Interior Decorating For Fun & Profit!

Interior decorating has grown 11% in the last five years and will continue to grow as more people are working outside the home and acquiring more money. If you are constantly being asked for your interior design ideas, this could be an incredible opportunity for you. All you need to do is make a few decisions and love to create beautiful home interiors.

The first thing to decide is if you want to be an interior designer or just do interior decorating. It may not seem like a big difference, but it actually is. An Interior Designer has to graduate from an accredited Interior Design program, and in many States, the person must take an exam and are licensed. However, if you don’t want to attend school right now or ever, you can opt to be an interior decorator instead.

Before selling your interior decorating services, you must practice. Learn some of the tricks to decorating on a budget, and get ideas about what services you want to provide to your customers. Try these services out in your own home, and offer them for free in the homes of your family and friends. It is great practice and can help to build your portfolio.

To build your portfolio take before and after pictures of each project you do, whether it is large or small. You should have fifteen to twenty pictures in your portfolio and letters of recommendation from happy clients. It is also a good practice to create design boards for each project, and keep them with your portfolio.

Once you have decided on opening an interior decorating business, you should call around to different competitors to get an idea of the services they provide and the fees they charge for their services. This is a great way to decide on how to charge your clients.

There are several ways to price your interior decorating services. They include using a flat fee, hourly fee, percentage fee, cost plus, retail cost or per square foot fee. Most interior decorating businesses use the cost plus method for their fees.

To use the cost plus method, you must contact wholesalers and retailers who offer interior decorating businesses discounts. This way you purchase everything for the project from paint to furniture. You then, sell the products and your services to the client for your cost of the products plus the twenty percent going rate.

Now that you have decided what services you will provide and the cost for each, it is time to advertise. Since you have contacted suppliers, ask them if you can leave interior decorating flyers and business cards at their locations. If these suppliers have seen your work, and make sure they do, they may also refer their customers to you.

You should also contact realtors, new homebuilders, business offices, stores, hotels and just about anywhere that uses an interior that needs to be decorated. Send each a letter announcing the opening of your business, make sure there is a name on the letter and envelope, and not a generic “Business Owner” opening. Follow up with a phone call and try to get an appointment to present them with information about you and your interior decorating business. Even if they are not interested right now, they will be in the future, and you want to make sure they remember you.

You can also offer services in the way of teaching a class on home interior decorating. Many community colleges offer personal enrichment classes for everyone in the community. In the class have each person pick a room in their home they want to redecorate. By the end of the class, their room should be complete and you will have more happy customers to spread the word about you and your business.

Once you have started your business, you should subscribe to trade periodicals, and visit websites to get interior decorating tips and ideas from others in the industry. You should purchase books about different areas of decorating and techniques you can use.

Many of the industry associations will only accept members that are licensed Interior Designers. Keep this in mind when you are planning your future goals, but remember there are also many successful interior designers who are not licensed.

With your thoughts now racing about interior decorating, costs, marketing and keeping up with trends, you seem to have made your decision. Start calling competitors, and decorating friends and family’s homes. Open your own interior designing business now.

A Career in Interior Decorating

Imagine having a career that lets you use your creativity to make homes and businesses more beautiful and comfortable. Welcome to the world of interior decorating!

There are few careers that offer so many benefits. As an interior decorator you will have the satisfaction of making your vision a reality. You will meet interesting people, and because many people who hire interior decorators are wealthy, you will likely spend time in many beautiful homes and businesses. If you start your own decorating business you can enjoy the freedom of being your own boss. And perhaps most importantly, your “work” will be fun, interesting, and rewarding.

As long as you have the desire, you can become an interior decorator. No special education or experience is necessary to break into this career and succeed. (Unlike becoming a certified interior designer which has strict requirements including two to five years of post-secondary education in interior design.) You can become an interior decorator immediately.

If interior decorating sounds like the career of your dreams, here are 10 steps to breaking into this fabulous job, based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Interior Decorator published by FabJob.com:

1. Train your eye

Since you are interested in a career as a interior decorator, chances are you already have a “good eye” for design. In other words, when you look at a room you can see what looks good, and what could be improved. But no matter how naturally talented you are, you can continually “train your eye” by studying what people consider to be good design.

Seek out beautifully decorated interiors to look at. You can find numerous examples of beautiful interiors in design magazines or in your own community by visiting show homes, open houses for sale in wealthy neighborhoods, furniture showrooms, historic homes, art galleries, and offices of professionals such as interior decorators and corporate lawyers.

2. Educate yourself

Interior decorators are expected to know about the various elements involved in decorating such as: space planning (how to arrange furniture and other items within a particular space), use of color and light, furniture and decorating styles (for example, Colonial or Southwestern), floorings, wall coverings, window treatments, and use of accessories such as pillows and art. You can learn decorating basics through courses, books, web sites, and even by speaking with retailers of products used in home decorating (paint, carpet, lighting, hardware stores, etc.)

3. Practice at home

Most interior decorators get their first decorating experience working on their own homes. Even if you have just one small room to experiment with, you can get “hands-on” experience with a variety of decorating techniques. For example, you can make a dramatic change to any room, quickly and inexpensively, simply by rearranging the furniture or painting the walls a new color. Give it a try! Experiment with techniques you wouldn’t ordinarily use. Consider this room your “research lab” where you can try things out before recommending them to a client.

4. Volunteer your services

Your friends and family members may already have asked for your advice about decorating, but if they haven’t yet asked you to actually decorate their homes or businesses, why not offer?

Some occasions your family or friends may want to redecorate are when they experiencing transitions in life, such as: marriage or co-habitation (help them merge two households into one), moving into a new home, childbirth (offer to decorate the baby’s room), hosting a special event such as a wedding or dinner party, starting a home business (you could decorate their new office), and selling a home (explain how a well decorated home can attract buyers).

5. Prepare a portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of samples of your work, plus any other documents that can help show why someone should hire you. The most important part of an interior decorator’s portfolio is photographs of interiors you have decorated, so make sure you take “before” and “after” photos of every space you decorate. Choose 15-20 photographs of work you are proud of, and arrange them in a photo album or portfolio case.

Your portfolio can also include letters of recommendation and “design boards” (poster boards onto which you have pasted pictures and samples of materials such as fabrics, flooring, wallpaper, etc.) to show clients what you recommend to decorate a particular room.

6. Get a job

Even if you plan to start your own interior decorating business, you can learn about the business and meet potential clients by starting with a job in the industry. Companies that hire people with decorating talent include home builders, manufacturers of furniture and housewares, hotel and restaurant chains, retailers (furniture stores, home improvement stores, antiques dealers, housewares stores, etc.), plus interior design and decorating firms.

To get a job, you will need to prepare a resume that emphasizes your experience with decorating plus any other skills the employer is looking for, such as customer service or organizational ability.

7. Start your own business

Many interior decorators dream of being their own boss. If that’s your goal, you’ll need to decide on business matters such as your company’s name and whether to incorporate or not. Free basic business advice is available from organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Many interior decorators choose to work from home when they start their businesses because it saves on the cost of an office and, unlike many other types of businesses, you won’t be expecting clients to come to you – you will usually be going to their homes or offices.

8. Establish relationships with suppliers

Suppliers are companies that supply the products and services you need to decorate. They include manufacturers of furniture, wall coverings, flooring, fabrics, etc. as well as contractors who do painting, carpentry, installation, etc. When you go shopping as a professional interior decorator, you are entitled to “designer discounts” of up to 50% off the regular retail price which you can pass on to clients.

While some decorators charge an hourly rate or a flat fee, others charge “cost-plus.” For example, if your cost for a product is 40% percent below the regular retail price, you could charge the client your cost plus 20%, thereby saving the client the other 20% they would pay to buy the same item at a retail store. This opportunity to save money on decorating may convince clients to hire you.

9. Get clients

Your potential clients could include home builders, new home buyers, wealthy home owners, professional couples, advertising agencies, art galleries, bed and breakfasts, boutique stores, corporate head offices, hotels, law firms, restaurants, spas, and many other types of businesses.

One way to market your services is by networking with professionals who can refer business to you, such as real estate agents, architects, antiques dealers, art dealers, home renovators, and owners of businesses that sell home furnishings. Other marketing techniques include putting up a web page with photos of interiors you have decorated and getting publicity in the homes section of your local newspaper.

10. Grow as a professional

Successful interior decorators continue to learn new decorating techniques. Once you have started a business you can continue to develop your skills by attending trade shows, reading decorating magazines and books, and joining professional associations. You can also impress clients and have an advantage over your competition by becoming certified as a professional interior decorator.

Interior Design Vs Interior Decorating Vs Home Staging Vs Interior Redesign – What’s the

The other day a real estate agent whose listings I stage for sale introduced me to someone as a “designer”. I didn’t want to take the time to correct him, but I thought to myself, “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people use ‘designer’ erroneously. It’s often used to label someone who’s an interior decorator. So, why does everyone lump us all in one category, when we all clearly do something different?”

To put the differences succinctly:

Interior Design involves, among many other things, the preparation of documents often by a licensed professional for the construction of an interior space such as plans and elevations, and details and specifications, including lighting, power and communication locations, materials and finishes, and furniture layouts.
Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space, such as fabrics, wall coverings, furniture, decorative accessories, flooring, light fixtures etc., and takes into account the lifestyle, taste, needs and preferences of the user of the space. While interior designers may decorate, interior decorators don’t design.
Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and “decorating” so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
Interior Redesign is often done by home stagers for homeowners not currently selling because it employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Now, let’s explore each one more in-depth.

Interior Design

According to the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ):

Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment.
These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive.
Designs are created in response to and coordinated with thebuilding shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.
Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.
The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the leading organization for interior design professionals. Certain levels of its members must meet certain education, work experience and examination requirements administered by the NCIDQ. Further, some states have licensing requirements for interior designers which include the passage of this exam. ASID also has continuing education requirements for its members.

Interior Decorating

No wonder people often confuse Interior Decorating with Interior Design. Even I had trouble finding a definition for Interior Decorating. Often it said “see interior design”.

Perhaps its best to understand interior decorating as it exists in contrast to interior design:

An interior decorator would select floor coverings based upon the tastes and lifestyle of the client, whereas the interior designer would take it a step further and look at usage, sound transference, flammability, etc.
An interior decorator would select lighting fixtures, whereas the interior designer would plan for the location of lighting and ensure that it is in compliance with building and safety codes.
An interior decorator does not need to have any formal education and/or work experience, testing or licensing, whereas an interior designer does.

Home Staging

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home for sale so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers in order to sell quickly and for top dollar. The objective is to make the potential buyer fall in love with the home, envision themselves living there and aspire to the lifestyle the home portrays.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association’s Consumer’s Guide to Home Staging, it is a “systematic and coordinated methodology in which knowledge of real estate, home renovations and creative design principles are applied to attract a buyer.”

Home staging involves any or all of the following:

Evaluating what furniture and decorative accessories (throw pillows, artwork, decorative objects, lamps, knickknacks, etc.) the owner has, and:

– eliminating some of the furniture and/or decorative accessories, otherwise known as decluttering as well as depersonalizing (removal of family photos, trophies, collections etc. so the buyer can envision living there)

– arranging the furniture and accessories for optimal placement to enhance flow (the ability to walk freely through the room), focal point enhancement (e.g., emphasizing a fireplace or a beautiful view), balance (are there too many or too large pieces in the bookcase or on only one side of the room?) and the positive aspects of the home while downplaying the negatives

Carefully selecting for purchase or rent, if necessary, the appropriate furniture and accessories for the style of the home and it’s market.
Recommending, implementing and/or arranging for enhancements, updates and repairs such as painting, flooring, sink fixtures, lighting fixtures, window treatments, landscaping, etc.

Interior Redesign

As stated above, interior redesign is like home staging, however it enhances the home for the homeowners rather than for potential buyers. And it does so with an eye towards its future sale. It is like home staging in that it primarily uses the client’s existing furniture and decorative accessories to transform the space, and may also involve the purchase of additional furniture and accessories as well as updates to the wall colors, window treatments, lighting fixtures etc.

Summary

To summarize the differences:

Interior Design involves the planning of all aspects of interior space often by a licensed professional.
Interior Decorating involves the adornment of surfaces in the interior space. Interior designers may decorate, but interior decorators don’t design.
Home Staging is preparing the home for sale through updates and showcasing so that it appeals to the broadest range of buyers for the market that the home is in.
Interior Redesign employs many of the same principles that home stagers use, such as primarily using what furniture and decorative accessories the homeowner already has, with an eye towards the future sale of the home.

Interior Decorating DIY

Interior decorating? You can do it yourself. This is not rocket science. With some thought and planning you can achieve professional-looking results. The number one and most important thing to understand is that you can create a magnificent and well-designed interior no matter what your budget. You can improve the ambience of any room in your home without spending a fortune. Interior decorating DIY is easily accomplished even when you have little or no money to spend. Sometimes, it involves simply rearranging the items and objects in your home.

With that in mind, you MUST set a budget when decorating, or you WILL spend too much money. Interior decorating is fun! In order to set an appropriate budget, review both your finances and your vision, room-by-room, in order to arrive at your best guesstimate. If you need assistance with establishing a budget for your interior decorating ideas, there are many resources available on the Internet. Or, you may want to refer to the resource listed at the end of this article. After you create your budget, stick to it and you will create the home of your dreams.

You do not need any experience as an interior decorator to improve the look and feel of your home. Most people know instinctively how to improve the looks of their homes. And the great thing is you can generally achieve your vision while working within your budget. Like most people who have tried interior decorating DIY, you will probably be able to achieve the look you want without going broke.

In addition to the sheer fun and excitement of changing the look of some rooms, you will inexpensively increase the value of your home. Simply find an interior decorating guide on the Internet or in your library. Then use the simple tools and techniques suggested in the interior decorating guide to create a happier more prosperous living environment. You do not have to spend a lot of money to create a superior interior for your home. Some of the most beautiful homes are designed and decorated with simple, practical, and beautiful objects. If you already have an interior decorating idea, a simple online search should produce a variety of suggestions for implementing your idea.

Most of the tips, strategies and tools provided in interior decorating guides are for people interested in decorating rooms without spending a fortune. Some decorating tips cost nothing to implement and some require several hundred dollars. Pick out the tips that align with your budget and you will find it easier than you ever imagined to design the interior of your home easily and completely.

Everyone has a different interior decorating idea. The steps outlined in an interior decorating guide apply whether you live in an apartment or duplex, small home or large home, office, or anywhere with a room that requires a make-over. Read your guide thoroughly so you can create a realistic blueprint for success when planning to decorate your interior on your budget. Interior decorating DIY (do it yourself) is not as difficult as it may seem. Take action. Obtain an interior decorating guide. Implement a simple decorating project to enhance one room. You CAN do it yourself!