If you’re a design lover, you’ve no doubt wondered to yourself: Is it okay for me to ask my friend where she got her cushions, console, carpets, tapware, tables, dinnerware, or whatever it is, you fancy?
It can be a tricky situation because you don’t want to put anyone on the spot. But sometimes you just need to know – because you want it for yourself.
It can also be awkward, because if the tapware or table is really expensive, this friend might be shy about sharing the information. And equally, if she got the item on the cheap, she might want to keep her bargain-hunting secrets to herself. It can just be a tough position to find yourself in, on either side.
We discussed the issue among our design pals, and came up with a variety of answers on how to handle the situation.
Most of us find the question flattering, and consider it a major compliment when someone asks where we got something in our homes. It’s the most direct way a person can express that they like your taste, and how you’ve pulled your place together.
We are always happy to tell people information about items. We are often asking our friends the same question, so it’s great to be able to share interior finds with each other.
It’s much more awkward not to tell someone what the brand, or item, or sofa in question is. The only time we get a little secretive is when the item is seriously high-end. We always feel the need to say, ‘But we got it at Ikea’ or ‘We got it on sale’.
Aim to build the question into a conversation, and start with complimenting the piece. Asking straight out, can seem a little intense.
We think the question is more positive (flattering) than negative (awkward). And that it’s great when someone wants to use what we’ve used in our place, in their own pad. We couldn’t be more thrilled our design pal, Cameron Kimber used the same herringbone sisal matting as we have on the floor in our city pad, for flooring in his homes, showroom and clients’ houses. We consider it a big compliment.
We especially love it when an item we bought on sale is mistaken as designer. We see no harm in bargain-boasting.
For those who don’t want to tell people where an item is from, because they don’t want to be copied: remember, everyone has their own look, and ‘your’ item will look totally different in their environment, surrounded by their things.