What Does Luxury Mean to You?

Luxury is not what it used to be. Before the days of mass commercialization, luxury was, well, a luxury. Few people could afford luxury items. They were a symbol of wealth and prestige. Today, even people with modest means can own a designer handbag, watch or gown (or a fine imitation). Gourmet items are sold in neighborhood supermarkets. Well-designed, stylish furniture and handcrafted accessories can be purchased at reasonable prices through the Internet.

The economic hardships that followed from the last recession put a damper on luxury purchases, and those with wealth chose less conspicuous forms of consumption, such as luxury vacations and getting fit and pampered at a spa resort. Today, luxury is not about the kinds of possessions one owns but about the quality of one’s life—health, wellness, relationships, fulfillment. Nonetheless, when clients hire designers they often envision a “luxurious” result. How can you deliver on that promise?

In a world in which the meaning of luxury is in flux, where celebrities and CEOs are just as happy to shop Pottery Barn as Schumacher, it’s up to you to define luxury for your clients. Ultimately, luxury is a state of mind. Helping your clients achieve the dream of their ideal home is in itself a luxury. Provide them with spaces that are both aesthetically engaging and highly functional, make their lives a little less complicated by minimizing maintenance and cleaning, create an environment where they can relax with family and friends or escape from the demands of their daily lives, and they will luxuriate in a home custom-designed to fit their needs and a make their wishes come true.

Yes, you may have less opportunity to specify high-end furniture and furnishings. Keep in mind, though, that these clients are willing to pay for high-end experiences. Transform their project into a journey and you can compensate with fees what you no longer make with mark-up.

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