Before the days of Houzz and Pinterest, prospective clients would buy tons of Home Décor magazines and rip out pictures of their favorite rooms and put them in an idea file. This was helpful in allowing me to see what the client liked and get a general direction for the project. Even if the client didn’t know exactly what they liked about a room, I could detect patterns in their selections and discern design elements that they were attracted to.
While some people still like to browse through glossy magazine pages, most of my clients these days have electronic scrap books dedicated to the minutia of their project. I find that if they are planning a kitchen remodel, they have a board dedicated to the space but also several other boards for items like table legs, sinks, lights, countertops and so forth.
You might be reading this and think this sounds helpful. The problem is that even as the project gets underway, items are still being collected and saved. This is where the trouble begins.
Research show that when we are confronted with infinite possibilities our brains get befuddled. We’re overwhelmed by choices. We over-think, over-analyze and become paralyzed. We do nothing.
Analysis paralysis happens when you spend too much time analyzing that information and second-guessing all those possibilities… when you literally can’t make a decision because that excess of information actually prevents you from moving forward.
When you become obsessed with finding the best solutions and the best bargains you inevitably become afraid of wasting your money on a product that doesn’t do the job. You can also be afraid of disapproval from others in your social circle. Worse, is your fear of purchasing a product, only to discover a new product option after making the purchase.
Addiction to Houzz and Pinterest leads people to using the wrong decision-making criteria; more choices lead to greater dissatisfaction because expectations are raised.
Misinformation is also to blame. I often high-end photos with a back link to inferior products.
Most designers work very hard to meet their clients’ needs. But, we can’t make the impossible happen. I can’t make a standard refrigerator behave or look like an integrated refrigerator. Custom or Bespoke cabinetry will never cost the same as a stock line and less expensive materials will never have the performance or fit and finish of its top-of-the-line counterpart.
Every option has its pros and cons. It’s my job as a designer to steer you towards design solutions and products that are a best fit for your project, your lifestyle and your budget.
As your designer, I take the time to:
- Establish your needs
- Establish your wants (nice-to-haves but not necessary)
- Evaluate your budget
- Build a plan around your personal style
- Curate suitable design options (eliminate the items that don’t fit the bill)
If you have a limited budget, I’m not going to show onyx tile. If your project completion date is shorter than most, I will avoid materials with a long lead time.
In knowing which items to avoid, I am better able to keep the design process running smoothly. There are times when it is necessary to source that unique item that will be a design focal point; but, now it seems I spend a lot of time researching items that aren’t readily available – such as a picture of a pendant light from Ikea that was never available in North America.
Have trust in your designer. We’re here to guide you and help you complete your vision. We enjoy the creative process much more than copying the work of someone else. Wouldn’t you rather live in a home that is a reflection of you rather than a home that is a copy of someone you don’t know?
Steps to Take
If you find yourself behaving like a digital hoarder; pinning or saving images into all hours of the night, take these steps to help your project say on track.
- Ask yourself:
How important is this decision?
Will the outcome of this decision make a difference a year from now?
What would be the most difficult/painful decision to change down the road?
What could realistically go wrong?
- Give a decision only the time and effort that it deserves, based on its importance. Set a deadline for making your decision.
- Make a decision and don’t look back. This may seem reckless but it isn’t. Your short list only has good items, you already eliminated the bad ones.
- Seek the opinion from one trusted person and go with it. If you are deciding between to items it can make sense to seek a second opinion. If they confirm your feelings then go with it; if you disagree then pick the one you want.
When you invest extra time and energy to identify the “best of the best” option, not only do you waste time and energy, you will still feel bad in the end because your mindset is one that’s focused on identifying “gaps” and “issues.”
Even if you pick the best option, you’ll still harp on the pros that could have come out of options that you forego.
Consequently you may ignore less perfect ideas rather than improve upon them. In the end, you get an average outcome since you’re too busy feeling regret as opposed to making the best out of your choice.
If you are they type of person that tends to over analyze or you have FOMO – Fear of Missing Out, then do your research in selecting your designer. Decide to trust that person to harness, not hoard your inspiration data, so you can have an enjoyable design experience