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Broken Pieces

The Never Ending Saga of Broken Furniture

Ah, the glamorous life of an interior designer! From the outside, it might seem like a dreamy world of creativity and sleek interiors, but let me tell you, it’s not all sunshine and perfectly arranged throw pillows. Especially when it comes to the never-ending saga of broken furniture.

Picture this: You’ve spent years honing your design skills, graduated from design school with flying colors, and landed a gig at a high-end residential design firm. Life is good, right? Wrong. Before you know it, you’re the designated complaint handler, the bearer of bad news, the one who deals with the shattered dreams of clients who just wanted a nice, unbroken coffee table.

Handling complaints in a design firm is like being the referee in a game where everyone else is playing dirty. But hey, it’s character-building, or so I told myself as I navigated the treacherous waters of shipping damages and irate clients.

Let’s talk about the furniture arriving broken – it’s practically a rite of passage. It’s like the universe is testing your resolve to see if you really have what it takes to be a designer. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t get any easier, but you do get better at handling it.

Designer to Designer Pro tip: Always mark your furniture enough to cover the cost of sending it back for repairs. Good vendors might cover the shipping damages, but it’s wise to have a Plan B (and maybe even a Plan C) just in case. Because when your $30,000 dining table arrives with a damaged leaf, you better have a solution that doesn’t involve sending it back overseas and waiting for months.

baby on dresser

I once had a client whose child thought a cabinet door was a swing – talk about unexpected acrobatics. They wanted me to foot the bill for the repair, as if I had personally taught their kid gymnastics on the side. Then came the crockpot incident – apparently, I’m not just a designer; I’m also a magician who can make kitchen appliances levitate and crash onto countertops. It’s hard to believe but this is the same client who once asked me to buy back her table after nine months of use, as I almost forgot that peculiar request.

But here’s the kicker: I fixed it. Broken doors, shattered countertops, you name it – I turned disasters into success stories. It’s all part of the job, right? Well, no, I didn’t buy back her table because that is just absurd. I’m not Costco. While I didn’t break the countertop, the General Contractor lent a hand in this particular repair while my furniture repairman came in to adjust the hinges on the cabinet door.


When faced with a client’s request to return a table just shy of its one-year mark, I found myself tempted to point out, ‘I’m not Costco; we don’t operate on a one-year return policy.’

Dealing with challenging clients is an art form in itself. Some of them don’t want to pay invoices, blame you for everything from broken furniture to kitchen mishaps, and generally make your life as complicated as assembling a piece of Swedish furniture without the instructions. In this business, you’ll encounter the good, the bad, and the downright perplexing. But you soldier on, not just for the love of design, but for the fear of a bad review haunting you like a ghost in the showroom.

Bending over backward to please a client and avoid a bad review may feel like a gymnastic feat, but sometimes a balanced approach works better for both parties. So, to all the designers out there, may your creations be sturdy, your clients understanding, and your sense of humor intact – because, in the end, laughter might just be the best fix for a world full of broken pieces.


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What is Designer's Corner?


In this blog, tutorials, business advice, and shared experiences merge to guide the path for aspiring interior designers. The author, a seasoned interior designer with over two decades of experience in transforming spaces has encountered a myriad of clients, each with their unique quirks and peculiar requests. Here, the tutorials offer invaluable insights into the craft, while business advice extends a guiding hand to novices. Yet, it's the Designer's Corner where the past informs the present, and the future of design is shaped with every shared story. Embracing the industry's lighter facets, anecdotes are shared, and the occasional absurdity is met with laughter, fostering a community where designers find solace and wisdom in the collective journey. Whether you're a designer seeking affirmation, a client looking to hire, or navigating your own renovation project, this space can be a guide.