Continuing the theme of where you are now in your design journey, I want to dig into a common situation we all find ourselves in some of the time. That is the process of taking advice from others. It is entirely necessary in life to get advice on many of the decisions we make. Not only will they have knowledge we can apply, but outside input can enrich the final product significantly.
If I buy a car, I want to ask as many questions as I can, and preferably from unbiased sources. Of course there is no such thing as a completely unbiased opinion. Instead I just try to talk to people who are not too set in their ways, and have an open mind about helping me in my goal. At the same time, I need to feel confident that I am getting the best car for my needs. And of course I have to like it. So it can be a tricky balancing act if I have to rely on people I perceive to be more knowledgeable than me, and they are telling me the opposite of what I want to hear. How do we bridge the gap between our desires and the input of trusted sources?
This can be a bit loaded, because we often don’t even realize we’re doing it. We may perceive what others admire and agree with it, without noticing that we’re overriding our own preferences. Any time you don’t feel completely confident in your knowledge (be it cars, real estate, art, wine, the list goes on), you may second guess your preferences and worry that you’ll regret your choices if you don’t listen to the informed opinions of others. And, in fact, you may be right! So you have to dig deep with certain ideas and do your research.
In all likelihood, you can have what you want, it just might take some tweaking to get it right. If you’re asking for feedback from others on your design plans, I recommend that you ask an array of people, both from the design field and not, so that you can see if there are things that come up again and again, positive or negative. It can be helpful to ask people why they feel the way they do: “Why do you like the idea of me opening up this space?” Hopefully they are looking at it not just as design, but as something that represents you as a person. And it’s especially exciting when you hear two completely different people give the same response to your idea (hopefully a positive response!) because that suggests there is something inherent in the concept that reads clearly to others.
It’s also common to choose things based on the idea of entertaining guests, and what will wow them. On the surface that makes sense, but it is you who inhabits the space every day. Therefore, it is important for your home to feel authentic. When you’re living in a home that truly reflects who you are, guests will notice and appreciate it. And, importantly, so will you.
So, on the one hand, advice from a trusted friend or family member can be very helpful. On the other hand, these extra voices can often crowd your ability to follow your own inner compass. Try to strike a balance between being open to critique and trusting your own vision.