If you are a people person with an eye for design, then you may have a potential career as an interior designer. The beauty of being a professional designer is that it is a job that will last the test of time. Our society will always build new properties and need to fill them with beautiful colors and fixtures. With that in mind, it is important that aspiring and beginning interior designers understand that in order to be successful, it is necessary to keep learning and adapting to a changing world.
To help those who are looking to hit the ground running or expand their business, we have compiled a list of skills and trends that will not only give you more work but also make you more desirable to a wider audience.
Skills For Now and the Future
First and foremost, a good interior designer must have great communication skills. This is essential to not only understand what your clients need and explain your ideas but also to work successfully with contractors and other professionals that are helping to bring your vision to life. Along with the ability to actively listen and speak to clients of all walks of life, you will also need incredible organizational skills. When combined with proper communication, the ability to remain organized even under tough circumstances can ensure that jobs are done correctly and on time, which will lead to satisfied customers and more work.
You also need to be savvy and experienced with social media and technology. The world of design is trending towards a more digital experience. With advanced technology, designers are now able to construct full 3D mockups of what a potential room will look like before the job is even started. With virtual reality, designers can also put potential lamps and hanging fixtures in a digital mockup of a customer’s existing room to see exactly how the final product will look. If you are not comfortable using computers or feel like you could improve, then you should take some computing classes now, so you are ready for the future.
While talking to customers and overseeing projects will fill a good portion of your day, you also need to spend time researching new design trends and staying up to date on upcoming fads. You can do this by reading books on design theory and keeping up with online interior design blogs. By reviewing these resources, you can see what is in and what is on its way out. For instance, Vogue predicts that in 2021, there will be a decline in mid-century modern motifs and an emphasis on warm cinnamon and marigold colors to add comfort and spice to any given room. Always be looking for the next big thing.
Trends for Wide Audiences
While any interior designer can implement the hottest trends, the most successful designers are those that cater to a large audience, making their services applicable to properties and clients around the world.
For instance, as we continue to learn about our world and the impact we make on the planet, more people are looking for sustainable design choices that look great and also help heal the environment. Sustainable design basically involves setting up a room to look great while also saving energy, reducing waste, and limiting items that are not made through sustainable means. This could include designing for better natural lighting in the room or using environmentally friendly products. While not every client will be actively thinking about sustainability, those who do will appreciate your knowledge.
A good designer should also have an understanding of universal design. Essentially, this idea involves setting up a space so that it can be used by anyone, regardless of their situation or limitations. This starts by having accessible design choices like ramps instead of stairs and flexible office designs for those in wheelchairs.
For elderly clients, it could mean choosing seating that requires little physical effort, like with recliners and low bed frames. If you are able to adapt your design options to each individual customer, they are more likely to refer you to their friends.
Resumes and Networking
A good resume will help you to find more clients or get you in the door of a design firm where you can put your skills to work. When listing your duties at past jobs, add strong action verbs and descriptions of the work you did and how it benefited your clients. So, instead of a bullet point that says you communicated with customers, write something detailed, like “Developed key client relationships by providing design solutions that met needs and budget without compromising quality.”
If you are new to interior design, then you can fill gaps in your resume by adding to the education section. Those who really want a well-rounded education can attend design school, where they will learn the basics of design, how to work with clients, and get an official accreditation. Some of the best schools include the Savannah College of Art and Design, Cornell University, and the New York School of Interior Design. Those who want to take individual classes can take courses about the use of color, interior lighting, and architecture history.
No matter where you are in your interior design journey, networking will help you to grow your business and attract clients. Beyond connecting on websites like LinkedIn, you should also consider joining industry organizations like the Interior Design Society and attending their meetings and events. You can also attend art gallery events where like-minded individuals are sure to be and strike up a conversation. In the interior design field, the more people you meet, the more successful you will become.
This is a basic overview of what you need to get your interior design company off the ground. Use these stepping stones to learn more about the craft and the sky’s the limit to how far your business can expand.
This blog post was authored by Sam Bowman