Studio Brunstrum

Personalization vs. Customization

January 15, 2019

What's the difference between personalization and customization? When it comes to building or renovating a home - the difference can make a big impact on timing, budget, and the overall outcome!

As our interior design clients continue to know more, access more and demand more about the products and services within our industry, we, as interior designers need to distinguish whether we provide a customization or personalization strategy to meet their needs.

Custom Rug via Julie Dasher Rugs

Personalization is a variety or menu of choices for an already designed product or service. Customization is creating a product or service from scratch. Often, we provide a bit of both within a project.  Customization requires earlier input from the client, coordination and well-spent time upfront in the planning process. It often comes with a LESSER price point. No, that was not a typo. Personalization usually involves limited options, takes less time and forethought and occurs later in the process. Often it comes with a HIGHER price point because decisions were delayed, and thus potential issues occur or need to be addressed.

Custom Staircase via Carpentry Services of Illinois, LLC
Custom Staircase via Carpentry Services of Illinois, LLC

The strategy of personalization vs. customization is best exemplified with new construction. Many builders state that they build custom homes, but they do not. If the proposal includes allowances for cabinetry, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, door hardware, tile and carpet, it is a personalized home. A personalized home is another term for a “spec” home. The difference between a “customized” home and “personalized” home is significant.  And to unsuspecting or first-time clients, that do not understand the process, it can be a frustrating, overly long and complicated experience. One that often costs more money than it should.

Custom Millwork via Blueberry Woodworking

Building and furnishing a home is extremely personal and typically the single largest expenditure in most people’s lives. The responsibility that has been entrusted to the selected builder, designer and architect is of the utmost importance. To ensure that collectively that the best possible outcome for a client is achieved, the relationship between the designer, builder and architect must be one of mutual trust, respect and interaction. And concierge service should be a given and, quite frankly, expected.

Custom Table via Anees

Always ask questions and make sure you understand the answers before signing an agreement with a builder, interior designer and or architect. The agreement should serve as the foundation for a collaborative relationship that achieves your desired results.

Susan Brunstrum
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