6 Reasons Designers Won’t Disclose Their Resources for Free

It’s not uncommon for someone to message us on Instagram or send us an email asking for information about one of our projects they’ve seen online. Maybe they’re considering DIY-ing their own home renovation, or just looking for new pieces to spruce up a room in their space. We’ve been asked to provide details about where we’ve purchased furniture, specific paint mixtures we’ve used — and, believe it or not — we’ve even been asked to provide floor plans before. All for free! 

While it’s flattering to know that our work is admired, these questions are actually highly disrespectful. We are skilled specialists trying to maintain the integrity of our craft. We simply cannot provide answers to these questions at no cost. This blog will help you understand why. 

Interior Design by Urbane Design

Reason #1: The resources you’re wanting details on are only available at trade-only stores

Trade-only stores sell things like furniture, hardware and fixtures to certified professionals in the design, architecture and construction industry. You must hold a professional license to have access to the pieces; they are not available to the general public. Through these trade-only stores, we are able to provide our clients bespoke, unique furnishings and materials that they could not find themselves. So, even if we disclosed the details of these stores, the average person would not be able to access them.

Reason #2: The items you’re looking for aren’t available anymore

Oftentimes, things like paint colors, furniture, art, or materials that we get asked about are simply not in stock anymore, or they were custom made for a specific client. We can’t give away the details of custom-made projects (more explained below), and if they’re discontinued, we wouldn’t be able to find them anyway.

Reason #3: The design belongs to the client who paid for it

Our clients pay large amounts of money for the work that goes into designing their spaces. We enter a contractual agreement to deliver unique designs to them and only them. By giving away the products of our service that they have paid for, we are doing our client a disservice and violating their contract. Imagine paying $100,000 for the kitchen of your dreams, only to have your designer hand the floor plan over to a stranger for free? You probably wouldn’t be too happy at the thought of someone else reaping the benefits of the work you paid for at no cost to them.

Reason #4: Our designs are proprietary 

Interior design is a highly competitive, service-based industry. The “secret sauce” of each individual company is in the ideas that its designers bring to the table. It is the way we make our livelihoods — why would we give away something that important for free?

A huge benefit of hiring designers is that you gain access to our wealth of skills, connections and resources. We’ve spent years and years building our knowledge of design in order to provide our clients with spaces that enrich their lives in ways they didn’t know possible. While we do believe that design should be accessible, at the end of the day it is a business, and we reserve our knowledge for our paying customers.

Reason #5: We simply don’t recall the specifics

We work on many projects and with a number of different vendors and manufacturers. It’s impossible to recall every single aspect of the job — and unfortunately, we simply do not have time to dig through piles of project documentation.

Reason #6: Individuals don’t have have the same industry relationships as us

Many of the vendors we work with deal exclusively with designers and industry professionals that deliver economies of scale. They often do not communicate with one-off individuals, and if they do, their priority is still their industry clients so their response times could be very slow. Simply put — these vendors follow the money, so even if we disclosed contact information, you may not get the kind of response you’re looking for.

You wouldn’t ask the best restaurant in town for the recipe of their most popular dish, or ask a mechanic for the exact steps to fix your car yourself — so please don’t do this to interior designers! Instead of asking for proprietary information for free, find a designer that offers consultations and pay the rate they’ve set for that service. Or, you could hire the designer to take your vision from concept to completion. 


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