With Risk Comes Reward
All of us can remember a time when we ventured beyond our comfort zone and found something both unexpected and wonderful. In the world of design, such explorations are part of what makes it all so fun, and successful. And regardless of whether you’re the sort of person who likes to surf the avant-garde wave or prefer your world of decisions a little more conservatively approached, a designer is a great resource for reaping the benefits of adventuring into the unknown.
The biggest benefit is that a good designer allows for greater risks. It’s like your very own safety net. Good designers encourage you to push your defaults, your limits, while steering you away from decisions you might really regret or that wouldn’t work. Just because you have lived with linen white walls in every house you have owned doesn’t mean it has to happen this time around.
A professional designer will almost always encourage you to explore something that you may never have considered but might discover is a perfect way to weave your story into your space. Designers know from experience that the unknown and the overlooked are often where the sweet spot is hiding.
One area where designers often have to spread that safety net is in selecting interior elements. Everything selected for an interior need not be matchy-matchy, and in fact the mention of a “set” of furniture makes almost any interior designer cringe. And for good reason: it’s important to create some tension through disjunction within an interior.
Who says the heirloom, antique grandfather clock can’t sit next to the original Lichtenstein painting? Maybe it should. You want to create some mystery, some unavoidable questions in an interior, both to keep things interesting and to enhance their enjoyment. Why was that painting hung offset over the chair? Why is the stone countertop on the kitchen center island different from the surrounding ones? Sometimes the reason for these choices is evident if you stop and think about it, while other times it might require a little sleuthing. Without a playful tension, an interior can feel stagnant. A red leopard fabric on a pair of French fauteuil chairs may not be your natural inclination but may be just the right amount of unexpected to bring delight — and a big smile — every time you see them.
Professional designers are constantly on the lookout for the new and unusual. They have to-the-trade libraries at their fingertips, which means they can find items not prevalent, and therefore not overused, in the marketplace. Interior designers thumb through stacks of trade periodicals every month to discover new sources; seek out inspiration through travel; visit product showrooms; and regularly meet with product representatives in the pursuit of new furnishings, fixtures, and finishes. All of this so that they can create unique combinations and solutions that might not have ever occurred to another person.
To create something great and unique involves taking chances. Little details that seem odd but together tell a story — that’s what it’s all about. Allow yourself to be nudged toward something you’re not sure about, but that could be better than you ever imagined. You will never know if you don’t try, and there’s always that safety net.