The Best Hand-Me-Downs from Interior Design Clients

As interior designers, we often form close relationships with our clients, collaborating on transforming their living spaces into personalized havens. Sometimes, these bonds extend beyond the professional realm, and our clients express their gratitude through unexpected gestures—like gifting us with cherished possessions they no longer need. Today, we’re sharing some heartwarming stories from designers who have received invaluable hand-me-downs from their clients.

Top 3 Hand-Me-Down Stories

Dane Austin‘s Story:

“When my favorite and most supportive client, with whom I had completed three projects, was diagnosed with cancer, he said, ‘You know all those ideas you had? Let’s do them—all of them. And let’s get this published in a magazine. I want all my loved ones to be wowed as they come to say their goodbyes.’ That Logan Circle project was featured in House Beautiful and Home & Design. When he was close to passing, he asked me what I’d like, if anything, to remember him by. I told him I’d love to have this little painting of a house on the water with a lavender sky by an artist in Provincetown. I cherish that piece and our supportive collaboration every day.”

Kim Armstrong‘s Heartwarming Tale:

“My most amazing client gifted me with most of the pieces she wasn’t going to use when they combined two homes into one. I literally filled a U-Haul full of furniture, chandeliers, and beautiful rugs. After 20 years of marriage, my husband and I actually have a proper bedroom set. Custom headboard with antique side tables—just one of the many items. Every day, I feel so blessed for her generosity. I’m like the cobbler’s kid, designing beautiful spaces for all my clients, and not finding the time to do my own home.”

Michele Bitter‘s Fortunate Find:

“When a client was moving to Hawaii, we were reviewing what she should and shouldn’t sell, etc., and I said, ‘Oh, I wish I could afford those Kagan nautilus swivel chairs?’ And she said, ‘They are yours as a thank you!'”

Hand-Me-Down Treasures

From antique furniture pieces and original artworks to brand-new appliances and designer accessories, the hand-me-downs shared by designers in our community are as diverse as they are valuable. Some highlights include vintage Hermès scarves, Chanel handbags, SubZero refrigerators, Eames chairs, and even entire bedroom sets.

The Emotional Value Behind Hand-Me-Downs

While the monetary value of these gifts is undeniable, what truly makes them priceless is the emotional significance they carry. These hand-me-downs symbolize the deep appreciation and trust clients have in their designers, representing the culmination of successful collaborations and lasting relationships.

As designers, we pour our hearts into creating spaces that reflect our clients’ personalities and lifestyles. When they reciprocate by gifting us with cherished possessions, it’s a testament to the profound impact our work has on their lives.


Whether it’s a sentimental artwork, a statement furniture piece, or a high-end appliance, hand-me-downs from clients are more than just material possessions—they’re tangible reminders of the meaningful connections we forge through our craft. These stories serve as inspiration for all designers, reminding us of the invaluable rewards that come from building genuine relationships with our clients.

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