Paola Marella's advice
What are people looking for in terms of home design today?
Today when I talk to people and listen to their needs with regard to home design, what emerges most clearly is the desire for fresh solutions and design schemes people can enjoy living in, where they will always feel at ease. People want to give their homes a new look but without spending too much. They are in search of something fresh, in terms of both redesigning spaces and furnishings, but they are equally interested, perhaps because they have no option, in keeping costs down. This means that the preference often goes to materials that are not top grade but are still attractively styled and can make the room feel very fresh and new. It’s the old “Cheap & Chic” back with us again! I think this phrase encapsulates what most people are in search of today, not only for their clothes but also for their living spaces.
So what do they want from architects, interior designers and professionals in general?
First and foremost, it is worth pointing out that these days, the audience for TV programmes on interior decoration and home furnishings has grown amazingly, so there is no doubt that during the last few years people have increasingly felt the need for “expert” advice. There is a very strong demand for guidance from a home design professional who can put people’s ideas in order and give them advice about how to find their way around the often chaotic universe of design options and how to choose from the vast assortment of new objects and materials on offer. What’s more, people often need or want to combine “new” and “old” (or “vintage” to use a rather overworked term) items, creating a blend that makes sense and above all that looks good. However, here again there are two parameters we must not forget: needs and budget. Let’s say that people planning to design a new home or carry out large-scale restructuring will prefer to work with an architect, because they will need someone who can not only give them advice on decorative features but also design spaces and volumes. On the other hand, people whose requirements only relate to furnishings, the best way to combine shapes, colours and materials, and specific guidance on the latest design trends, will turn to an interior designer. Naturally, in general terms the advice of a professional such as an architect or an interior designer implies costs not everyone can or wants to pay, and for this reason the new figure of the Home Stager has recently emerged; home stagers do not have any specific architectural or design training but just “have a good eye for home design”, meaning that they are able to help people to organise their ideas and give them advice on furnishings, the choice of colours or materials, or how to “freshen up” an interior that is looking a little old-fashioned.
As a respected expert, what do you see as the secret to making the right decisions on important questions like home and interior design?
From my point of view the secret to not getting it wrong when designing a home and/or an interior is always to turn to an professional, who may be an architect, an interior designer, a home stager or just the person who sells you the furnishings. I think that people who are not used to finding their way around the “home and interior design” world can easily make silly mistakes, which could easily be avoided by asking one of these professionals for advice. Often personal taste is not sufficient basis for the right choice, and needs to be guided and interpreted by people who have made home and interior design their life’s work.