I’ve recently come across an interesting article on Houzz on 10 Questions to ask an interior designer before your hire them, and I’d like to expand on the first question “Can you source unusual pieces?”

Abigail Owens wrote “An experienced designer will have a wealth of knowledge and contacts that they’ve built up over their career to enable them to find unusual artworks and accessories.

I couldn’t agree more; with experience and time, an interior designer learns where to source the desired items from, and not only unusual artworks and accessories. An expert should know where to source the best quality, best value for money furniture and lighting; and when I say ‘value for money’, I don’t mean ‘inexpensive’ but beautiful bespoke pieces which are priced in accordance with the quality of the craftsmanship and often expertise. As an example to support this, I have recently designed a #bespokeheadboard for a #boutiquehotelstyleapartment in Cambridge, which was oversized and required two separate experts- a master upholster and a joiner /carpenter to be made. The total price turned out to be just slightly above a standard headboard one could get in any high street shop selling headboards. My client said the headboard “exceeded her expectations” it was that beautifully made! Below is a sneaky snippet…The client couldn’t ‘try the headboard out’ first because it was made to the specifications we agreed on.

Bespoke headboard design

There’s a point in the above-mentioned article, I don’t necessarily agree on “[…] Many companies will let you try a item in your home and return it if you don’t like it, which is a less scary approach when you’re considering investing in a real statement piece.‘ Before opening my own practice in Cambridge, I have worked for high-end studios in London such as Fenton Whelan and 1508London, and I haven’t come across a company which would simply let us try an item…It of course depends on the type of item, as I have some arrangements with companies which provide accessories and they’re happy for me to use the for the photo shoots, but I haven’t heard of a company lending furniture to try, for example. Whenever I specify bespoke pieces for my clients, I try to take them to a showroom to see the quality and try the product, and then we agree on whether this is something they thought of. Otherwise, it means simply shopping around and picking up what’s available, which isn’t always what the client wants and what’s needed to achieve a coherent design scheme.

Working in the United States has allowed me to experience different approaches to the design process, and I have noticed some interior designers prefer to take their clients shopping to large design harbours, like the one in Chicago, which are open only to trades people, but have the facilities to allow the interior designer and their client to view and select pieces of furniture and lighting they decide are suitable for the project.

All in all, I agree with Abigail that “Most designers want their clients to feel fully confident to buy new things for their home.” And this is of course, our main goal at Katie Malik Interiors, to enable clients to enjoy their spaces and help them achieve the look they desire.