You really dislike Aunt Rachel’s new zebra print fur rug, and really dislike her cheetah print furry couch that matches. Or maybe your son’s bachelor pad is looking a little too bachelor-esque. It’s always great to want to help the people in your life improve their homes, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to start. This week we’re helping you with how to help you friends and family with interior design without hurting feelings or taking too much control.
Do they want help?
Offering your help to someone who doesn’t want it isn’t always appropriate. While you may really want to help your friend with their decor, if they’re in love with their space, it’s best to respect their artistic decisions. On the other hand, if someone has been complaining about how something has been missing in their design, or that they want to change up their decor, now is your chance to come to the rescue. It’s best to offer your design expertise with a sensitive tone, rather than with a demeaning attitude.
Instead of: “Thank goodness you came to me, you’ve needed to remodel this room for a while. I’ve already been shopping for you.”
Try: “It’s okay to want some change! Do you want to take a day and shop together? I’d love to help you pick some stuff out.”
Time to start fresh
Now that you’ve established they will accept help redecorating, it’s time to clear some room for the new design. If you start by clearing out all of the items in the room you’re redecorating, it can help you get a good feel for the space. However, don’t push someone to get rid of things if they aren’t comfortable. During this process it’s important to remember that this isn’t your home, and while you feel your opinions might be right, they’re not always right for your friend or family member.
Instead of: “We need to get rid of your rug and couch. I already know what to replace them with.”
Try: “Redecorating can be overwhelming. How do you feel about donating the items in this room and starting fresh? Having an open room might make you feel less anxious when looking for new stuff.”
The fun part
Now it’s time to stop by your local shops for decor and furniture to pick up new items. This can be tricky, especially when you’re helping design a space for someone else. It’s important to maintain a polite balance of honesty and encouragement. When you dislike an item they’re considering, voicing your opinion is appropriate if you’re able to supplement it with a reason for your distaste. Guiding them in a new direction with insight and reason while simultaneously respecting that they have the final say will make the whole process easy.
Instead of: “No, you don’t want that rug it’s ugly. This one would look way better.”
Try: “I like the other option more. It’s a similar style, but will pull the room together better because of the blue tones. What do you think?”
Putting the Room Together
When taking your furniture and decor back to the space, employ a similar attitude as when you went shopping. It’s appropriate to voice your opinion as long as you explain why you feel that way and let them have the final say. With this step, encourage your friend or family member to see their way and yours. After the items have been purchased, you can spend as much time as you want rearranging the space. At the end of the day, whatever makes them feel the most comfortable is what’s important. Do they want the couch on the opposite side of the room as you because they’ll be closer to the kitchen? Do they want the lamp in a weird spot because the space is dark at night and it helps them see? Show them your ideas, see theirs, and let them have the final say.
Instead of: “Help me move this piece over there. After we move the TV to this wall, we’ll be done!”
Try: “I’m here to help as long as you need. Let’s try all of our ideas, and choose whatever makes you the most comfortable.”
Helping friends and family redecorate can be fun, awkward, and frustrating all at the same time. At the end of the day, while you simply want to help them create a beautiful living space, it’s important to remember that it’s their space. Make sure to remind them that you’re here to support them, and that redecorating doesn’t have to be stressful. In the end, you’ll both end up loving the space not only for the beauty but for the memories you created while designing it. For a statement piece to liven up any room, check out our shop for everything from beautiful wicker bed frames to chairs, wicker bar sets, and more!