Interior Design Opportunities – From Your Favorite TV Show to a Career

Today’s cable programming is filled with shows that teach viewers how to revamp, redesign and remodel their home and work spaces. Popular TV shows like Trading Spaces, Design on a Dime and Flip That House have turned many regular viewers into aspiring interior designers. These entertaining and inspiring shows have made a name in many households, bringing out a creative flare in people who never knew they had one.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Interior Designer employment is expected to grow 19% between 2006 and 2016. This estimate is faster than the average expected for all occupations during that same time period. Job opportunities in both established design firms and for self employed interior designers should grow. The BLS states that “post-secondary education, especially a bachelor’s degree, is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design.” Many people who are interested in interior design may not realize that there are schools that provide online interior design degrees that fit the needs of busy, working adults.

It may seem far-fetched to start a career because you love a certain television show. But this is a trend that is happening more and more in the design field. And, because of the people who love to watch the shows and want to redesign their homes, but can’t do the work themselves, there is the potential for even more work for interior designers. This creative profession takes both an artistic sense and a keen way with people. These traits may come naturally to some people, but business practices and technical knowledge of programs like Auto CAD are skills that should be learned in school.

According to the American Society of Interior Designers, at least 50% of practicing designers in the U.S. have completed two or more years of college or vocational training. Earning a degree in interior design is a great way to gain the technical skills needed to succeed in this demanding and competitive career field and gain an edge over the competition that do not hold interior design degrees. There are several interior design programs throughout the country that offer training to suit the needs of the profession. There are even some schools that offer interior design degree programs online, which are great for working adults who want a career change or want to move up in their existing careers.

Interior design is certainly a career option that is getting a lot of attention due to the popularity of design shows on television. However, it isn’t the only option for a creative, rewarding career in design. Graphic design, animation, game design and web design are just a few of the other exciting career options in this field. People who find themselves drawn to interior design should also read about the career options in other design fields. No matter what design career is most appealing, earning a design degree is a smart way to gain the necessary training and credentials for success.

Department Store Buyer Becomes Interior Designer

A man contacted me about promoting his commercial interior design firm that he was starting. At that time he was working as a department store buyer where he was very bored in his job. He was interested in making a career change to interior designing. He had no formal training but had educated himself in interior design and had worked on some very small showroom and office design projects in an assisting role.

After meeting with him and learning his goals, I did some research into office and showroom designs, and the correlations between new designs and increased business. I discovered that office interior designing was a lot more plentiful but more competitive. The larger design firms concentrated on the office designing market. I decide for my client that it would be best if he would concentrate his efforts on the showroom design market which was less competitive and easier to break into.

I helped my client create a web site that would express his unique approach to designing showrooms. The web site allowed clients to request information on the different types and styles of showroom designs that my client has to offer. There would be articles and links to articles that would be of interest and help prospective clients with what type of showroom design would be best for their business. The web site would provide examples of other projects that were successfully done.

I wrote articles on the positive correlation between new designs and increased business and distributed them on the internet were clients would be looking for information. I included links in the articles back to my client’s web site. I created a newsletter for my client that contained helpful information to prospects by explaining several different ways of how new showroom designs can increase business. The newsletter contained links to my clients’ web site as well as links to articles and sources of information that would be of assistance to any potential prospects.

I created a print ad for the New York Real Estate Journal and wrote an article under my clients’ by-lines that appeared with the ad. After the article and ad appeared, I ordered reprints, wrote a solicitation letter, and bought a list of approximately 500 real estate lawyers (new showroom tenants typically have their lawyers negotiate their leases). The solicitation letters gave my clients web site address and where to find his newsletter. The solicitation letters were mailed with a bulk mail permit from a local post office. They were also sent via email.

A few weeks later after sending out the solicitation letter and reprints, a lawyer who represented a men’s suit designer company responded to our ads. I prepared for my client a four color brochure, a PowerPoint presentation, and a script to follow during his presentation. My client was up against 3 other firms competing for the contract. My client was rewarded the contract. The contract was for 1.5 million for a showroom on a very fashionable Manhattan street.

Five months after getting the contract to design this showroom my client completed the project. The showroom turned out to be a huge success for the men’s suit designer company. The company even recommended my client to an accessory manufacture and design company that the suit company was doing business with.

With the permission of the men’s suit designer company I arranged for several stories about their work to be published. I made changes on their web site to include the success that my client had with the suit design company’s show room design. I also included it in the next company newsletter that was going to be published. I repeated the process with the mailing list both of them (conventional mail and e-mail) promoting the success of my clients work. As a result, my client got three additional clothing design companies each of whom required large showrooms and offices

The success of the first contract allowed my client to break into a new market segment which is designing offices, which is the largest and most profitable in the interior design business. Here is where my client decided to expand his business; and in order to do this he must hire others who have the skills to execute the appropriate tasks at hand.

Great Free Online Resources For Interior Designers

Who doesn’t love free design information? Recently in one of the groups we belong to in LinkedIn, the CEO of Mudpie Design (a trend forecasting company) posted a great discussion. “Great resources for designers – Free!” This inspired us to take some websites from this discussion and add some of our own favorites to help designers and furniture manufacturers looking for freebies. This first list of a 2-part series is websites. Next month we will feature the top home furnishing blogs.

1stDibs

Why not look at the past to predict the future! 1stDibs is an antique website, focusing on high-end antique furniture, home decor, lighting, and has now added fashion and jewelry. We’re constantly amazed by this website, and there is no harm in getting inspiration from 70 year-old designs that are surprisingly on trend for 2010! Also, we recommend subscribing to their newsletters. The writers at 1stDibs have fantastically interesting comments on different styles and how interior designers should use them today.

2modern

The name pretty much says it all. This website has some of the best looking modern furniture, lighting, and home decor, on the web. The site’s design and feel are fun, and the editors are constantly adding new modern products. Also be sure to visit their Design Blog, which is also a fantastic source for wildly creative ideas in home furnishings. They have “Eco Friendly” and “Made in the USA” product sections, and a newsletter + RSS Feeds.

HomePortfolio

Home Portfolio is the largest database for home furnishing suppliers in the USA. This site is simple to navigate, featuring all types and styles of home furnishings to help interior designers find the right furniture for their products ( customers?). It works like an online catalog and is really simple to use.

Trendir

Trendir is a Home Decorating Trends Magazine. The Trendir Interiors website has fantastic posts; and although they call themselves “modern” interiors, they also feature some beautiful traditional home furnishings. They cover all items for the home, from bathroom hardware to outdoor living, and also cover architecture and appliances.

ElleDecor

The popular fashion magazine has made it easy for web users to dig through their past stories and images of products. The PointClickHome.com website features images from both Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home. Users can view great designs in the “Room Finder” and select the type and style of home. Home Furnishings can be found in the “Decorate” tab, and housewares are in the “Entertain” tab. Also, the blogs on this site are good: Savvy/Chic, Design Daily, Word on Modern Style, I on Design, Stylemonger, and Deal of the Day.

Thecoolhunter

This website focuses on ground-breaking design. Probably more for interior designers and architects, we think that everybody will enjoy the products, buildings, and fashion concepts these guys bring to a fun-to-use website. The most relevant area is the “Design” section, which can be found on their navigation menu. This site tends to feature the bright and exotic and is really fun.

Inmod.com

Another modern design focused retail website is Inmod. The coolest feature here is the “Design Your Own”. You can design your own pillows and bedding! Overall, this site very is similar to 2modern, and they have a blog, newsletter, and RSS feed. If you like modern, this site is a must see…

TODL.COM (Trade Only Design Library)

The Trade Only Design Library is another large database of products for home decor, furniture, and housewares. This site is operated by the same company that sets up the HD Expo in Las Vegas, for hospitality and commercial furnishings. While you cannot normally view this website if you enter directly, if you click this link to Hopitality Design, I have found a secret way to access the website!

Dwell.com

Dwell is a modern home magazine (print) but they also have a great website. It has a dedicated product section, which allows users to select what to view by product category, ranging from clocks to wall coverings.

ArchitectualDigest.com

Long one of the most prestigious architecture and home design inspiration magazines (print), Architectual Digest now has a decent website that allows free access to the design features and beautiful images that have kept this magazine on the shelves for almost 90 years! It is not as easy to navigate products on this site, as it shows the latest stories as features, but if you type in the name of the room or type of furniture into the search box, you should come up with some nice design concepts.