An interior designer or also known as interior architecture refers to the study and design of spaces and objects in enclosed spaces. Whether it is a room, a flat, a shop, an office, or an accommodation area, an interior designer is in charge of assessing the optimization of spaces according to the final purpose. For example, if you need to furnish a room, an interior designer will give you all the advice you need to make the most of every corner and to suit your needs and preferences. Here, we provide you with all the relevant information on how to become an interior designer. Read on to find out more.
Know your target customer
One of the most important steps in becoming an interior designer is to know your target customer. In short, this means identifying your ideal client, the potential customer to whom you want to direct your professional services.
Identifying your target client allows you to recognize the common characteristics of those people who make up the niche or slice of the market in which you want to operate. Therefore, you will also need to know how to reach them and what message you need to send to attract them.
The importance of setting up a website
Nowadays, many people and companies rely on online channels to search for information. Having a website is therefore crucial. If potential customers are present online and do their research, then so must you. The online presence of numerous users is not the only reason why a website can be a great tool for your business.
A website is a tool that can easily be exploited when carrying out advertising campaigns. Therefore, promoting your work on Facebook ADS, LinkedIn ADS, Google ADS and search engine optimisation (SEO) will increase your clientele. Indeed, hosting providers such as BlueHost can provide you with a variety of services when you are starting out and need professional support.
From the customer’s point of view, a corporate website can be satisfactory. Here, you can showcase your portfolio 24/7 and clients can visit your site as and when they like. Set up the site with all the information, including:
- Contact details
- Current projects you are working on
- Work experience
- Projects completed
- Courses you have attended
Providing your customers with this information can facilitate the initial phase of your services as they can find out about the services you offer from the comfort of their home.
Choosing a business name
Once you have targeted your customers and set up a website, you need to come up with a business name. However, that is easier said than done. Indeed, a winning company name has specific characteristics. It must be unique, easily recognisable, and original. In addition, it must also be easy to pronounce, short, concise and catchy.
Indeed, if you are hoping to reach out to international clients, it would be perfect if your business name is international. Therefore, easily understandable in several languages. Another fundamental characteristic of a winning name is that it must be memorable. In short, the ideal name should be striking and have a slogan that accompanies the company name.
The pay-off phrase is important because it has to stick in the mind of the users. You could even consider using an object or a typical tool of your company as a distinctive mark to give the name to the company. However, should you need help in this field, we can help you with our business name generator. We will help you find a name that will stick in people’s minds.
How to start your own business
When starting out, think about sharing a design studio to help cover the costs. Office furniture and rent can set you back a few thousand pounds, so plan how to set up your business in the most affordable way to avoid getting into debt. Before you actually start your business, you need to sit down and make a business plan. This will help you have a clearer idea of what you need to do and how much you need to spend.
Contacting workers and companies in the furniture industry is an important step. It will give you the chance to make yourself known and to create working relationships which are fundamental for expanding your network of contacts and customers. The same applies to home and furnishing magazines. It is advisable to establish partnerships and take advantage of editorial channels in order to sponsor your business.
Stand out from the crowd
With so much data and contacts on the web, it is essential to know how to manage a digital platform and to be able to position yourself on the first page of the search engine. In this way, you have much more visibility and chances of being chosen. The best way to do this is to know how to best promote your website. You can do this through two tools:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): the activities to be carried out to improve the positioning of your website in the search engine, through the strategy of keywords, inserted in a tactical and functional way in the texts.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): concerns the web marketing sphere. Here, strategies are aimed at increasing the visibility and traceability of a website, through search engines; it also allows the performance of a web analysis of the actions on one’s own site.
This work, combined with social media, advertising in newspapers and collaboration with companies in the sector, allows you to sponsor yourself, thus finding customers easily.
Contacting your local newspaper will allow you to make yourself known both on a personal and professional level. They may even allow you to showcase your projects. Indeed, they are a communication bridge between you and your clients.
The skills required
If you are interested in carrying out this profession in the best possible way, you must possess several skills, including:
- basic notions of architecture and history of art and design
- knowledge of marketing skills
- excellent command of image editing software
- Basic foundations for plumbing and lighting engineering.
Besides these skills, you must also be able to meet the client’s demands, as well as recognising the latest trends and innovations in the sector. Understanding and evaluating each available space to its potential is certainly a crucial skill. However, it is equally important to listen to the client’s wishes and evaluate all the feasible solutions.
Keeping up with the times
To keep up to date with the latest news in the sector and keep an eye on trends, it is essential to attend workshops and conferences. These can include specialised courses on specific topics regarding lighting, home automation, choice of styles, eco-sustainable solutions and others.
However, if you don’t have time to physically attend these courses, there are also plenty of online options. Here you can discover the latest technologies such as three-dimensional design or the use of special devices like 3D printers.
To do this job, it is important to keep up with changes in the sector regarding the evolution of materials and technology. Therefore, respect for nature and the environment must always be kept in mind, and it is important to stay as up-to-date as possible with any new regulations.
Marketing your business
If you are looking to expand in your business, you will have to know how to reach out to your clients. Therefore, having a portfolio will allow you to show your projects professionally.
A portfolio means the client doesn’t have to download anything on their computer, as you can present your work in an immediate, complete and, above all, professional way. This will show you are a professional designer and not an improvised one.
Carry out research
If you want to open your own interior design studio, it is essential that you offer something special, something different from what everyone else offers. Indeed, if you can focus on one sector or style, then it will become easier to find the right channels to reach potential new clients.
Focusing on your specialty
Interior design covers an array of styles, therefore, it is crucial to focus on what you do best. Instead of trying to cater for everyone, stick to one or two styles and focus on them. These styles can range from modern to classic and rustic to contemporary, among others.
Before setting out on this adventure, take into consideration a few factors, including;
- Your design style
- A focus on bigger homes or condos
- Design for homes with families or just couples
- Preferences for outdoor or indoor spaces
- Design for kitchen and bathrooms only.
All these aspects provide you with a guide on the direction you are taking. When you realize your niche and style, you will attract clients.
Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset
Interior designers are creative-oriented. Using their creativity and adopted entrepreneurial mindset helps them to survive in highly competitive markets. Therefore, before setting out on any project, you will need to make detailed plans to succeed. Indeed, you must plan every step carefully to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
Although some people seem to have entrepreneurial skills from a very young age, others may feel less competent and wish to develop their skills further. Therefore, start by finding out as much as possible about the job. One particular book that offers advice on interior design niches is The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox, written by Phyllis Harbinger. Similar books of interest include Visibility and Business Strategy for Interior design and How to Start Home-Based Interior Design Business.
Being part of a professional association means having greater visibility and security. In fact, as an active member of an association, it can also act as a guarantor for the client, as it performs a ‘protective’ function through its work and bodies, to which both the user and the professional can always refer.
Study interior design
As a result of the ever-increasing demand for the professional figure of interior designer, specific degree courses have multiplied in recent years. A university course is the first possible training path to gain a recognised professional title. In fact, if you are interested in becoming an interior designer, the first step is to enrol in a degree course at the Faculty of Architecture.
Once you have completed your studies, you can specialize with a master’s degree course in interior architecture and design.
However, if you do not want to pursue a university career, it is possible to become an interior designer by choosing private training courses. There are several institutions that offer quality courses, but it is preferable to opt for nationally recognized courses or those that issue accredited certificates.
Duties and tasks of the interior designer
Whichever path you choose for theoretical preparation, you will then need to gain experience. You can do this by working for someone else for a while. One workable solution would be to collaborate with another interior designer or even in a furniture shop or by jumping in headfirst.
However, in the latter case, consider that you will surely make mistakes in the beginning, and you will need someone more experienced to guide and support you. Therefore, with so many requests to complete a project, it is advisable to collaborate with someone with experience. This will provide you with a mentor who can give you expert advice in such a complex job. Indeed, the primary tasks of an interior designer include:
- Listening to clients’ needs
- Carrying out a preliminary analysis of the building and its spaces
- Creating floor plans
- Elaborating functional, innovative and planning solutions
- Producing drafts, drawings and 3D renderings
- Following the executive phase of the project,
- Coordinating the work of technicians.
The philosophy of an interior designer is to enhance the true identity of a place with a tailor-made service. Interior designers think creatively and have an overall vision that is lacking in the uninitiated. If you want a home built to your needs, where there is attention to detail: from the right lighting to furniture placement, fabric choices and colour palette, an interior designer can satisfy all your needs.
Therefore, transform people’s houses into homes and offices into relaxing and inviting working environments that they won’t want to leave.
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