The Problem With Using Social Media as a Design Education

What advice do you have for designers preparing for their first show house experience?

It is not for the faint of heart! You have to realize what an opportunity it is to present a space that you’ve created to the masses. You should really push it as far as you can go in terms of what you’re trying to create, and make sure that it’s visually appealing and different and exciting. But it should be within reason—it can be exciting and beautiful without being too editorial.

Outside of show house stressors, what’s been bothering you as of late?

I’ve been saying this for the past couple of years, but I feel like it’s more important than ever for people to apprentice and to put their time in and to learn this craft before launching out on their own and just, you know, deciding to become a decorator. It’s a real disservice to our industry when there is this lack of experience.

Listen, clients are tricky. And there are no real industry standards for us. I work in a certain way, and I’ve learned this from people whom I have worked for in my past. When people don’t have that base of knowledge and experience from the business point of view, it discredits how we practice as a business.

Why do you think this issue is more prevalent now?

Social media. It has been a great tool for all of us—and I don’t want to begrudge anybody making money and doing their thing—but it’s important that people are still putting good design out there in the world. It doesn’t have to be my taste, but we’re seeing so much of the same thing over and over right now. People see that trending design and then it gets copied and spread out, and it’s just not exciting.

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Participating in this year’s show house was about sharing “where I am in my career and in my life,” says Henderson. “For me, that’s embracing more color.”


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