Recent studies tell us that 90% of the North American population do not visualize well. This means that most people see only what is actually in front of them, and do not see potential. Many people tell me they know what they like or do not like in terms of decor, but they do not know how to get there themselves. What a revelation this was for me soon after I started in this field. I fall into the other 10% who see the future possibilities, and I used to think that everyone saw the same way. When I am staging, because of this I know I have to show buyers what they want to see. They will not visualize the office as their third bedroom unless we show the room as a bedroom. They will not see past the pastel colors which the seller loves but which remind the buyers of their grandparents’ home. That is why colors, usage shown, and lifestyle selling are critical components of staging for sale.
When I am decorating, since most people do not visualize well, I know that a big part of my job is to help my client see what I see. There are various tools and strategies we can use, although it essentially comes down to their faith in my abilities. Consider a new construction project where we will choose flooring, wall tiles, doors, windows, trim work, lighting, contents, etc, working from a one dimensional building plan. I can see the space, the walls, the materials, the furniture placement, the textures and the colors. Chances are my client cannot. I am currently working on a rather unique new construction project where the clients are rebuilding a home they have lived in before. What an advantage, right? Well, not necessarily. The previous house had things a certain way, and this can be very hard to visualize beyond.
I have my own theories on why so few of us visualize, at least when it comes to homes. Certainly there are some who are just not interested, although the interest in the home shows on TV supports the theory that many are in fact fascinated with it. I think it may be in part because of our busy lives. We delegate our time and attentions carefully because there is only so much to share. For someone like me with a passion and career in home décor, the visualization skill has been honed and maintained. Of course it’s not unusual for me to forget the address of the house I am working on, so you see we all have our individual skills and our limitations.