When designers visit other people's homes, what are they really thinking? Are they evaluating the placement of every furniture item and decorative piece or just sitting back and relaxing? To find out, we spoke with design pros to get the scoop on what they notice when they visit friends' houses, and what they choose not to comment on regardless. Some of their answers may surprise you!
1. Decor Choices
Sure, designers may disagree with the decorative objects that a friend has chosen to put on display, but they're probably not going to make any specific comments on a pal's choices!
"If I'm visiting someone's home, I never comment on the decor unless they ask my opinion. As an interior designer, I recognize everyone has their own taste and aesthetic, and unless I'm asked, I don't comment because I don't want to judge based on my own aesthetic." — Shannon Willey of Sea Green Designs
2. An Item's Price
While designers can name an array of furniture prices at the drop of a hat, talking about an item's cost is generally seen as off limits during a purely social gathering, one pro says.
"I rarely inquire about how much something costs. I love a steal as much as the next person, and I'm typically proud to share where I saved (and where I splurged!) on furniture and decor, but if the host doesn't bring up the topic then I don't ask." —Elaine Burns of Pistachio Designs
3. Keeping Clients and Social Acquaintances Separate
Many designers make a point to separate their social life from their work life and comment that they are happy to attend household gatherings "off the clock." If a friend is asking for design help, that's one thing, but when designers are attending a party, they're generally focused on enjoying their time with loved ones.
"As an interior designer, when I enter other people's homes that are not my clients, I will never comment on their overall design unless it is lovely. In my experience, if I comment, it opens up the door for them to ask for my design vision and suggestions. However, if they are interested in working with my firm, I will suggest we set up a meeting to discuss their project in detail." — Sandra Asdourian of Sandra Asdourian Interiors
4. Not Commenting at All Unless Asked
"I always go into a space with an open mind, and if I am just visiting a friend, I never want them to feel like my focus is the design of their home. I never comment on things unless I have a great compliment to give or they ask my advice on something design related." — Cortney McClure of Cortney McClure Design
"My brother in law is a chef, and when he eats other people’s food, he is so happy to be hosted, he licks his plate clean. That’s exactly how we feel when we go to people’s homes. We realize they often feel pressure to host a designer, but a home for us is about the people in it; so we are thrilled to celebrate with our friends and family. Let’s make hosting as effortless and generous as possible. How do you do that? Have your heart in the right place, it shines through every time." — Miriam Silver Verga of Mimi & Hill
5. Wall Art Height
Designers have extensive experience selecting and hanging wall art pieces, so it makes sense that artwork is something they'd notice in other people's homes. What exactly may be coming to mind when a designer views your collection? One pro weighs in.
"While I was working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier in my career, I learned from the exhibition art installers that the average eye height is five feet. So I make it a practice to start with hanging art with the center of the piece around five feet off the floor. And I resist the temptation of pointing this out when I am a guest in someone's home, for they may have strong feelings for why its' placed where it is, so I don't want to draw attention to this." — Nadia Watts of Nadia Watts Interior Design