The interior design industry is ever-growing. New homeowners are turning to interior designers, now more than ever. Decades ago, an interior designer was accessible only by the rich. The remaining population enjoyed well-decorated homes only through magazines and catalogs. However, over the years, there has been a wide-spread growth of services and consumption, making interior designing a necessity rather than a luxury. Despite this growth, there a few problems that still afflict the interior decoration industry and its high time that all stakeholders come together to resolve them.
Let us understand more about the top 5 problems that exist in the interior design industry:
Modern-day furnishing innovations such as modular kitchens and wardrobes have brought down costs drastically. It’s a trade-off between quality and price. This has led to mass production of multiple furnishing units, which gives the manufacturer the benefit of economies of scale. While there’s the benefit of scale, this also means that building of furniture moves out of the purview of the decorator i.e., instead of supervising local carpenters, decorators now submit designs to manufacturers. There is little control on quality and while clients might have approved on certain designs and materials, what is delivered, may not be a perfect match.
Unlike homeowners who do it may be thrice in their lifetime, interior decorators need to scout for furniture almost every other week. Depending on location, access to good furniture and unique decorative pieces is limited. Further, every house they design has a different theme, varying decorating styles, and underlying inspiration. Even the most astute designer must strive to find good furniture with great designs by physically roaming from one shop to another. The other alternative is using the online medium and sourcing through furniture marketplaces and brand websites. But this market is still evolving and not perfectly organized. Logistics too is an issue. All in all, sourcing furniture is a problem that needs redressal.
Interior decorators are an inspired lot and pull much of what they design, out of their imagination. This is what helps them deliver projects that are unique and which delight the clients. However, the route from drawing board to final execution, is marred by the realities of logistics and human execution. Another facet to this is the fact that the decorator and clients will have different perceptive capabilities. The former being seasoned, the latter a novice. Thus, even if both are looking at the same layout and plan, a client may end up imagining it differently. While 3D renders have improved this gap drastically, much is still left to be done so that customer satisfaction is not affected.
For a client, the decoration of their dream home is probably a once in a lifetime project. It is not surprising then, that they seek perfection and keep asking for changes on the plans, till they are satisfied. Today clients have access to the internet and hence have myriad ideas on styles, designs, and furnishings. However, clients fail to see that it isn’t just a change in the blueprint and layout on paper. The changes translate into a domino effect of having to inform suppliers, revising quotations, affecting the changes in the execution and so on and so forth. A minor slip-up can increase project costs and turn off the clients. Designers need to develop the skills of drawing the line in a polite manner when the client is asking for too much and accepting to changes when they can and when there is a need. It’s a fine balance that needs to be maintained.
The interior design industry is still evolving and is largely unorganized. Hence, pricing is never standardized and depending on where one sources from, the price of similar furniture can be drastically different. While customers tend to expect deliveries to be in a certain price range, the decorators struggle with bargaining, negotiating and arriving at a reasonable cost of customization. Over and above this, there is a constant pressure of price comparison from clients. This creates a sense of mistrust. Going forward, as a solution, decorators can look at working towards organizing the industry in a way that sourcing becomes standardized.
While the interior design industry has come a long way, the industry and its patrons have upon them the herculean task of making the industry better organized and ensuring that customers are educated about the possibilities and limitations. Just being aware of problems is a great starting point because only then would someone think of the solution. The hope is that in the long run, these problems would be effectively resolved.