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.

Interior Designers Make Great Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Franchise Owners

More and more interior designers are investing in a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise as an addition to their line of aesthetic services. Interior designers may get started in the industry by recommending decor elements, paint colors, and design accessories. By learning about kitchen and bath remodeling, though, they increase their profit potential while still using their eye for good design.

A Passion for Design

One reason they make such excellent kitchen and bath remodeling franchise owners is their existing passion for design. Design passion is not something that can be taught, but it is the most important factor that determines one’s success in the business. Marketing, business management, and even remodeling skills can all be taught, but passion for design is the fertile soil in which these seeds are planted.

Knowledge of Design Trends and Aesthetics

Interior designers also have a basic knowledge and understanding of design trends and aesthetics, and this is very valuable when owning a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise. Customers are more interested in visual appeal and appearance than structural integrity and high quality construction when selecting a kitchen or bath remodel expert. A background in interior design shows the customer that they’re dealing with someone who can turn their vision into a reality. Investing in a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise, that emphasizes quality and precision is icing on the cake for potential clients.

The Self-Starting Factor

An individual who has pursued a side-income with interior design work has a special personality factor that is invaluable for kitchen and bath remodeling franchise owners: the ability to self-start. Working for oneself is a dream that many share, but only a few select individuals have the motivation and perseverance necessary to make that dream a reality. Interior designers already know the challenges associated with starting a small business, so they are prepared for the hard work and dedication required.

Utilize Existing Contacts and Customers

Many interior designers already have elaborate client lists and customer contacts that they can tap into when seeking new jobs and higher profits. If an interior designer helped a customer choose beautiful wall colors, for example, that relationship will become quite profitable if that customer decides to remodel a kitchen or bath at a later date. Forming business contacts is the hardest part of any startup opportunity, and interior designers have a head start.

Equipping Designers for Next-Level Business Success

When interior designers choose a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise, they are immediately provided with all of the tools and resources they need to take their business to the next level. Starting a remodeling business from the ground up is grueling work. Designers have to worry about things like web marketing, logo design and branding, reputation establishment, and much more. Designers who choose a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise, however, can tap into the existing support programs and benefit from the reputation for high quality services with which potential customers are already familiar.

They make excellent franchise owners, and a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise is a great way to capitalize on existing contacts and customers by providing additional services to clients and tackling higher-paying jobs.

Marketing Tips For Interior Designers

The other day, I was chatting with my friend, who happens to be an interior designer, and I remarked that it must be pretty easy to get work doing what he does. He stared at me and then started laughing. After he had quit cackling, he explained to me that interior design work wasn’t as glamorous as the TV shows made it sound. There’s a lot of real work involved, and even when you are excellent at what you do, you won’t always have people banging down your door to get you to design their houses and workspaces. By taking a quick look at some of the marketing tips for interior designers that my friend passed on to me, and taking a look at what I’ve figured out my own, you’ll soon see that there are some things that are essential.

First, you will need a professionally designed web page. Because people are going to be looking at you to design their living spaces and their work spaces, you’ll find that you need to grab them with your design aesthetic the moment they get to your page. Of course, a well-designed web space has nothing to do with how good you are at your job, but it’s all about presentation and awareness. If you have a web page that’s dark, cramped, poorly designed and ugly, you’ll find that no matter what your portfolio looks like that people will assume that’s how your design works. If you are not a professional at web design, it’s worth the money that you spend to hire someone who is.

Many good marketing tips for interior designers will be associated with how you can make people remember you. Whenever you finish a job, offer your client a way to get in touch with you. Whether you decide that you want to do this in the form of a magnet or some sort of client gift like a pen or an umbrella or gift basket, you’ll find that by leaving something of yourself in their home, you’ll make yourself accessible to anyone who comes in, whether they are guests or family. My friend suggests something like a magnet or a calender, because it is useful and people will always keep it handy.

Finally, remember to keep records of all of your work. You should always be able to give samples of what you can do and how you got there. The more progression shots that you can show online, the more you’ll be able to tell prospective customers how you are going to work some magic on their spaces. While of course you should have these pictures up on your website, you’ll find that having a hard copy that you keep to show clients in your office is another thing you can do.

My friend had a lot to say about marketing tips for interior designers but most of it could be summed up by saying “don’t let them forget you.” Remember that networking is a big deal, and that you have do a fair amount of it to get to where you want to be!