Christina Kittelstad is a tutor of QC Design School and an accomplished color consultant, home stager and painter whose work has been featured on HGTV’s show House Hunters. She is the owner and lead color consultant for Spiral Design Color Consulting. She’s best known for creating beautiful, functional spaces through the use of color and creating a sense of style and personality that’s as unique as each of her clients.
Color consultants have a wealth of information and resources to share with their design clients. With over 18 years of experience consulting, I know I certainly do! Some of this comes from education and networking, while the rest comes from good old-fashioned experience and hard work.
Design clients tend to ask lots of questions—I’ve been asked some crazy ones. Here are a few of those questions along with my answers and a few helpful tips!
Question: Why should I hire you to choose colors when I can just choose them myself?
Answer: First of all, if a client says this, they are definitely not my ideal clients, and I may choose to pass. However, my answer is this: Yes, you can choose colors yourself. But they may or may not work out and be what you were hoping for.
Are you willing to risk it on your own or is it worth pennies on the dollar to get it right the first time? My many years of experience combined with color training and education allows me to recommend perfect color schemes that best fit your design goals while saving a lot of time and money.
Tip: Know your worth. Period. Do not waste your time and energy trying to convince a potential client to work with you if they don’t seem interested or invested. Explain your services and fees in a polite way, and be eager to get started. If they are still on the fence, they are probably not a good fit for you and will be a problem client.
Question: Why doesn’t my house look amazing and perfect after I paint everything?
Answer: Well, color and paint go a long way in designing a beautiful home. But many other details must be considered as well, such as paint finishes, flooring, lighting, furnishings, textiles, and accessories.
Tip: The Color Consultant Course can be super helpful in teaching you, the consultant, to set realistic expectations with your clients’ design goals.
Question: Can we hire you for a color consultation, and pay you after we receive our color plan?
Answer: Ummm, no. I’m sorry, but I do not work for free. (Okay I don’t really say that). What I do say (in a more professional way) is this: I require my consultation fee at the start of the project. Once I receive your fee, I will have your color plan delivered to you within 2 days. This compensates me for my time and materials required to create a beautiful color plan for you.
Tip: Do not work for free. Always ask for at least 50% payment up front before starting any project with a client. The deposit transaction builds commitment from both consultant and client.
Question: Can you come to my home for an evening consultation after I get home from work, feed my family, and put my children to bed?
Answer: No, I’m sorry, but I am available during normal business hours as I also have commitments to attend to. If scheduling is an issue, I would love to schedule a virtual consultation with you. The consultation can be done at any time convenient for you through phone and email. Also, evenings are a terrible time to choose colors because of the lack of natural light in the home.
Tip: Set a realistic schedule that is both professional and works well for you. Be open to adjusting it as needed, but do not rearrange your life or take time away from other deserving clients.
Over the years I have also had clients ask some really GREAT questions and I wish more clients would ask these. Here are a few!
Question: How do I choose a color palette that reflects my personal design style and goals for my home?
Answer: Great question! Take a look at your current home. What do you like or dislike? How do you want your home to make you feel? What colors do you wear the most? Take color clues from these answers.
Tip: QC’s Color Consultant course provides instruction on exactly how to discover what your client is looking for!
Question: Should the exterior and interior of my home be similar in both design style and color scheme?
Answer: Yes! Different color consultants may answer this question differently, but I believe the exterior and interior of your home should flow together in a balanced way. This means using similar color palettes and design styles to create a cohesive look that shines!
Tip: If your client has already painted the exterior of their home and they love it, and they’ve discovered their own personal design style, take it as a tip. Assist them in mirroring the same look for their interiors. They will love the results!
Question: Can I paint the same color in more than one room?
Answer: Of course! There is absolutely no reason that it’s a requirement to use totally different colors throughout a home. I encourage using the same color in different rooms to pull a home together and create a well-balanced design.
Tip: A master bedroom and its ensuite are great spaces to pull in the same or similar colors, to create a master suite that feels beautiful, open and relaxing.
Question: What in the world do I do with the ceilings?
Answer: The ceilings should not be ignored and have tons of potential! If a client likes having an accent color, go for it on the ceilings in a balanced way. If they like light and bright, choose lighter whites and neutrals. Either way, there are great options!
Tip: A ceiling is the fifth wall in a room. Remember to always factor them into the overall design. It’s a great way to bring in some color pop and wow your clients!
As you can see, color consultant clients ask all sorts of great questions regarding the color and design process. You’ll also be asked some not-so-great questions. But you need to have a professional answer ready that maintains healthy boundaries and sets realistic expectations with our clients. This approach will create best-case scenarios, and set you up for successful projects with your ideal clients!
What other questions do you often hear from your design clients? Let us know!