Navigating the emotions of your interior design project

If you've been through an interior design project before, you know it can be an emotional rollercoaster. Thrilling. Frustrating. Exciting. Frightening. Crazy-making. Fun. Worrisome. You might go through the entire gamut while you’re renovating, building a new home, or even just refurnishing existing spaces. But at RHD, we work to first warn our clients upfront that, no matter how seamless we make their experience, there are bound to be some highs and lows along the way; and second, we do our best to minimize the lows with consistent communication and proactive problem-solving.


The Highs

Bay Area interior design fabric samples

The ‘highs’ come at the start of the project. It’s exciting to talk about ideas and dream about possibilities. Plus, looking at fabrics, finishes and inspiration images together is fun for us all! As we begin to get your home design project off the ground, there’s a thrilling, “And away we go!” feeling. It isn’t long before you get another dose of excitement with the conceptual presentation where we show you possible space layouts and initial design concepts. Even more excitement comes once we’ve refined those early ideas and we share them with you in the design presentation. Seeing what was once just a wishlist in your head begin to take the shape of actual design plans we’ve custom created just for you is definitely exhilarating!


Napa Valley Interior Design services bathroom


The Lows

Unfortunately, as with most other things in life, interior design projects aren’t all fun and games. With renovations, the ‘lows’ can start relatively early on at the start of construction. Seeing your home is dismantled - even though you know it’s for good reason - is never easy. For home design projects of all types, most of the lows come during downtimes when you’re waiting on the next step. Waiting for design concepts, proposals, and orders, not to mention waiting for construction to wrap up can be difficult for any homeowner. The hardest part is that you can’t really see the progress. It feels like time is ticking away and nothing is happening. In reality, we’re working full speed ahead behind the scenes handling the project management and administrative details. We’re keeping your project moving forward. It’s just that there isn’t much of anything fun and exciting to show for it yet.



Calm. Seamless. Confident. Supportive. Professional

That’s the experience we work to provide our clients with so their project’s emotional rollercoaster feels more like a lovely train ride. How do we do that? Understanding and empathizing with how our clients are feeling makes all the difference. By being communicative, upfront, and honest, as well as working proactively to step in and find solutions when challenges arise, we reach out a steadying hand to our clients and make sure they feel well cared for.

  • While we’re well-versed in the construction process, we’re very sensitive to the fact that our clients may not be - and that can be scary for them. We provide What to Expect documents ahead of time and talk them through every step so they feel informed and in-the-know.

  • We send weekly updates, even during the ‘down times’ of waiting in their projects, to help them see the progress and to prep them for next steps.

  • We visit the job site regularly to check progress and to catch any potential issues before they become problems.

  • We stay in the trenches with our clients. Our job is to be there every step of the way, seeing them through their project and working patiently and diligently, working toward spaces that make them say ‘Wow! I LOVE it!’


Make your interior design project highs higher and the lows not quite as low

While we work hard to make the road as easy as possible for our clients, there are a few things they (and any homeowner) can do to help navigate their emotions throughout their interior design project.

  • First and foremost, hire a designer you truly trust. It seems obvious, but if you go into a project thinking your designer doesn’t know much or doesn’t have your best interests at heart, things aren’t likely to get better once your project gets moving. Hire someone you see as an expert in their field and who takes the time to get to know you upfront.

  • Actively trust in their expertise. If they’ve been in the interior design business for as long as we have (over 20 years), they know what to watch out for and what to expect from these kinds of projects. Letting them ‘drive the bus’ not only helps your project run more smoothly, but it also allows them to shield you from the day-to-day stresses of your project (which is a big part of what you’re hiring them to do!).

  • Remember that challenges are perfectly normal. In fact, seasoned designers like us go into every project expecting a few, so don’t panic when something arises that you didn’t see coming.

  • Keep the end in mind. In fact, keep it in front of you by having your project’s visuals close at hand. Whenever you start to feel a little low while you wait on the project to finish, just look at what’s on the horizon.

  • Remember that the difficult parts are only temporary. This too shall pass! Your interior design project will soon be finished and then you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful new spaces knowing it was all worth it!

If you’re thinking about an interior design project in Marin, Sonoma or Napa Valley and want to avoid the emotional roller coaster experience, reach out to us - we’d love to talk about your project with you!