Memo to HGTV: You’re a blessing and a curse.
Sure, you’ve democratized interior home design with DIY ideas presented by gorgeous, sensitive on-air designer-hosts. Some of the ideas are really good and some no doubt will save the masses of HGTV viewers some money.
But the problem with democratization is that it leads to homogenization. The unique voice of the interior designer is being lost because the client thinks he knows best. It’s become the bland leading the blander. Now we’ve got a lot of really crappy beige design, both figuratively and literally.
Look, I believe DIY has its place. But DIY is craftwork, it’s not interior design.
There are many who believe that interior design is fluffing pillows or picking some artwork to be framed. It’s much more than that. It’s space planning. It’s knowing historical references. It’s picking fine furniture and rich fabrics. It’s creating an environment with a multi-layered aesthetic.
Most important, it’s understanding psychology. What are the individual clients’ needs? What is their lifestyle? What do the children want? What is the client’s narrative, family history? Can the client be convinced that investing in long-term quality is much more rewarding that instant gratification that may come from copying the latest wallpaper pattern on HGTV?
Some argue that interior design is no different than fashion. You have couture and then you have prêt-à-porter (ready to wear). The difference is that you wear lots of different kinds of clothes, and there are plenty of choices available, thanks to mass production. But you have only one home, and it’s where you spend time living, loving, creating, raising a family, marking milestones. There is, arguably, no other more important space in your life.