Love decorating? Do it for a living!

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Do you think that you have a good eye for design? Do people often compliment you on your own style and home décor? Perhaps you should consider taking interior design up as your career!

We know that a lot of training can be involved but there is one thing that university and school can't teach and that's a natural sense of style. If you have an inherent understanding of what things work well together and you can visualise the end result, you may be a natural design genius waiting to happen!

Take a look at our tips for becoming an interior designer and building your own decorating business and see if you might be willing to consider a career change!

Tip 1: Make sure it is the right decision

Victorian Terrace House, South-West London: classic Bathroom by Drummonds Bathrooms
Drummonds Bathrooms

Victorian Terrace House, South-West London

Drummonds Bathrooms

You may look at stunning images, such as this one from Drummonds, and think that you could easily recreate it or create something of a similar standard, but a lot of time, research and planning goes into such a cohesive space and one wrong choice can disrupt the entire vibe.

If you enjoy interior design, then yes, a decorating business could be for you, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons of working for yourself, dealing with clients and leaving the security of an existing role. Do you have enough confidence in your taste and abilities to go it alone and do you have a potential client list?

Tip 2: Invest in some training

Kensal Rise House: eclectic Living room by Blankstone
Blankstone

Kensal Rise House

Blankstone

Even if you simply complete a course in interior design at night school or part time, it will help to give you a good overview of industry standards, recognised terms and what clients will expect from you. Without any training at all, you will also be very unlikely to win the confidence of new clients!

You need to show commitment to re-training for a new career and by going back to university, seeking out apprenticeships or completing an at home distance learning course, you are taking the first step on the path to a totally new and exciting venture; starting your own decorating business.

Tip 3: Get some voluntary experience

House for an Architect:  Houses by Kilburn Nightingale
Kilburn Nightingale

House for an Architect

Kilburn Nightingale

Would you pay for the services of someone who has absolutely no experience? We doubt it, so don't assume that you can sweet talk people into becoming clients unless you can show that you have some hands-on, practical skills.

Volunteering, though sometimes unpopular due to the lack of pay, is a fantastic way to gain valuable experience and by shadowing someone who is already successful, you can learn how to conduct your own decorating business when it is time to get started!

Tip 4: Compile a portfolio

Open Plan Living Room: modern Living room by Pete Helme Photography
Pete Helme Photography

Open Plan Living Room

Pete Helme Photography

Any projects that you contribute to, complete on your own or tender for, be sure to add them to a portfolio as this will really be your best and most valuable asset for securing new clients. 

If someone comes to you and asks for a living room renovation, you need to know that you can quickly show them pictures, plans and sketches of your former success stories and from this, your potential client can gauge whether you have a similar style to them and could potentially understand their needs. When it comes to home decor, it is such a personal thing that clients need to know you are serious about giving them exactly what they want and that you are not simply a flash in the pan decorating business.

Tip 5: Outsource elements

Especially in the fledgling days of starting your own decorating business, we recommend that you outsource certain elements of new projects to more experienced parties. This doesn't mean you don't have the necessary skills, it just shows that you can accept that other people may have more specialist knowledge about the particular items you are picking out. 

For example, if you are decorating a bedroom and the client asks for a style of bed that you aren't too familiar with, call in the advice of a peer or colleague. That way, you ensure that your client gets the very best and you don't feel the need to try and muddle through!

Tip 6: Consider your target market

Student Accommodation - SW10: modern Living room by Ceetoo Architects
Ceetoo Architects

Student Accommodation—SW10

Ceetoo Architects

Have a think about if you are going to market yourself to a particular sub-set of clients, or if you want to have broad appeal. Though it can be tempting to not specialise too much, for fear of losing out on clients, if you hone your skills tightly, you can become known as an industry expert in a particular field, therefore allowing you to charge a premium for your services.

Clients like to know that they are hiring someone who not only has vast amounts of knowledge and experience, but also a passion for their particular style, so do consider making your decorating business a little more focussed.

Tip 7: Make sure you are professionally insured and vetted

Dining Space: eclectic Kitchen by Casey & Fox Ltd
Casey & Fox Ltd

Dining Space

Casey & Fox Ltd

If you are going to be entrusted to not only redecorate a client's home, but have easy access to it, round the clock, they will want to know that you can be trusted and that you are insured, should anything unexpected occur. Professional accreditations and liability insurance go a long way to providing clients with peace of mind and could be the difference between winning and losing a contract, so give it some serious thought!

For more designer knowledge, take a look at this Ideabook: Questions To Ask An Interior Designer.

Would you like to be an interior designer? Let us know!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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