For a long time I struggled with the term ‘interior designer’ and would try to come up with other ways to describe what I do such as ‘home styling’ or ‘room makeover expert’ none of which rolled easily off the tongue. I ‘did’ interior design but I didn’t want to use the interior designer label. So what was that all about???

For me I think it was because I can still recall the faces of those poor homeowners on TV’s ‘Changing Rooms’ who were at the mercy of interior designers. The end results were often ghastly and even though it was ‘made for television’, the programme only confirmed the stigma attached to the profession. I’m now comfortable as an Interior Designer because firstly that is what I do and also I know that the ways I work with my clients aren’t the generally expected ‘norm’. So let’s have a look at the most common misconceptions about interior designers…


I wouldn’t be able to afford their fees!

This is the big one and ultimately it comes down being clear about and seeing the value in what you are paying for. At GMW HQ we have a flat fee for colour and staging consultations, all staging and some interior design projects are charged at either an hourly or daily rate and the fee for larger projects is an agreed percentage of the overall project cost. Whilst we don’t work for free, we don’t charge a fortune either and our clients agree.

I think misconceptions arise because a lot of what designers do is unseen; the hours spent sourcing a particular item of furniture or the time and effort involved in finding a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution to dressing a tricky window for example.

Think about those times you re-decorated a room and then gone on to hate the colour or you’ve bought a piece of furniture and got it home only to realise the scale and proportion of it look all wrong once in situ or those two gorgeous lamps you’ve finally for your hallway console table will have to go back because there aren’t any sockets on that particular wall. By paying for the expertise and experience of a professional you can save yourself a load of time, cut down on stress and save money by avoiding making mistakes which often end up being expensive to rectify.

Not only that, because interior designers are by nature very savvy shoppers we know where to buy and HOW to buy. I like nothing more than mixing things up both in terms of design styles as well as price tags and there are some great bargains to be had on the high street particularly when it comes to accessories and the finishing touches to a room.


Only the very wealthy can afford an Interior Designer!

Absolutely not and whilst I don’t think that what we offer is in any way exclusive in terms of cost, I know our services won’t appeal to everyone as that would be impossible. I do know that our clients are real people with real homes and real struggles. For me there’s nothing more heart-warming than being able to bag a bargain for a client on a tight budget so they can achieve the look they want. It’s all about knowing where savings can be made without compromising the project.


I’ll end up with something I hate or something that looks great but just isn’t practical!

A space that looks good but doesn’t function on a practical level is of no use to anyone. Understanding how a space will be used, who will use it and then looking at how it needs to look and feel are the key recipe ingredients and we work closely with our clients to make sure we’ve nailed all this before any work starts. This can be a lengthy process but it’s so worth it when there are happy faces all round at the end of a project.


I’m not sure what I want so I’ll end up with the designer’s style and not my own!

Creating rooms that truly reflect who you are is at the core of everything we do and that’s why those initial client meetings are so important. As human beings we instinctively know what we don’t like but sometimes it takes a while to pinpoint and collate all those things we love and then create a room scheme that captures all of that. If this is where you struggle, this is where we can help and that doesn’t mean ending up with a room straight out of a glossy interiors magazine but a space that you love and is truly YOU.


All Interior Designers have fabulous homes so I couldn’t possibly let them see mine!

I love my home but it rarely, if ever, looks magazine-shoot worthy. Mr W and I are both self-employed, work long hours and with two teenagers as well as two terriers in residence, it’s a busy place.

Just like you, we’re real people in a real home with similar real struggles.

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