White Sofas & Working with Clients
September 17, 2012
So I posted this from my iPhone and regrettably, not all of the copy made it onto the blog… only the last paragraph to be more exact… but here is what I had tried to say: I love a white sofa. They are like a design chameleon in that they can take on what ever you decide to pair with them, bright pillows, a patterned chair, a fur throw, whatever. They can go romantic, country, modern and traditional and they look good doing it. Now I appreciate that not all lifestyles support the practicality of a white sofa, but you can choose a chenille that would be very forgiving, or a cotton slip-cover that’s washable or you could teach the beloved dog not to jump on the livingroom sofa… When I thought about writing this post I considered going back and looking to see how many times I’ve posted about white sofas, but I decided not to because I’m sure it’s a pretty big number and everyone knows decorators aren’t too good at counting that high. For me a white sofa is truly a blank canvas. You can still go any direction with a room and what I think I like best is that a sofa is typically your largest piece of furniture in a given room, it’s really a good idea to keep it neutral so that it doesn’t become the “elephant” in the room – no offense to elephants. I have found that clients get excited about patterns and colors more so than a tonal or neutral scheme, this makes sense there is just more visually to see and fall in love with, but once you have lived with a white ( or neutral ) sofa and/or room you understand how great they are to live with.
I was at a wedding this weekend at a clients home – the one we designed and built the pergola for – and was chatting with a family friend. He asked about the business and assumed that the very first thing I did to find direction was to consult the client. Without hesitation I quickly informed him that was the third thing I did, after considering the architecture of the home and forming my own opinion as to scale of furniture, furniture placement, general color palette and the like. Only then would I discuss with the client what it is they would hope for the space and we would begin the negotiation from there. Don’t get me wrong, I give my clients what they want, but they choose from options that I have given them so It’s important to have a strong conviction and a strong vision to help guide the client to furnishings that will suit their lifestyle, budget and still give them the look they want and achieve a look I can be proud of as well. What I have learned is: put the personality in the smaller pieces and the accessories. Chairs and sofas should be able to stand up to your changing tastes, trends and any remodel or move. Good furniture lasts a long time, choose carefully, and put your wild colors and patterns on your pillows.
The last thing I’d like to say today is that it is not easy for me to create a room without pattern and with little to no color. It takes restraint, big time! Do you know how many beautiful prints and patterns there are? And how many more are being produced constantly? I LOVE the look in the three images posted today but the reality is it takes major control to create, clients don’t usually get very excited about cream, beige and tan color schemes and more people than not want color and pattern. That being said, this is a look I’m very comfortable in. Left to my own this is the aesthetic I would create for clients but the truth is the client wins more often than I do and that’s ok. I really do care more about making someone happy than flexing my design muscle and in the end I have my own home to decorate as I wish, white sofa and all!