DESIGN DILEMMAS – MUNDANE OR NOT?

Some design decisions can seem really mundane.                              

To illustrate what I mean, I thought I’d share with you my own decision-making process during another D. O.D. – also referred to as  ‘Designer’s Own Dilemma’.

As it happens, I’m currently in the process of re-designing my home office. A few days ago, I found myself trying to decide between 1/8” and 1/4” corkboard for a memo-board behind my desk.

Yes, I know, that’s a mere 1/8” difference.

Is that really SO important?

Yes!

Here are a few reasons why those seemingly unimportant details aren’t so mundane after all.

1    The Design Is In the Details.

The details matter. A lot.

As an interior designer, if my measurements are off in any one part of a design, it could definitely affect the final outcome for any given project.

But 1/8”, you say?

Well, if my measurements are off  by 1/8” here, ½” there and ¼” somewhere else, that starts to add up.

Here’s another way of looking at it:  let’s go back to that corkboard for a minute. As part of my own decision-making process, I actually grabbed a push-pin and measured the tip, which was about ½”.

Seriously!

I found that the push-pin , when pressed into the corkboard, didn’t fully adhere to the wall, because the thinner board wasn’t quite thick enough.

That very small detail – what some might consider infinitesimal – mattered to me.

You see, I wanted that corkboard for a reason  –  and I could see that every time I tried to tack something to the wall it would likely fall off, for lack of support.

I decided on the thicker board.

2    Listen to Your Gut

“It’s harder to install the ¼” corkboard.”

That piece of advice came from the installer. Well, I certainly didn’t want to make his job more difficult for him, and before I knew it, I was bending over backward to accommodate him.

Wait a minute – what’s wrong with that picture?

Why was I even worried about what the installer might think?

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, yet we do these things to ourselves.

We ignore that inner voice, and make decisions based on what we THINK we should do, not what we really WANT.

Please don’t make that same mistake.

3    If It Isn’t A ‘Yes’ It’s A ‘No’

This one should be easy, and yet when we ignore our ‘inner voice’ it’s easy to waffle.

That’s how we arrive at ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’.

You can make it easy on yourself and follow this simple rule:

If it isn’t an absolute YES, then it’s a NO.

Simple.

No waffling allowed.

4    Try It On For Size

Yes, you can buy furniture from a catalogue, yet it doesn’t compare to viewing it in person.

Whether trying out a chair, or a desk, or a door handle – being able to ‘test-drive’ your purchases first can make a world of difference.

That means everything from the fit of a sofa, to how a door knob, or faucet, feels in your hand.

Is it physically comfortable? Or is the faucet awkward to the touch & difficult to turn?

What about the fabric on the sofa? How does it feel? Is it soft & luxurious, or hard & scratchy? Try to envision it in all kinds of weather – for example, will it stick to your legs on a hot summers’ day?

Like the corkboard, do what I did, grab a metaphorical push-pin and see for yourself.

These choices, and many others, are entirely personal. What works for one person, won’t appeal to another – it’s for you to decide.

5    A Matter of Cost

In the end, it usually comes down to money.

We often convince ourselves that the cheaper option is a better choice because it costs less. We listen to the Voice in our heads that says something like this:

“Go with the least expensive option. You’ll save lots of money! Plus, installation and/or shipping will also cost less, so you’ll save even more. Who are you to even think about the expensive choice – you can’t possibly afford that?! Let’s be practical here.”

And on, and on.

Are you familiar with that Voice? It’s the one that often tells us what to do, despite our better judgement.

It’s the same Voice I mentioned earlier, that wants us to make decisions based on what we THINK we should do, not what we really WANT.

It’s not that cost doesn’t matter. It does! Many of our daily decisions are driven by cost, so this is not to downplay it.

This is more about looking at the BIG picture, rather than the individual parts. When you pay attention to the things you really love, that’s when you will notice what your gut, and your heart are telling you.

You will notice the details – big & small – and whether your decisions are a definite Yes or a No.