The greatest challenge for Brits, is to say ‘I hate it’.
I’m disappointed that this series of The Great Interior Design Challenge has finished its run. The show is a great favourite in our house. We enjoy the variety of the architectural designs the contestants take on and the ingenuity of their end products. But what became glaringly obvious in this second series, was the inability of the homeowners to tell the designers to their face that the plans they had for their own homes were not what they wanted or asked for.
in fact, the ultimate winner of the competition had left a trail of tearful and disappointed clients in her wake. But her ‘daring’ and ‘bold’ designs were hailed as a triumph by the judges. One poor chap was left with a small room painted a dark green that would have depressed the most optimistic of souls. After complaining that he ‘just wouldn’t be able to live with the colour,’ the man gained the huge concession of not having the ceiling painted green too.
You could sense that for many of those giving up rooms in their homes for the competition, the local painter and decorator would be moving in just as soon as the cameras rolled out.
But what fascinated me most, was how difficult the homeowners found it to express their dislike of the proposals set out to them by the designer. The most any of them could say was that ‘they were a little unsure about certain aspects’. These reservations were easily dismissed. Only in the final, did one of the homeowners have the gumption to stop work on her beautiful period flat half way through, declaring forcibly that it wasn’t what she wanted. We were cheering!! Then, of course, that particular designer won. Her bullying disregard for others was oddly viewed as ‘visionary’ and ‘brave’. Well, it was easy to be brave, she didn’t have to live with the end results.
So we learnt a few interesting things from the series. Firstly, and most importantly, we learnt to never employ the services of an interior designer. Most people are perfectly clear about what they want in their own homes. A trip to B&Q would do the job just as well.
Secondly, we’ve learnt that it’s important not to be too British when telling someone that you don’t like what they are proposing. Understating matters clearly isn’t enough. It’s why many of us fall prey to doorstep sellers and cold callers. We don’t want to offend or upset people. Well, forget that. Otherwise you’ll end up living in a dark green box, or with an extremely hefty redecoration bill.