“[One time,] a couple of our installers showed up without masks and others kept taking them off,” Molly Torres Portnof of Date Interiors says. “Now, we have a COVID-19 checklist we send prior to the install, so we’re all on the same page before we’re in front of the clients.”
Speaking of the pandemic, clients’ hybrid work routines might turn your install day into a longer multiphase process. “Some clients are opting for a two-part install with months in between,” Traci Connell says. “While [it’s] not our preferred method, we can’t hold their furniture as ransom!”
For a happy medium, the Dallas-based designer compromises with a two-part install, provided her team can decorate full rooms at a time. “If a room install is incomplete, the client may start analyzing individual items instead of seeing the big picture,” she adds.
Mistake 4: Running out of accessories
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As the saying goes, the devil lies in the details—just ask Melanie Hay, who has had to run out multiple times during installs to pick up extra accessories. Her advice? Order at least double the amount of decor you think you’ll need and return the rest. “If a space is not properly accessorized with art, objects, books, toss cushions, throws, vases, pottery, and florals, it always falls flat,” the Canadian designer explains. “[With accessorizing], the end result is a richer, more layered, and curated space that feels truly finished.”
Hay adds that styling a home is an artful process—one that requires time and diligence—and encourages designers to build enough time into their install schedule to properly decorate a project. As a rule of thumb, Hay carves out one day per floor for styling.
Mistake 5: Missing a key tool or piece of hardware
Of course, home decor isn’t the only category designers should stock up on for install day. For Janelle Hughes and Kim Williams, principal designers of KJ Design and Mortar Styling LLC, it’s important to have a surplus of tools. Topping their list of must-haves: extra hardware for window treatments.
“The hardware that often comes packaged with curtain rods is not strong enough to hold the weight of certain fabrics, and nothing is more frustrating than having to patch and sand drywall holes on freshly painted walls,” the duo shares. “We recommend that designers always keep extra hardware handy in their toolbox, as well as inspect the maximum weight of curtain rods against the weight of curtain panels.”
Mistake 6: Realizing too late that a finish is wrong
Very few things can wreak havoc on install day like realizing an armchair arrived in the wrong colorway—or worse, damaged. That’s exactly why it’s important to double-check all pieces before the big day. “Check your furnishings yourself, with your own eyes—or one of your staff’s eyes—to make sure it’s the correct item, color, finish, and so on,” designer Rachel Cannon advises. “Your receiver is mainly checking for damage and may not know that nailheads should be brass instead of nickel.”