A while back, I wrote a series of columns about how to know if hiring an interior designer is the right next step for you, and what the process of interior design entails.

Recently, our firm completed a full-scale design project for a client who wanted to give our future clients a bit of advice from her perspective as someone who’s been there; the view from the other side, at completion. Below are her thoughtful tips, for you…

An Open Letter to Future Design Clients

Dear Future Design Client,

I am an executive at a San Francisco-based technology company. I moved to Oakland a few years ago and decided to embark on a full remodel project when I purchased a new home. I was excited to tackle a complete floor-to-ceiling update plus all new furnishings to truly make it feel like my own.

Having limited prior experience and not a lot of spare time, I knew the only option would be hiring a full-service interior design firm to help me bring this space to life. I did some swift research and ended up connecting with Darshan LaBang and LMB Interiors. From our first conversation, I knew this firm was the one.

Fast forward to a year later; we recently celebrated the completion of our remodel project. As we raised a glass to toast the beautiful new space with the team, I proactively offered to be a reference. Not only was I happy to share the great experience I had working with LMBI but I also wanted to impart some wisdom that I gained throughout the process that may benefit others who are considering exploring their own remodel journey.

Designers-and-client celebration dinner. Photo credit: Laura Martin Bovard

What I have learned is that interior design is not just about the transformation that happens on the outside, it’s about the one that can happen on the inside, too.

Here are a few of my reflections…

How Interior Design Can Transform Your Home and Your Life

Lean into the Adventure. Whether you realize it or not, you have an opportunity to shift from an old version of yourself into a new one. Yes, you may have preferences for certain colors and design aesthetics when you start; but there is a reason you have hired an interior design expert. Not only can they see where you are today, they see where you are going into the future. Lucky for us, it is their zone of genius that luminates this incredible, transformative path.

Be Courageous. Know that decisions that might feel most comfortable to you now may be coming from a past version of yourself. New suggestions might feel risky, uncertain, and you might meet them with resistance. Summon up your inner courage for change and embrace the excitement of moving into the next chapter of your life, which is unfolding by grand design. Literally. Be open-minded to exploring new and different ideas. Where you start on the journey is not where you will end. You are likely to evolve through the process if you are open — and so will your taste and preferences. The sooner you get on board with your designer’s ideas, the easier it will be on everyone later. I promise.

Practice Patience. Everything takes a lot longer than you think it should or you will want it to. Design recommendations, samples, quotes, orders, manufacturing, transit, delivery, etc., many of these stages can have unexpected mishaps, causing a domino effect of delays. As I learned firsthand, most of these issues are outside of your designer’s control which can be frustrating for all involved. But also, many time-impacts can be self-inflicted because we (clients) can’t make a decision or want to go back and forth to see another set of options.

As I learned, designers have already looked at hundreds of options based on their many projects and years of experience. They know the exact best choices because they have weeded through all the other not-so-great ones. Even after my futile attempts to “help” with painstakingly-sleuthed internet search suggestions, we (me) always ended back at the first design recommendation.

Appreciate that the Universe will work things out on its proper timeline. There is nothing for us to do but stay in the present moment and watch it all unfold. The opportunity to practice patience and let go of control is often the underlying gift in this process.

The exact right thing will arrive on time and perfectly as it was meant to be.

Trust and Have Faith. To successfully navigate through the turbulent sea of emotions, decisions, and money requires an underlying relationship built on trust. We hire a design firm because we know that we (you and me) clearly can’t do a project like this on our own. For some, trust is a scary thing. Change can be even worse. Both require vulnerability, which many times in the past has led to hurt or disappointment. We have a choice. Either armor up and fight every step of the way or have faith in the people and process.

Your designer is working in your best interest to create something magnificent, which they want us to love!

What was always hard for me was visualizing in my mind’s eye how it was all going to look in the end — from a paint chip color to a four-inch fabric swatch to a tile sample. I was always wondering: Does this all make sense together? Will it really look good? Can this environment truly be a reflection of my own style and nature? Does she really get me???

Spoiler alert: She did and it does.

In Summary:

Darshan and LMB Interiors are amazing! The quality of people, design expertise, and overall service are simply top-notch. I could go on and on about the excellent communication, design recommendations, project management skills, and product selections that I experienced using LMB Interiors but this letter is really about YOU, not them.

My advice: Be brave, trust, let go, and have fun! Communicate what design elements are most critical to you and allow your designer the freedom to do the rest.

Not only did my new home turn out above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined but honestly, the most rewarding experience has been the discovery within. The partnership with LMB Interiors has shown me that when we allow the magic to happen, it absolutely happens!

Photos by Laura Martin Bovard

A version of this article originally appeared in the Piedmont Post