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.

Key Steps For Finding The Perfect Interior Designer

Making the decision to hire an interior designer can sometimes be a costly affair. That’s why it makes sense to take every precaution you can in selecting the right person. Below we’re going to cover some important action points to make this whole process easier.

These are the essential basics for finding top quality interior designers to work for you:

First of all, get clear on what you want. Before contacting anyone it’s a good idea to fully consider the work you want done. You want to get a very clear idea about the exact space you want designed and the kind of specific expertise required to get it done. At this stage you don’t have to have a full technicolor picture in your mind of the exact look – that’s largely the interior designer’s purpose. Just a broad notion of what you need will do, and the kind of budget you have available for it.

Afterward, you want to pile up the magazines, trawl through websites, and amass as many interior designers onto a list as you can. And remember to ask friends, family members, and neighbours for names too.

After you’ve collated this list, it’s time to whittle it down a bit. Go onto the internet and spend some time on each designer’s website (if they have one). Start to get a feel for the kind of work they do and where their expertise lies. And think how these tie in to your own project. Work on boiling down your list to about five interior designers who seem like the closest match.

A web site can only tell you so much. So the next key step is to call your number one choice and organize to meet them in person. Aim to do this at their office, and away from the space you want worked on. At this point you’re just looking to focus more on them than the exact details of your project.

This first meeting is the time to get references from them, ask to see examples of the projects they have worked on, and ask any burning questions you have on your mind. And only once this stage of the interview is over do you really want to start discussing your project and your budget for getting it done. Use this time to figure out if the two of you will get along as well.

If the first meeting went well, then great. You might be ready to have them view the space you want designed. If not, move on to the next on your list until you find one you like. Then invite them over to see the area for themselves.

The final stage here is to have this interior designer actually come to view the space you’d like them to work on. Again, make sure they’ve listened to your needs correctly, and have a very firm understanding of the budget you’ve set aside for the project. Assuming all is well, confirm a time for them start and let the work commence.

In essence, the most important points to consider when hiring interior designers are both skill sets and finding someone you can get along with. And of course, their fees will play their part as well, but don’t make this the only deciding factor.

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.