A designer is cheaper than divorce

EarleyA good interior designer can nail the right sofa in an instant. A good interior designer can pinpoint the right window treatment without blinking, and a really good interior designer is also a marriage counselor.

I’m not talking about the “distraught couple perched on the edge of a chair wringing their hands” type of marriage counselor. I mean the type that can take different personalities and blend them into one decorating style.

When taste, approach, attitude and priorities differ in a marriage, it is the perfect climate for decorating limbo. Novice couples assume decorating will be quick, effortless and end with lunch at the food court. They might make a list and head out for a weekend decorating adventure. After several exhausting and futile hours, tensions often flare and a hasty retreat is made before a full-fledge battle erupts.

If the couple makes it beyond the point of decorating Armageddon, the risk of the “it looked great at the store, so let’s just get it done” impulse purchase mistake is often the next level.

When the realization that the sofa that looked nice on the showroom with 30-foot ceilings, looks gargantuan in the home with a 9-foot ceiling, some pretty heinous thoughts might come to mind.  To avoid a prison term, it might be the time to admit that hiring a professional isn’t such a bad idea, after all.

Enter the interior designer, your couple’s communication specialist, facilitator, mediator, magician and visual artist. Remember, couples rarely agree 100 percent on matters of taste, and finding a solution that will make both parties happy is a delicate balance.

In the first meeting, everyone’s goals need to be on the table. This is the time to admit that the dining room table handed down from your grandma makes you want to eat off the floor and that you are exhausted just thinking of sleeping one more night in a waterbed.

Budget is a typically the elephant in the room. Two people can have different ideas about how much it should cost to redo a room because it is a priority to one and not even a blip on the radar to the other. A good designer can explain the cost factors that make no sense to those outside the interior design inner circle, like why a chair can cost as much as a sofa and why a delicate silk can cost 10 times more than a durable textile.

Remember, the next time a fight erupts about the number of pillows on the sofa, a designer is far more affordable than a divorce attorney!