Note from 2.22.17:
You can find an updated post on this same topic here with more pros and cons!!
Many people think being an interior designer is easy. It’s what I thought when I decided to go back to class and get my diploma. I mean, I loved decorating my home, thought I did a pretty good job of it and selecting pieces was a snap! However, as I near the end of my courses, I have realized that there is much more to being an interior designer than just home decor.
And it’s definitely not easy! As an Interior Designer, you need to know A LOT of information, architectural elements, building codes, ergonomics, anthropometrics, and more. An Interior Designer can design an entire house or small condo and have it built!
Many people think of Interior Designers as simply decorators. And yes, that can be a big part of their role. But they can also draw up house and demolition plans, know how to use AutoCAD and 3D Rendering Software. These things take a lot of skill to master and can be very useful to a homeowner looking for someone to not only decorate, but design (or redesign) their home.
Personally, I have found there to be many advantages to being an Interior Designer so far. But also some disadvantages. So if your thinking about taking the leap and going for it, here are some things to consider.
- You learn how to draw properly. I was surprised to find out that this can actually be taught and you CAN be a decent artist.
- You learn how to successfully use impressive software that can be useful as a designer, but also in other fields. AutoCAD is not easy to learn – but once you know it, its a great space planning tool for even your own home.
- You can help your friends out – and get great references. Everyone can use a designer once in their life, and good friends are usually willing to recommend you – especially if you are helping them out once and a while.
- You can get great deals from many different suppliers and retailers. I haven’t actually done this yet, but as soon as I’m done my classes and get some business cards made up – I fully intend to use this.
- You can start to have great contacts with quality contractors and tradespeople.
- You learn a lot about project and client management. While I already know this from my 10 years in Marketing, for those new to business, this is valuable knowledge to have.
- You need experience, and that can take time. While people are definitely willing to hire you, don’t expect to be able to charge much, or anything at all in order to gain credibility and also give yourself some breathing room with clients as you learn.
- You can help your friends out. Yes, this was listed in the PROs also because its a great thing – until its not so great anymore. You want to work for your friends, in fact, your likely insulted if they hire anyone else. However, you are still doing the same job, but probably for less money – even if your friends insist to pay you your full amount. Make sure to lay everything out on the table for friends and ensure your not losing money doing work for them ALL the time.
- Your constantly tempted by beautiful designs and decor. Its our job to stay on top of trends, retailers, sales, and more. But it sucks to see all that and not be able to make over your own home. I spend a lot of time in stores and on-line, searching for inspiration, items for clients and deals for myself. I swear my husband cringes each time I leave the house.
- You will sometimes have your name tarnished by bad tradespeople. This doesn’t have to be a CON, but you have to be very careful in who you (or your clients) select to carry out your designs. If they do a poor job, or lack integrity, the clients dream kitchen (or other space) could end up a disaster with your name attached to it. Fortunately, you do learn techniques on how to prevent this from happening – but I’ve heard of it happening to even the best.
While so far, I have found my experience to be extremely rewarding, it has been extremely difficult balancing work, classes, family, clients, and my urge to completely redesign my home. I’m looking forward to completing my diploma in May and having more time to spend with clients and start making some money to spend on some new projects…I mean pay off debt (because my husband is probably reading this).
For those of you on the fence about hiring a designer – I was once you. I thought I could do it myself. While you definitely can – the list above will hopefully show you some of the advantages. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Thanks again for reading!