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Become a more confident designer

We often hear on design discovery calls that our clients would love to do the design part themselves, and you absolutely can! But if you find yourself unsure where to start, or surrounded by samples changing your mind every other day until the contractor forces you to make a decision because he needs xyz on site next week — it might be that you just need a little confidence boost.

Here's our top tips on how to become a more confident designer...

STOP comparing yourself!

The biggest thing to knock your confidence is comparing to other people — comparison really is the thief of joy! It's so easy with social media to get caught up in how well someone else is doing — but creative cropping and photography can hide a multitude of sins and social media is one very glossy picture. Find inspiration in the work other people do, but it's ok to do your own thing. Working on your skills will put you so much further ahead over trying to imitate anyone else.

Nurture creativity

Designing is tricky when you're constantly in the same environment without fresh inspiration. Pinterest is great but it's easy to get lost and feel like you're seeing the same thing over and over. Heading out to an exhibition or a cool shop you love is a great way to be creatively stimulated without being sat in front of a screen. It's so easy to hit a wall with design but taking yourself out of your normal space — even for a 30 min spin round the block — is a great way to re-energise!

Practice, practice, practice

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill (or about 5 years of a full time job!) other words skill and confidence comes with experience and a lot of trial and error. So if you're taking on a project yourself, don't feel disheartened if it doesn't turn out exactly the way you thought it would first time round. Your next property will be better and the next, better still. Most professional designers will look at their work from a few years ago and cringe over certain things — it's not just you!

HMO shared dining space design with bespoke panelling wood dining table, bench and black dining chairs.

Get comfortable with discussing your ideas — and getting a lukewarm response

Design is subjective. And you will never please everybody. The worst part of design is putting your baby out there for it to be shot down by someone else's negative opinion. Unfortunately it's part of the job description and you'll need to share your ideas at some point! If someone challenges you, either take it on board and pivot, or let it bruise your ego for a while...not knock your confidence.

If you look forward to sharing your ideas, you've got confidence in spades already!

(This is why we say to clients be brutally honest with what you think, we've been in the game long enough and don't offended easily!)

Flat-lay moodboard of material finishes including tile, worktop, tap, skirting and wood

Know and trust your process

We stick to the same design process over and over because we know it works for us. In a nutshell ours goes like:

Stage 1: Research

The juicy fun bit where anything goes!

Stage 2: Moodboards & Floorplans

Editing the research to create you vision

Stage 3: Visuals (or furniture boards) & Preliminary Sourcing

Getting to more detail on exactly what will go where and how it should look, making sure what you're imagining is available within budget

Stage 4: Elevations & Detail Specification

Technical detail for contractors to follow including all measurements, costings and more finalised fixtures & finishes

Starting wild and free and slowly narrowing down to the you don't end up spending 4 hours getting hung up looking for an exact light right at the beginning of the process, which may or may not be in budget or fit even your end scheme.

Trust your instincts

You know what looks good to you (sometimes we need to step away for 24hrs to see it) and if it looks good to you it'll more than likely look good to someone else!

Don't sweat the small stuff — mistakes happen

It's easy to say and tricky to do — don't get hung up on the details. Maybe a contractor or a supplier made a slight error and it's eating you up inside and you feel your confidence ebbing away. Honestly, you will notice it and nobody else will, don't let one negative detail overshadow an otherwise positive result. Getting every detail spot on comes guessed it...practice.

And don't forget, we're always here to cheer you on!

— Charlotte —


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