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5 Surprising Design Industry Secrets

We continue to lift the veil and let you in on the little “secrets” of what it’s like to work with a designer, what it’s like to be a designer, and now, we even have some surprising design industry secrets to share with you. Why share these secrets, you ask? Because knowledge is power, and we want you to be the CEO of your project! At Coddington Design, we’re straight-shooters, mindful and supportive, and we adhere to our core values, which include collaboration and no haziness. And these things can’t be achieved without trust, transparency, and the truth.

If you trust your designer, you are well on your way to having your dream home.

Let’s get started!

1) Photoshoots are 100% staged

Those beautiful images you see in magazines, on Houzz and Pinterest, in your favorite furniture catalogue? All fake. When designers do photoshoots, they prep the house by removing all of the personal items from the shot, they bring in large scale accessories and artwork that speak better to the camera, and they even move furniture around so that it all fits into the camera frame perfectly. They are not capturing how people actually live in their own space. Don’t be fooled by these “made up versions of reality” – there is no such thing as a perfect pinterest home!

Credit: Coddington Design’s Scandi Modern Woodside project/Vivian Johnson Photography

2) Most of a designer’s work will not be visible on their website

While we’re on the topic of photoshoots, it’s important to note that not all of a designer’s work is able to be photographed and shared. Due to various circumstances like Non Disclosure Agreements, small rooms with no good angle, and working on a project that just doesn’t quite fit with the designer’s overall brand, not everything is made public. It’s always a good idea to ask a designer if they have any examples of their work that’s not on their website – chances are they do!

Credit: Coddington Design’s Colorful Los Angeles project

3) Home improvement shows are a source of frustration

Designers tend to raise their eyebrows at HGTV and the like for the unrealistic expectations that it portrays. Packing a kitchen remodel into a 30-minute timeframe is misleading and only sets you up for disappointment. Not to mention that costs in San Francisco and Los Angeles are much higher than most places, and so even when the budget is discussed, it is wildly lower than what San Francisco and Los Angeles homeowners will pay. Watch these shows for inspiration, but don’t hire an interior designer or a contractor and expect the process to be the same.

Credit: Coddington Design’s California Casual Nantucket project/David Duncan Livingston Photography

4) Designers shop at IKEA

Yes, it’s true. Interior designers are known to bargain shop for their own homes. But, there is a good reason for this – designers know where to splurge and where to scrimp, especially when there are kids or pets in the home. A good designer should be sensitive to your bottom line, and sometimes this means that you splurge on a custom sectional in the living room but shop at West Elm for the family room. Be wary of an interior designer who won’t bargain hunt for you – I can smell the hypocrisy all the way from my IKEA desk!

Credit: Coddington Design’s Scandi Modern Woodside project (custom mirror and bench, expensive light fixture, but chairs from Lulu & Georgia!/Vivian Johnson Photography

5) The crafts and tradespeople are the real heroes

Interior designers would be stuck in the mud without the talented people who make their visions tangible. From cabinetry makers to wallpaper and tile installers to furniture builders, we rely on their skills to make our unique designs a reality. If this blog post were titled “5 secrets of the builder industry,” one of the secrets would probably be that some interior designers have wild ideas that send a builder’s head spinning – but with the best team at your grasp, anything can be built, crafted, constructed and installed with a little bit of problem solving and innovation.

Credit: Coddington Design’s Scandi Modern Woodside project (beautiful custom mirrors and vanity built by our trusted builders at EBHCI/Vivian Johnson Photography

I hope these secrets have demystified the interior design industry for you and empowered you to get started on your design journey. Book a Discovery Call with us today and become the CEO of your project, with our trusted help!


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