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Advice for Homeowners

When It Comes to Your Decor; Your Friends are Polite

By 11/20/2009January 27th, 201723 Comments

Lately I’ve noticed something. I’m called out to a consultation because my advice is not only required, it’s absolutely necessary. You know how I have said in previous posts that I don’t judge?

Well let me clarify that; it’s not that I don’t have an opinion–yes I’m always thinking in my head–that sofa is 80’s, that tile is 50’s, that bathroom is soooo 90’s. Heck, I live in an original house from the 50’s (because I rent). I mean, one of the most redeeming things about this house is that it does not have a screaming 80’s kitchen in it (for example). But it does have a 50’s kitchen– that I’ll be ripping out the minute I own this house (because I love it)!

Image courtesy of Pure Style Home

So am I thinking, ‘that’s dated’ when I’m in your space? Yes I am, but it doesn’t take much for something to be dated. 10 years later, everything is dated.

So my point is, there is a difference between being critical VS. simply defining a space for whatever era it’s from. I am so happy that you have hired me to help you, there is nothing truly critical or judgmental about what I’m thinking.

As a personal trainer, if you took a look at my fitness level, I would hope that you wouldn’t be laughing at me! Or a bookkeeper, analyzing the state of my books? “Eeeeek, please be nice” is what I’m thinking.

Had to include this image from one of my favourite blogs Pure Style Home

So that’s the reason why your friends are not the ones to ask about your decor. They love you, so they are polite (just like my friends when they come to my old house—and I’m grateful that they are!), and say things like “It’s beautiful–I love it!” Right?

Interior by Maria Killam Colour & Design

That’s why you need to hire a professional (that you trust and that comes recommended) so that you can get an objective opinion about what works and what needs to be updated. Then, when you know exactly what needs to be done, you’ll be happy. You can relax and just enjoy your house, instead of being so worried about what you need to do next.

Image source

That’s my mission, that just walking into your home, fills you with happiness 🙂

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23 Comments

  • Karena says:

    Maria, there is that yummy green and lavender room I love so much!

  • Janean says:

    not what we say, but how we say it. wonderful blog!!!

  • Chic Coles (Cole Design) says:

    I love that room you designed! My favorite aspect is the 3 toned curtains…it looks great!

  • Heartfire At Home says:

    As Janean said, it's not what you say (or what you're thinking), but how you communicate it!!

    I love the colours in the last room pic (the one you designed), but especially love the way the tree greenery brings it to life!!

  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    * Maria, I am SO w/ "KARENA"~~~ I simply A*D*O*R*E the green & lavendar room you did… heavens! It's just SOOOO pretty & chic & REFRESHING… & it makes me FEEL so GOOD!

    I liked what you wrote~ (I've also learned that I can always find SOMETHING "NICE/POSITIVE" to say about a space, a friend's "new" style, etc… (Sometime's it's rather hard but, yes, it CAN be done! It just takes a minute to THINK of it… grins!)…

    There IS thing I'd like to comment on, if I may~~~ I read many years ago (I think it was in Billy B's book) that "every woman THINKS she's a natural born decorator…" and to get to MY point, I think THAT (besides other reasons, of course) is ONE reason people tend to avoid HIRING a decorator… they WANT to be able to say "I did it myself"… I'm just wondering, do you think there might be some truth to what he said? I think it SOUNDS like someone that just might be stated/thought by some (many?) gals…

    As always, thanks for a great visit!
    Warmest,
    Linda in AZ *

  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    (Sorry! ~Correction: "… it sounds like SOMETHING that might just…")

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    I love love love that green sofa.

    I have been to only one home where it was really really hard to find positive/neutral comments on the home decor and garden design that the owner was so proud of having just done.

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno says:

    Or you can be like me and flat out tell your best friend that WE HAVE GOT TO PAINT THIS 80's OAK TRIM NOW!!! haha

  • C.J. says:

    love your blog! You are the bomb, lol I would love it if you could take a look at mine. Thanks, CJhttp://wwwbeenblogged.blogspot.com/

  • C.J. says:

    by the way, I love those colors!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Linda, that makes so much sense, I have been trying to figure out the psychology behind NOT hiring a decorator for a long time, great insight- thanks! That adds to my theory (which I'll post about eventually)
    Thanks so much for your comment!
    x
    Maria

  • Carol Ann says:

    Linda is so right, we as women seem to think we can do it all…and forget some of us have great bad taste…or do not understand the scale of the room…or how do get the rooms to flow properly…
    Sometimes I do a whole room presentation and the clients do not take the tables, lamps and vases etc…with the thinking they can find those things themselves cheaper at another store…problem is they do not look for the proper scale of lamp or the proper height of the table for the sofa arm height and really mess up the whole room…everyone needs a designer to work out the room scale for them or the flow of finishes between the kitchen finish and the table finishes…not to mention the floor finish that the ordered without thinking about anything but which one they like…it is not just about the colors in the room(paint, fabric etc) there are so many elements that come into play that clients do not know need to be considered…ok thats my rant of the day. lol
    Great post Maria

  • Carol Ann says:

    Oh Maria…you always give me great topics to rant about… lol
    Regards, Carol Ann x

  • Marie Cole says:

    My clients always end up saying they first tried decorating their homes with just friends and family but it always ended poorly with them all having strong opinions, and none that the homeowner, my client ever liked, and then feelings get hurt….So that is usually how I get hired, "the expert". I LOVE solving my clients home issues. 🙂

    BTW I really like your blog!

  • Pangaea says:

    Ha! You must have more polite friends than I do. I did a very out-of-the-box urban type floor in my own house — took me many days of hard work and I love it — and every once in awhile, I still get a friend visiting my place for the first time who says "So what are you going to do with the floors?" Too funny!

    I think that clients biggest fear in hiring a designer is of being judged and of having the designer IMPOSE their style on the client. I go to great lengths to assure clients that I want to know what colors and styles they love — what really moves them? — and then I use my own taste and judgement to pull it all together.

    But I know, it's scary! I was never so nervous as the day I invited 3 interior designer friends to my so-very-not-finished house.

  • [email protected] View On Design says:

    Maria darl! I recently received a blog award which requires me to pass on the award, I've chosen your blog for obvious reasons, I'm a big fan! You know this of course!

    I've recently moved house so everything over here is a little hectic, but wanted to do the "award post" anyways…

    Check out the post and if you get time, I suggest you do it, because it was actually quite fun! Although I'm aware you've done a few, so I'd forgive you for not indulging! lol

    http://aviewondesign.blogspot.com/2009/11/awards-etc.html

    catchya on the flipside!

  • Lauren says:

    morning!! this is so true… honest objective opinions are often hard to come by.

    I loved what Linda from AZ mentioned… I'm often very careful with certain clients that I can sense are not quite comfortable with having hired a decorator… Sometimes you have to be very careful not to step on toes and to make clients feel like they are a part of the brainstorming process. It's interesting how some clients need that and others just want you to come up with something & show it to them.

    I have noticed occassions where I'm called in to solve points of contention btwn a couple & those cases are tough b/c when you make suggestions it's all "See I told you so" from one to the other & very awkward for me! Particularly awkward when I've inadvertantly disagreed with the wife…

    And to go on what another commenter said above about clients not going with the lamps, accessories, etc… In the end the space doesn't feel like something you've designed or can be proud of because it's all those finishing touches that make a room beautiful. And then they tell freinds that you designed it but you want to say "sort of." haha But we have these overall visions for spaces & it's no fun when they don't get to be completed. When clients don't want to go with those types of items, I try to seriously guide them on how to do it themselves. It doesn't work out as well but is better than nothing!

    Thanks so mujch for including my LR!!!! xoxoxoxo

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I had a small get together last Sunday ( thanks for coming 🙂 ) and some of the guests had never seen my home. One kind guest walked into my horrible 90's kitchen and said: "you have a nice place". I had a good laugh when I saw the title to your post. The kind of lies I DO appreciate are: "Yes, your ass looks tiny in those jeans!"

  • Linda at Lime in the Coconut! says:

    Interesting post…comments were great too!

    You know…I was just in a friends home today…she wanted decorating help (I don't DO that…but am often asked by friends) Her home was soooo different than what I love. But I love HER, so it was hard to pull the her out of the home. Meaning…I loved it as well.

    I think the lines blur…personalities become woven within the home.

    When I was a teen, my mom hired a designer to help with some fabric choices. It was soooo wrong. It wasn't my mom at all or our house. She chose not to go with her…and I was allowed to essentially make the choices.

    I remember thinking then, that I would never hire a decorator because they too often infuse their style (however lovely) and miss the personality of the homeowner.

    And I have sooo much respect for designers who are able to incorporate personalities…

  • Linda at Lime in the Coconut! says:

    Interesting post…comments were great too!

    You know…I was just in a friends home today…she wanted decorating help (I don't DO that…but am often asked by friends) Her home was soooo different than what I love. But I love HER, so it was hard to pull the her out of the home. Meaning…I loved it as well.

    I think the lines blur…personalities become woven within the home.

    When I was a teen, my mom hired a designer to help with some fabric choices. It was soooo wrong. It wasn't my mom at all or our house. She chose not to go with her…and I was allowed to essentially make the choices.

    I remember thinking then, that I would never hire a decorator because they too often infuse their style (however lovely) and miss the personality of the homeowner.

    And I have sooo much respect for designers who are able to incorporate personalities…

  • Laura Casey Interiors says:

    love this post and all you have to say!!

  • Design Junkie says:

    In the beginning of my client relationships, I try to remember to reassure them when I'm asking questions, I'm gathering information, not judging. Otherwise when I ask "Is that furniture staying?", they think I mean "God, that piece is ugly, please throw it out right now" when all I am doing is trying to determine what pieces I'll be working with and whether or not they still fit the client's taste.

  • Candied Fabrics says:

    What a wonderful mission, love it!
    I also love that polkadot ottoman!

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