Is Design only for the wealthy ?

It is a common notion that Design is for the wealthy and not within the reach of everybody. This is a misconception as it is equally important to get a space designed when the user is trying to cut costs. Infact a project that truly inspires and allows a designer to get creative could be a budget-minded renovation. One may ask, “How is this possible?”

Infact sometimes it requires more creativity to design a small space to make it functional, aesthetic, and budget thoughtful. In such cases the designer’s focus remains on factors such as comfort, economy, environment, light-air circulation rather than just beauty and looks.

Without doubt most Designers love to work on high end projects as it offers the designer most freedom, but design is about problem solving. Infact the capability of a designer is most evident on a project with budget constraints. The client can compare the cost of having a designer with the value added to the project. On a large project a few percent of value added would cover the cost the designer; although on a smaller project, it maybe a little trickier. With the use of a designer, a space can be optimized in usage and therefore its value multiplies. The value of using a designer is in having an environment created that suits the clients’ needs, wants and desires, and to do it within their budget. If a good plan is created, it can even be implemented in stages.

In India and in this market, there is a strong perception that designers work only on luxury projects. And for many designers, good designs and expensive designs go hand in hand. Although it does appear as if designers chase big bucks, but the truth is that mass designs are the most difficult to create. The users of such designs usually have limited budget and time and therefore, as a designer, one has to work with them to offer quality products fitting their budget and timelines.

colored-pencils-colour-pencils-mirroring-color-37539-largeWhile working on large projects with restrictive budgets, and keeping the main idea as function first, meaning creating a functional, ergonomic, aesthetically pleasant space on a limited budget (a challenge in itself) and then to improve the aesthetics through basics like colour, texture and inexpensive artwork that integrates perfectly into the design. Designers can change the perception of clients: that designing a space is not luxury, but a necessity and that creativity only improves environments and experiences in a space.

For a designer, every project is important, from small and budget oriented, to large and luxury. Although Design may mean creating ‘that’ special look for the client, creating the dream into reality for the client is what makes it all work. People just need to understand that it is okay to hire a designer even when they don’t have a lot of money.

If the designer is honest that a certain item or option would not fit into the client’s budget, and thereby offering alternatives can help in producing a different look for their space and there is no reason why this perception will not change and therefore make way for more projects in the future.

Designers also ought to remember that comfort, tastefulness, and class many times have nothing to do with wealth. Design should always serve function first. A deep understanding of function and psychology and training can help in fulfilling all client’s needs within a desired budget.

Consumers and business owners must recognize the value of having planned spaces. Not all spaces need luxury. One can have informal or downright low budget designed spaces. It is at the end of the day all about perception and client education.