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Lucy Smith on Storytelling in Design

interior design

client communication

Lucy Smith shares five questions to help you uncover your client's story.

Words by 

Megan Hill

Published on 

July 27, 2022

interior design client questionnaire, interior design client questions, understanding clients, understanding interior design clients, client goals and drivers, client intake questionnaire, client intake questions,

Lucy Smith offers a range of interior design packages and sources unusual antiques through her business Lucy Madeleine Design.

It starts with a DM

Lucy's Instagram feed functions as an antique auction of sorts—a place to showcase and sell her vintage homeware finds. It is not unusual for a client to find her page on Instagram and subsequently slide into her DMs to find out more!

Following this initial contact, Lucy prefers to work face-to-face when possible. However, Lucy also offers e-design services, which of course are conducted remotely—all Lucy needs are images of the space and rough room measurements.

Answer the question

Lucy starts a consultation with a general chat and, ideally, a viewing of the space. But prior to their first meeting, Lucy will send her client a questionnaire. The questionnaire functions as a way to get to know a little bit more about logistics: budget, the scope of work etc. and, crucially, what they want to achieve from the space.

Challenges can arise when a client's style doesn't correlate with what Lucy typically offers and so it's best that everyone has realistic expectations from the outset.

No risk, no reward

Lucy's design philosophy: "Sometimes you have to push the boundaries a little. Just take a risk and hope your client loves it!" For Lucy, the best part of the job is orchestrating that element of surprise. Whether that be presenting an unexpected colour scheme or an unsual funriture piece.

Client deep dive

In order to surprise her clients int he right way, Lucy must be sure of their tastes, preferences, and story. We asked Lucy to share the 5 must-ask questions to uncover a client's story.

  1. Who do you admire for their taste or style?
    This could be anyone. An interior designer, influencer, actor, artist, or even a friend who has a particular taste that you like or are intrigued by.
  2. What are your main goals for the design of your space?
    Do you want to see updated furnishings and better lighting? Do you need better functionality and more storage? Maybe you just want your space to feel more cohesive?
  3. Where would you usually shop?
    Be it for fashion or homeware, do you shop certain brands specifically for their styling or home décor?
  4. When looking at your space, what type of aesthetic look would you like to find?
    Is the space used for work, entertaining, family gatherings, displaying artwork/collections, or simply relaxing?
  5. Why do you want my help in particular?
    What about my style drew you in? Why are we a good mtach?


Got a question for Lucy? Check out her website. Find more of Lucy's work on Instagram.

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