How To Become And Stay A Successful Interior Designer

March 4, 2019 12:13 am by admin
Landing a job as an interior designer
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How To Become And Stay A Successful Interior Designer

I always loved designing things. With anything in life that you want to do, if it interests you and you spend enough time doing it, you will learn it. You just have to care enough about it to try.

When it comes to making decisions about colour, my advice is to do it slowly. Try colours on a small area of the walls you want to paint and look at them at different times of day. It’s about instinct and how it makes you feel again. Always try things before you make any final decisions.

Berkus, a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and designer of a successful namesake collection at Target, started apprenticing in the fashion and interior design field right out of high school.

You’ll learn how the business works, which suppliers work with the trade and important rules and procedures. Be reliable and trustworthy, and you’ll gain trust and a possible promotion. You’ll develop a list of clients as well as valuable experience working for an established designer or firm.

When I left school, I became an apprentice milliner – I really wanted to make hats at the time. Looking back, it was a great thing to do because it is so important to learn a skill, to work with a team and to understand seasonality.

It didn’t and it wasn’t, but some of the other things I tried did – and I think it’s important to be brave. When you’re spending someone else’s money steer clear of something you think might be a mistake, but do try and be brave. Otherwise we’d all live in a very grey world, wouldn’t we!

In order to be successful in the field of interior design, there are a lot of shoes you will need to fill aesthetically and otherwise. Here we take a deeper look into the career of design and help outline the key roles you must play in order to land on top of the fabric heap—and not buried underneath.

Creativity may spur you initially into an interior design career, but be aware that you will need to be a stellar communicator as well. Image Source: Space Crafting

Getting some sort of grounding in architectural interior design is a very good thing to do. You need to learn to do things like scale drawings and maths is very important too. It’s not all choosing lovely curtains and fabrics!

Essentially, you need to be an intuitive detective like Sherlock Holmes in order to truly give your clients what they want. Image Source: Mitchell Wall

There is no better way to get to the heart of what a career in design is truly like than to intern; living in their shoes everyday through the daily grind. If after your internship you still feel a passion for the career, then pursue an Associates degree or a Bachelors degree, these degrees are requisites to work in the world of interior design.

Our enthusiasm can be slightly contagious I think, and it sometimes feels like design has sort of become part of our DNA, but everyone in the family has been incredibly supportive of me and encouraging and it’s lovely.

Reach out to related trade businesses such as architects, lighting designers and suppliers. Many architects choose or recommend preferred designers for client projects.

After working as an auctioneer at high-end antique reseller Sotheby’s in Chicago, Berkus gained enough experience and confidence to launch his own design firm.

Image copyright Other Image caption Sophie Conran’s fascination with interiors began with her dolls’ house

You never know who may need design help. Have business cards and contact information ready to hand out to people you meet. A simple website with some sketches or images of your work, even if it’s a room from your apartment, is a good start for a portfolio.

Do you know that I’m probably lying when my eyes avert to the left? Can you read the signs of my nervous fidgeting, telling you that I’m uncomfortable with your idea? Can you tell by the look on my face that you have lost me and I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight?

A long time ago, when I first had my flat in London, I painted my sitting room yellow and blue. I thought it would be a good idea, but it wasn’t and it was hideous! I was 20 years old, I was brave and I thought this could work, this could be fabulous.

Image copyright AFP Image caption She says it is good to make mistakes you can learn from 5. Don’t blow the budget

As an interior designer, you’re expected to know all the latest trends. Regardless of how busy you get, stay up to date on industry news and developments. Most interior designers swear by their copies of Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and other design publications. Of course, regular visits to Freshome are helpful, too.

When you have designed a space or an object or anything really and the client loves it, that is why I do what I do. That is the best feeling and the best thing about the job. If you create something and you put it out there and you know that somebody else is genuinely thrilled with it, then that is your reward and there is no better feeling!

We moved home when I was about eight years old. My parents bought a dilapidated old school and then spent the next few years doing it up. We basically lived on a building site, and I got to see the whole thing stripped back to the bare bones. I found it really exciting and I think that experience probably sparked my initial interest in interior design.

In some sense it seems false advertising— You initially think you are entering into a creative career; one where you imagine yourself dreaming up designs, choosing colors, layouts and furnishings—while the truth is you should perhaps take a communications class in place of a few design courses. After all, what’s the point of dreaming up an awe-inspiring space if you can’t sell it to a client, or communicate the plans properly to the builders and architects?

  • sets (movie, TV and commercial interiors)
  • green living (working with eco-friendly materials)
  • health care (hospitals and medical facilities)
  • hospitality (hotels)
  • home interiors
  • corporate and business spaces

Thinking about how a room is going to make you feel is essential. That is what good interior design does. It’s about creating an atmosphere. You absolutely have to know something about the people you are designing a space for. You need to find out about the way they lead their life, which rooms they use the most and you must always consider form and function.

Most successful designers specialize in a particular niche. Some specializations include:

The functionality and the atmosphere are the most important things to get right. The fabrics, the floor coverings, the furniture the lighting are the tools that you use to create that. Don’t make rushed decisions if you can help it, apply a process of elimination approach if you can. The more you do it, the more confident you will become in your decision making.

Your reputation (and client referrals) will hinge on whether or not you give your clients what they want. You will need to be an astute listener and sometimes a mind reader in order to get to the heart of what a client wants and needs—and sometimes giving clients results that they didn’t even know they wanted or needed, but are perfect in the end.

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Acting didn’t work out, but she was hired by a real estate developer to work on the company’s design projects, which included the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. She not only received great acclaim for the project, she also married the developer, Brad Korzen.

I get my inspiration from all over the place; books, magazines, the internet, shops and my relatives of course!

It’s not all fabrics and fun. Unfortunately, some enter into the field of interior design with little knowledge of what the daily grind of a designer is really like. Image Source: Decker Bullock

Things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. If you go into a room and it’s all perfect, you don’t feel comfortable. A home interior is not an abstract thing, it is about people, it’s about the way you feel, the way you interact. It’s about family and friends, it’s the backdrop to your life.

It’s not all fabrics and fun. Unfortunately, some enter into the field of interior design with little knowledge  of what the daily grind of a designer is really like. While part of the job certainly involves playing with fabrics, colors and furniture design, there is also a whole other level to interior design that may not seem as fun—but it’s a large part of the job and can sometimes make or break your career.

Your first big break may be a basement remodel or window-treatment project. Be professional; small jobs can lead to more work and client referrals. Remember that your goal is to build long-term relationships.

Interior design is an ever-changing world. Stay relevant. Have fun. Do what you love. These will always lead to success.

I failed at school and not going to university meant that I wasn’t particularly confident when I started out and I didn’t feel great about myself then. I was quite badly dyslexic and everything was a bit of a struggle, apart from the arts. Reading, writing and spelling were all a bit tricky.

In order to be successful in the field of interior designer, there are a lot of shoes you will need to fill aesthetically and otherwise. Image Source: Great Neighborhood Homes

An interior designer helps plan and decorate living and working spaces for clients. You can work as a freelancer if you’re a self-starter or if you work as part of a design firm’s team. Good communication and people skills are vital, since you’ll be guiding potentially indecisive or inexperienced clients on major decisions.

You’ve got to be able to empathise with your client. Being an interior designer can mean lots of things, there’s a little bit of being a nanny in there, a little bit of psychology and lots of empathy.

  • pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam
  • work for two years for an ASID interior designer
  • earn a four-year degree in an accredited interior design program

But the education doesn’t stop there. Even after accomplishing your degree and perhaps landing a great design job, you will need to pursue a life-long continued education in order to remain relevant in the design world. We also suggest you dabble in the fields of architecture, building codes, construction, communications and sustainable building in order to gain an edge on the competition.

According to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), you must do three things to become a certified interior designer:

Wolf was born in Cuba to parents in the building business. He moved to New York City at the age of 18 without completing high school. Rearranging furniture was his favorite pastime, but he never knew it could be a career until he met an interior designer.

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If you’ve always dreamed of turning your love and talent for interior design into a career, it’s possible. The right training, good networking skills and the desire to work hard will take you far.

I left school after my O-levels, and then I did a year of retakes because I did so badly. It is so important to believe in yourself, and tell yourself that it is going to be ok.

Education is not to be taken lightly if you want to become a successful interior designer. Before you hop into a lengthy (and expensive) four-year Bachelor’s degree in the Fine Arts of Interior Design, we suggest you find a local interior designer that is willing to let you intern for them.

3. Practise your maths, it’s not all choosing lovely curtains Image copyright other Image caption Conran is keen for budding designers to grapple with maths as part of the job

Here are the surprising stories of how some of the top interior designers who took a different path got started.

Further specialization is possible, such as home kitchen design or Asian eco-friendly corporate interiors.

As we mentioned above, one aspect to staying current and competitive is to garner as much experience and education as you possibly can.  Aside from this, how else can you stay relevant? Here are some key things every interior designer should do in order to get and remain successful:

I’m very lucky to work in a field that I really enjoy, but I wouldn’t take on a job that I felt was going to be unpleasant or difficult. I think it’s important to work with people that you get on with and that you can see eye to eye with.

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Did you know that many well-known interior designers aren’t certified? Kelly Wearstler, Vicente Wolfe, Jonathan Adler, Barbara Barry and Nate Berkus are at the top of the design field but never completed the required steps recommended by the ASID for certification.

Even after accomplishing your degree and perhaps landing a great design job, you will need to pursue a life-long continued education in order to remain relevant in the design world. Source: Associated Designs

Following the ASID’s requirements is the best path, especially since some states require you to operate with ASID certification. Either way, to truly become a successful interior designer, you have to work hard, build great relationships, take chances and be ready to learn.

The fastest way to earn hands-on experience is by working at a design firm or for a busy interior designer. It may be an internship, assistant position or administrative job to start, but take the opportunity to learn and work your way up.

While it may seem silly, reading a person’s body language is a skill that will help advance your career as an interior designer. Essentially, you need to be an intuitive detective like Sherlock Holmes in order to truly give your clients what they want. While some clients will arrive to the first meeting with plenty of ideas (sometimes so many that it becomes another detective mission to get to the core of what they really want), and others will arrive wanting (and expecting) you to know exactly what they need and how to give it to them after only one short conversation.

She says it sometimes feels like design has become part of her DNA.

One aspect to staying current and competitive is to garner as much experience and education as you possibly can. Image Source: Maracay Homes

Regardless of the path that leads you to an interior design career, here are four tips to succeed in becoming a working interior designer.

I had a dolls’ house as a child. I decorated it, furnished it and even put wallpaper up, so I sort of started interior design at quite a young age for some small, inanimate clients!

  • Make yourself a brand. This linked article has more helpful tips on branding yourself as an interior designer
  • Embrace ALL social media platforms—blog, twitter, set up a website with past work samples, Pin your design images etc…
  • Travel to every trade show possible, including world-wide events, exhibitions and shows
  • Stay in touch with past clients, updating them on your most recent work—by staying relevant in their lives you will be the first they recommend to friends
  • Attain a well-connected mentor who is willing to let you be his/her understudy, and is willing to share connections

I get my inspiration from all over the place; books, magazines, the internet, shops and my relatives of course! It is like being in a family of doctors sometimes, we spend a lot of time together and are inspired by similar things so we do talk about our work with each other.

After reading all of this, are you ready to enter into the world of interior design? Or perhaps you are a struggling interior designer who wants to become more successful? Get (and remain) relevant by following our tips: become a great communicator (taking communication classes if you must), learn to be a mind reader and read body language, garner as much education as possible in all fields of design, and stay current and competitive by branding yourself and getting yourself out into the design world as much as possible.

Sophie Conran, the award-winning English interior designer, is the daughter of designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran and the sister of fashion designer Jasper Conran.

How Successful Interior Designers Got Their Start — and How You Can, Too

I think it is very competitive now. I would always encourage people to stay in education for as long as they can, really. I think it shows staying power, demonstrates a certain seriousness about things and allows you to get your thoughts in order. Even though I didn’t do it, I do think it’s a good thing.

Wearstler is best known for her hotel designs and design books. She studied interior and graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art and decided to move to Los Angeles to break into the acting world.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a room look and feel good. Time frames and budget constraints are probably the most difficult thing to manage about the job. People don’t want to spend too much money and if you go over budget, then people understandably get upset.

Wolf’s first design job was a living room project, and it was published in a magazine. That was the beginning of a beautiful portfolio — and his name on the list of House Beautiful’s 10 most influential designers.

I’ll make suggestions and put together a mood board using images from books and magazines. Try and get all your ideas in one place visually, from bits of fabric to tiles to floor finishes, put all the bits you might want to use together and see if they work together on paper, that is always a good place to start.

We used to drive down to France every summer when we were kids and my Mum would stop off in Limoges, which is famous for porcelain. She would always insist on buying seconds from the factory shop. They were all wobbly and bent because they had been misfired, but to me they were beautiful and filled with character.

If you love working with people and enjoy the world of design and decorating, you might be thinking about becoming an interior designer. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary is $48,400, but many interior designers earn in the six-figure range.

They’re technically interior decorators. But their talent and willingness to learn, coupled with good networking skills and a little luck, helped them achieve success.

To find an accredited interior design program, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design offers a list of more than 360 post-secondary accredited institutions with art and design programs.

8.Look for inspiration in everything and get to know your clients

That was a big part of what inspired me to create the Portmeirion collection. If things are too perfect then it is without character, it’s not good to be too precious about something. The more you strive for perfection, the more it disappears. Don’t aim for perfection, try to create a relaxed environment, that’s what I think is important.

Lighting is also essential because it’s all to do with mood. I like to have lots of different light sources, low level lighting as well as ceiling lights and I like to have quite a lot of control over them as well, with lots of different switches and dimmers.

I would totally encourage people to go for internships. They give you an experience of the industry that you want to be in and allow you to find out if it is the right one for you. It means that you start from the bottom and you get access to amazing talent in the real world.

So, creativity may spur you initially into the career, but be aware that you will need to be a stellar communicator as well. We should also mention that there is a big difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator. If after reading the rest of this article, you are turned off of a career in interior design, then perhaps a career in interior decorating will be more appealing. Although, a lot of these skill- sets that we mention here will still apply in some manner or another.

Take our recent article, “A Day in the Life of Interior Designer to the Stars, James Blakeley”  as an example. Blakeley spends a large part of his day communicating with other designers, architects, tradespeople, homeowners, business owners etc. In fact, on the day we followed him around these communications ate up most of his day and even his lunch and dinner hours. And guess what? Blakeley is extremely successful in the interior design world.

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