The expression to ‘make do’ is often seen as a negative. It has a subtle disheartening quality to it as though you would love to do something extraordinary in life, but you are forced to ‘make do’ with reality. To ‘make do’ is almost a resignation, signalled by a resounding sigh.
But when interior designers view a home to decorate, they, too, ‘make do’ with the framework of the home, its existing walls, doors, and window frames, its covings and mouldings. The Macmillan dictionary describes the idiom “to make do” as “to succeed in dealing with a situation by using what is available, despite not having something”.
Interior designers don’t view a kitchen and think, “If I just whack out this wall here, and add a 100m2 glass atrium, then I’m really onto something.” Unlike a builder, an interior designer cannot magically pull a grand extension out of a tool bag. Instead, they analyse the existing house plane-by-plane, reassessing the colours, textures, and placement of objects, slowly turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
To think like a builder is to always think of what needs adding to a life. How to widen, extend, elevate – how to make space to see the light. Rather, an interior designer will ‘make do’ with what they have, knowing with quiet confidence that the skill is in the mix. Something exquisite can always be achieved, it just needs a little tinkering.