5 Interior Designer Secrets that May Surprise You

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Wine Country interior designer, Dana Feagles, reveals interior designer secrets that may leave her peers clutching their pearls.

Transparency, honesty, integrity. Blah blah blah, right? Well, as an interior designer with good humor, and underdog-leaning tendencies, I love to spill the tea. So I’m sharing some surprising interior designer secrets.

Why share these secrets, you ask? 

I want to demystify interior design. I want to make interior design more approachable, more accessible, and more relatable. 

Not all interior designers are hoity-toity snobs who get off on turning other people’s houses into their personal masterpieces. Some of us (ME) truly enjoy helping you create a home that perfectly reflects you – not my tastes or needs, but yours.

And this is the first step in creating the home you were always meant to have.


If you trust your designer, you are well on your way.

Let’s get started!

Want to learn more about Revelry Interior Design and how we can help redesign your home into a more cohesive, finished space? Book your complimentary Discovery Call today.

Interior Designer Secret #1: Photoshoots are 100% staged

Those beautiful images you see in magazines, on Houzz and Pinterest, in your favorite furniture catalog? All fake.

When designers do photoshoots, they prep the house by removing all of the personal items from the shot, they bring in large scale accessories and artwork that speak better to the camera, and they even move furniture around so that it all fits into the camera frame perfectly.

They are not capturing how people actually live in their own space.

Don’t be fooled by these “made up versions of reality” – there is no such thing as a perfect pinterest home! 

Interior Designer Secret #2: Most of a designer’s work will not be visible on their website

While we’re on the topic of photoshoots, it’s important to note that not all of a designer’s work is able to be photographed and shared.

Due to various circumstances like Non Disclosure Agreements, small rooms with no good angle, and working on a project that just doesn’t quite fit with the designer’s overall brand, not everything is made public. It’s always a good idea to ask a designer if they have any examples of their work that’s not on their website – chances are they do!

Interior Designer Secret #3: Home improvement shows are a source of frustration

Designers tend to raise their eyebrows at HGTV and the like for the unrealistic expectations that it portrays.

Packing a kitchen remodel into a 30-minute timeframe is misleading and only sets you up for disappointment.

Not to mention that costs in the San Francisco bay Area, especially Marin and the Napa Valley, are much higher than most places. So, even when the budget is discussed on these TV shows, it is wildly lower than what homeowners here will pay.

Watch these shows for inspiration, but don’t hire an interior designer or a contractor and expect the process to be the same.

Interior Designer Secret #4: Designers shop at IKEA

Yes, it’s true. Interior designers are known to bargain shop for their own homes. But, there is a good reason for this – designers know where to splurge and where to scrimp, especially when there are kids or pets in the home.

A good designer should be sensitive to your bottom line, and sometimes this means that you splurge on a custom sectional in the living room but shop at West Elm for the family room.

Be wary of an interior designer who won’t bargain hunt for you – I can smell the hypocrisy all the way from my IKEA desk!

Interior Designer Secret #5: The crafts and tradespeople are the real heroes

Interior designers would be stuck in the mud without the talented people who make their visions tangible. From cabinet makers to wallpaper and tile installers to furniture builders, we rely on their skills to make our unique designs a reality.

If this blog post were titled “5 secrets of the builder industry,” one of the secrets would probably be that some interior designers have wild ideas that send a builder’s head spinning – but with the best team at your grasp, anything can be built, crafted, constructed and installed with a little bit of problem solving and innovation. 

I hope these secrets have demystified the interior design industry for you and empowered you to get started on your design journey. Book a Discovery Call with me today and let’s get started!

Looking for an expert Interior Designer that you can trust?

Email me, Dana, at dana@revelryinteriordesign.com and tell me about your needs, your hurdles, and your dreams for your home.

We will have a blast designing your home together! 

I work in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties in California. I also provide virtual interior design services nationwide.

Or book a complimentary Discovery Call here to learn more about Revelry Interior Design.

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