Don’t Stop Now! How to Avoid Interior Design Fatigue

Filed under Return on Interiors

You are SOOOOOO close. I know, you’re SOOOOOO exhausted. When it feels like you’ve been working on this project (whether it’s a remodel, building or design project) FOREVER (in some cases you have), that’s when you know. You have design project fatigue.

Never fear! It’s curable. But, it’s also contagious 🙂

Be aware your clients are also susceptible to getting it. And your contractors, too!

Running any kind of design project is more of a marathon than a sprint. And the marathon is never a straight shot from point A to point B. It heads up the hills of really high highs (the popcorn ceiling is NO MORE, yeah!). But before the elation of your high dissipates, you’re slammed with the lowest of the lows (your client is completely OVER writing checks and questions every decision being made).

Oh, you get it, don’t you? Because design fatigue is all about being OVER IT! You don’t know if you can do it anymore.

Hang in there! Because when you start feeling like you’re OVER it, that’s the signal that this will soon end! Stay the course. Keep the faith. Take 5 deep breaths.

The team you’ve become for this project—made up of you, your contractors and your client—can and WILL get through this. There’s no avoiding design project fatigue, but you can minimize the swings. Here are my tips:

  1. Set expectations (from the beginning)
    Your client may or may not have ever gone through a design project before. At the beginning of your collaboration set the stage that frustration and setbacks are part of the journey and that they aren’t alone. Explain that you and your contractors will feel it as well.
  2. Give your client a handout at the beginning of the project. Let them know:
    • No matter how much you tape off areas, your house will be EXTREMELY dusty.
    • Noise is your constant companion.
    • There will be times when you are super excited and happy about the progress of your project!
    • Other days, unexpected things will leave you extremely upset. There may be delays, problems and broken furnishings.
    • Expect extras. Although the professionals on your project do their best to identify everything they can at the beginning of the project, there is usually something that happens during the project—an electrical issue or you may change your mind—that causes extra cost and time for your project.
    • Stay the course. Writing another check will make you second-guess your decisions, but trust the process.
  3. Communicate what you know when you know it
    Silence is never a good strategy when you feel like things are out of control. TALK to your client and contractors. It’s your job to make sure that everyone is on the same page!
  4. Talk about fatigue when you see it
    Be vigilant to watch for the first signs of design project fatigue. When you see the signs, talk to the team about the reality of what’s happening. When you bring the problem out in the open, it has a lot less power.
  5. Send in reinforcements
    Motivate your team with a little coffee or a small gift to let them know that you might be in the tough part now, but you’re almost to the end and it will be SO worth it!

On your next design project, when that pesky design project fatigue rears its ugly head, I hope these tips will help you stay the course. To make it even easier, download this cheat sheet so you will have it handy to encourage you!

Click Here to Get Your Guide to Overcoming Design Fatigue!



P.S. What ideas do you have to keep a project rolling when design project fatigue hits you all like the plague? Thanks for sharing in the comments below!