What Kinds Of Personality’s Does Clients Have?


  • The Penny Pinching Clients!

We all know them. In fact, they may be a great client most of the time: they know exactly what they like, exactly what they need, they have excellent taste and style… but the issue arises when they want high-quality furniture and decor but are not willing to spend the money for it.

Always speak softly and advise them is to thoroughly explain the reasons behind all of the charges your client may incur. Most people, once they learn the process of upholstering furniture or understand the difference between different grains of leather, come to terms with the pricing. Negotiate where there is room, normally with accessories and fabrics, but have a firm hand. It’s your job to ensure the work you do is quality work that you can be proud of.

First, come to a very resolute decision on how much your client is willing to spend on their home. Then, you have to design a fee structure. How to charge for your services could be another whole article, but the average amount a designer will charge an initial design fee along with a retainer and/or a percentage of the project costs. Explain big costs first: any big furniture, structural changes, or electrical work being done. Offer advice on where your client can save money, usually through accessory items or by buying product through you. If you take a commission on product, be transparent about this and offer to split the savings with your client. While it’s great and generous for you to pass savings along to your client, do not feel guilty for earning a commission on product. You are helping your clients obtain cheaper pricing, and you’re curating their product selection for them, that is a service in itself. Lastly, pad your pricing so you don’t go over budget. If your client gives you a maximum 40K budget, don’t spend 40K on product and your design fees. Allow for something to go wrong so the financials are there for any surprises. If everything goes super smoothly, you’ll be saving money for your client either way.

  • The Indecisive Individual

It’s not that indecisive clients have poor taste, but many people have trouble making hard decisions. Instead of getting frustrated. Decorating a home is a huge decision, in fact, that they hired you.

A key strategy for indecisive clients is to try to piece together what they really want from what they’re saying and then restate it, coming from you, with confidence and design flair. Chances are, they’ll love the idea because it comes from them, but it’ll be presented and backed in a way they can feel comfortable with. That is your job as a designer.

  • Tasteless Type!

Sometimes your client will suggest something, and you just feel “That? You want that in your home?” If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone. Sometimes your design style just doesn’t line up with what your client is looking for.

It totally depends on the situation, but like we said before, if you’re constantly in design disagreement with your client, the truth may be that your design style just wasn’t what they were looking for, and that’s okay. However, if you generally agree but have a piece or two you can seem to come to terms with, go with the following:


  1. Explain yourself.There may be a very valid design-based reason for your opinion your client doesn’t see. Maybe the piece they want is beautiful but just doesn’t work from a functionality standpoint. Or maybe it clashes with another detail of the room they’re looking over. Your client hired you for your expertise, so make sure it’s communicated in a way they can understand. And if that fails,
  2. Give in.You can’t win them all, and at the end of the day, the space is for your client to live in. You’ll probably never see it again. As long as you generally like the look of the space you created, that one hideous painting your client is in love with is not the end-all-be-all of a project.

How To Manage The Client?

1. Before your first consultation meeting, have your potential client complete a detailed questionnaire so you’re both well-prepared for an initial discussion.

2. For residential processes, ensure bothpartners / spouses are present in the initial meeting.

3. In the first meeting, be very upfront about everything. Thoroughly discuss your process and detail how you work, bill, correspond, etc. Provide visual guides such as examples of old time bills so they can have a better understanding of what to expect. (This helps you establish trust.)

4. After your client briefs you, and you fully understand the scope of the project, be honest about the feasibility of their expectations.

5. Get the money discussion out of the way as soon as possible.

6. Share your current project load from the get-go so your client understands your bandwidth and that you may be working with more than one client at a time.

7. Include as many details as you can in your Welcome/Intro packet. Provide full disclosure on elements such as the process chart, scope of work, project stages and guidelines, check-lists, important how to, FAQ, budget calculator office hours, an air-tight contract / LOA (Letter of Agreement), etc.

8. Share a process chart, scope of work, project guidelines, a checklist for clients to follow, etc. Establish “billing & purchasing procedures” within your contract so there are no surprises.

9. Lay down the law. Explain if’s, and’s, but’s, to make your boundaries crystal clear. Send ahead/share these documents as early as you can so the client quickly understands how you can best work together.

10. Delicately explain to clients that in interior design projects, something always goes wrong, it’s not an exact science. This is the nature of the business, however, it’s your job as the interior designer to handle issues should they arise.

11. Hand potential clients a list of “things you should know”, especially for the clients who have never worked with an interior designer. You can share this list of 20 things you should know about working with an interior designer.

12. Encourage your client to over-communicate! Let your client know that you’ll keep in touch on a regular basis.

13. Never promise more than can be delivered. Under-promise and over-deliver! If it’s possible, you’ll make it happen; if it’s not possible, make sure your client understands the realities.

14. Clients should be prepared for delays that can be out of the interior designer’s control. Kindly request patience throughout this process.

15. Explain to your client that your role is different than the role of the contractor. Interior designers don’t control how the contractor’s subcontractors work and who shows up for days on the job.


If you’re a student, you can get valuable experience working with clients through internships and relevant, integrated business coursework. The goal is for you to develop the critical thinking skills and other soft skills you’ll need to succeed in a client facing role in an ever-changing, fast-paced business environment.

What are the most common issues did you have when worked with clients? Feel free to share your stories in the comment section below.