What Interior Designers Should Consider When Going Custom


There is nothing quite like ordering the perfect custom light fixture for a kitchen, the most distinct and unique rug, or a tiling pattern unlike anything else. Whether it’s your vision that pushes you to go custom, or the desires of a client, custom-ordering goods comes with its own special satisfaction. However, as enjoyable as custom-ordering may be, where does the trade-off between customization and sensibility reach a tipping point? Here’s an easy-to-follow guide for the next time you’re making  the decision between custom or pre-made.

Written by Shai Wallach

Budget and Goals

The number one restriction for any custom-order is obviously the budget you are given to work with. By being realistic and upfront with your clientele regarding their limits, you can save the pain of letting them down on their fantasy of custom drapery later on. As much as a client may push for a custom order, the trade-off between budget and customization must be evaluated. That being said, there can always be the case where ordering custom is the best decision. This is when the client is prepared to sacrifice their budget in some areas in order to afford specialization, so be sure to go through priorities and goals with your clients beforehand to accommodate.

Existing Products

Rather than spending the time and effort trying to find something similar to your inspiration photo, try going with the photo itself! If a specific product or something similar already exists in the market and is easily accessible for you to order, you might as well save your client the money (and yourself the timely logistics  of ordering custom) and go with the pre-made version.

Feather’s Fine Home Furnishings, Photographed by Gina Zee Photography


One of the factors that must be addressed in the event of a custom order is timing. Since it is a given that a custom order will probably take longer than ordering a similar but pre-made good, you should evaluate the timing of your project. If the order time for custom isn’t feasible for the project, you may be better off going a different route and saving yourself the scramble of getting the project completed on time.  

Want Unique? Go Vintage!

If your client is insistent on exclusive and unique furnishings while straying as far away from Pottery Barn as possible, try going vintage! You will still be able to provide the rare and particular feel your client wants, but for a far better price. Plus, you’ll score your client major points for owning something with rich character and a possible backstory. Some of our favorite online destinations for sourcing one-of-a-kind items are Chairish, Viyet, 1stdibs, Everything But The House and One Kings Lane.

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