Working with a skilled interior designer is not for everyone. Some people want immediate, cosmetic results and don’t want to take time to establish a relationship with a designer. Some people lack the resources to invest in professional help. Some just want to do it themselves. So who is the ideal interior design client, then? Expert interior designer Lori Wiles shares what makes the best designer-client partnerships.

● The best clients are experts in their field

The first quality that makes a great client, Lori says, is that they excel at what they do. When a client has deep knowledge and skill, no matter what that area may be, they often seek out the same high level of expertise in others. Rather than pouring over trade manuals and videos about why one faucet is recommended over another, an ideal interior design client wants knowledge shared efficiently and effectively by a person who does their research as they maintain their own expertise in the field of design.

● The best clients are successful people

Clients who have achieved a certain level of personal and professional accomplishment want their spaces to reflect this. They know what it feels like to have “made it.” They want to continue that feeling in the office or at home and extend that comfort to others who enter their spaces.

● The best clients value personal attention

An expert designer never designs a space without a context, and a successful project must incorporate function, balance, and emotional satisfaction. This means the designer will need to know the client’s personal preferences and habits, present options specifically tailored to the client and get feedback. People who want to recreate rooms in catalogs, rather than have a space created specifically for them, don’t need the care, attention, or expertise of a highly skilled designer.

● The best clients are willing to trust a discreet professional

When Lori sits down with new clients, one of the first things she does is share the importance of privacy and ensures everything she learns about stays absolutely secure. In order to create spaces that meet the needs of a client, she often knows personal information. A meaningful client-designer relationship requires trust and discretion.

● The best clients want exceptional results

For the ideal client, good is not enough. All of the work Lori does looks stunning, feels satisfying, and performs. Each project needs to speak not only to the client but is an example of the art and craft of fine design. When her team works on a design, she asks, “Okay, now how can we make this exceptional? How can we make this unique?” To move beyond what’s been done before takes courage and a willingness to accept some risk. Not every client is willing to move beyond a showroom and create something personally meaningful. The best clients are willing to move past common to get amazing spaces. Or, as Lori says, the best clients trust her with their likes, dislikes, needs, and tastes, and get results that are “knock-you-out-gorgeous.”