Dorothy Draper said it best, "Decorating is Fun!" And it should be a fun process for both client and designer.
The key to a successful interior design project is finding the right match between a client and their designer (and vice versa). When meeting with a potential client, I often refer to finding an interior designer is similar to dating. It's important to find someone who "gets" you - where there is a natural chemistry and someone who is going to make the project fun! There are a lot of details, time and money that go into a project, however, I believe that the client should enjoy the process. A designer that makes you feel comfortable, allowing you to trust them is a pretty good indicator that there is a spark!
When meeting with new clients, I do my best to explain the full process of hiring an interior designer and how a room is completed from start to finish. Many of my clients have never worked with a designer before, and educating the client about how the industry works and how you, personally, run your design business is foundational to getting the relationship off on the right foot.
Of course, once you think you've "met the one," it still takes time getting to know each other and fully articulating the vision you have/or don't have for your project. As a designer, I always encourage my clients to flip through magazines and pull out pages that have jumped out at them. It may not be a complete room they've fallen in love with, but maybe it's a small element such as a mantle design or a specific chair. Interior designers, unfortunately, are not mind readers, so any feedback and information we can pull from the client helps us to efficiently and accurately design your space. In turn, my job is to listen intently and then relay back to my client what I heard them say to make sure we are on the same page. Trust me, I've had some bad hair cuts even after I've shown a picture to my hair dresser what I want, but then have walked out with a horrible cut knowing that they didn't hear a lick of what I said! Which then costs me more money to find someone else to fix it!
I recently came across a great article explaining the beauty of finding an interior designer you've fallen in love with. It can be a beautiful thing both figuratively and literally!