inspiration photo. Please don't expect your designer to work for free, or recommend less-than-ideal quality products. Trust me, no one will be happy in the end.


Being honest is a big value for me in life, but absolutely in my business. I actually have a sign hanging in my office that says "to be clear {honest} is being kind." I believe honesty builds trust, and in our experience, when these two things are non-negotiables, it allows for open and true communication between client and designer. Bottom line: I don't think a project can be successful, or a client can be happy ultimately with their project, without those shared values, and I don't mind taking a firm stance on this. If this sounds like the way you operate, I'm would love to have a chat with you about your next project.


If you're needing more resources about the initial phases of a project, have a look at the posts below for more information!


What to Know Before Starting a Home Design Project


How to Search for a Contractor for Your Next Project


Behind the Scenes: The Initial Consultation


If you’ve read any of these posts and had a thought or question, leave a comment below and let us know - what resonated with you the most?

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