Interior designers get a lot of special requests lobbed at them from their clients, many of which they have to be gently talked out of. In my work as a specialist in lobby interior design, I probably get more crazy requests than the average interior designer. After all, I have an entire building full of condo/coop owners to deal with!

I must admit, sometimes building residents come up with great ideas; some of which I wouldn’t have thought of myself. But that’s not the norm. Over the years I’ve had to talk my clients out of some really crazy ideas that not only would bust their budget but in terms of practicality, just won’t fly.

I thought I’d share some of them with you:


Indoor Doggie Pit

Yes, you read it right. One of our clients had the wonderful idea of creating an indoor doggie pit in their lobby. This downtown building is full of creative, liberal, rule-breaking residents and they all seem to have dogs!

Of course, our dog-loving clients always get pee-pee resistant and nail-proof fabrics and rugs and easy to maintain floors. But these deep in dog culture condo owners wanted a place in the lobby where purse-dogs could “do their business” during inclement weather or late at night.

While a canine devotee myself, (my dog Hershey was so dear to me) I did not hesitate to explain to my clients how really impractical and a downright wrong decision an indoor doggie pit in the lobby would be. I explained it would be unsanitary, unsightly, and…not a good use of their budget.

Downcast faces aside, my clients didn’t put up too much of a fight.


Lobby Color Scheme – Bright Red

During every lobby, interior design project their almost always is one resident who just has his or her mind set on a design element and it’s really hard to get that person to budge. Situations like this can hold a project up for months.

One such situation was a lobby re-do in a stunning mid-century modern condo building in the city. The resident of note was dead set in having us use bright red, not as an accent color, but as the dominant color of the entire area.

I love strong color, don’t get me wrong. Many hotel lobbies are done up in red with dramatic effect. But in an apartment building’s common area, where residents through every day? Not. A bright red lobby, red walls, red flooring, red furniture… just doesn’t fly.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too hard for me to convince the holdout resident in this case to change his mind. Thankfully, the other residents agreed with me. We used pops of red and everyone was very happy in the end.

Phew, again!

Revolving Artwork

We’ve worked on more than one lobby re-design project where the residents got stuck on the idea of having revolving artwork on the walls. Every month new pieces would be hung so there would always be something fresh to look at. And, in one or two instances, artists living in the building wanted a way to showcase their work.

Although changing the lobby artwork every month or so seems like an intriguing idea, in practice, it’s a nightmare.

Here’s why:

Art is a very significant element in all our lobby interior design ideas. In my experience, when art is integrated into the overall design, the more welcoming the room. Changing art all the time erodes the meticulously conceived look and feel that we aim to achieve.

But there’s an even more important reason that revolving lobby artwork doesn’t fly: it messes up the walls!

Each time the art changes, new holes are put into the walls. They get scratched and marked up. That’s not what anyone wants to see on a daily basis (unless you live in the Chelsea Hotel!).

Thankfully, I’ve been able to convince all my wishful revolving artwork clients to instead settle on distinctive pieces that are interesting, surprising, and look fantastic right where they are!

Read: How To Pick Art For A Room That Complements Your Interior Design

I’m an interior designer. But my job description also includes “the voice of reason”. Having designed more lobbies than I can count, I’ve developed an innate sense of what’s in the best interest of my clients. My goal is to make sure that the majority of residents are ecstatically happy with their new lobby and that it will serve as a wonderful welcome for many years to come.

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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