The Life of an Interior Designer Consultant

The life of an interior designer consultant is not necessarily everything you expect. If you have an eye for design, you love art and color, and you are creative, you may think that this is your ideal job. It just may be, but there are many elements of the daily work of an interior designer that has nothing to do with design. There is the collaborative aspect, working with other designers and communicating with clients, and then there are the technical and financial with budget setting sides. If you’re interested in starting an interior design career and education, here’s a peek into what it’s really like to work in this industry.

An Interior Designer Consultant Uses Natural Creativity Every Day

While there is more to the job of an interior designer than simply being creative and putting elements together to craft the perfect room, creativity and design is the biggest part of the job. These professionals are trained and educated in design, but they also have a natural creativity that led them into this field in the first place. They are naturally artistic, creative, and good at design, and education and experience enhanced these natural talents.


Interior designer consultants use this natural and developed creativity every day on the job. They take inspiration from everything around them and use it to create interiors for their clients. While they have to meet the demands and requests of their clients, these professionals also have to rely on their own abilities and expertise to create. They select colors, fabrics, furniture, and even design the flow and spacing of entire floors of home, making creative decisions every day.


Not Everything about Being an Interior Designer is Fun

For someone who is naturally creative, the job of interior design is often fun. If you have a passion for design, you will enjoy much of what you do as an interior designer. But don’t expect it to all be fun and about design. There are many other things that designers have to do that are less exciting than putting a space together. For instance, they have to work within a budget, which can be restrictive. It means balancing creativity and design with limitations imposed by money.


Another part of working in interior design that isn’t always fun is communicating with other people. For example, some clients will be dream clients, easy to work with, while others will be more challenging. It can be difficult to tell a client that they can’t afford a brand of furniture they have their heart set on that they don’t have enough budget for a newly designed living room. You may even have to deal with an arguing married couple. Another challenge may be working with industry professionals like suppliers. You may have to haggle over prices and try to get fabrics and materials that are no longer in stock.


A Typical Day on the Job is Hectic

If you like to keep busy, this may be the career for you. A day in the life of an interior designer consultant is typically demanding. You can expect to be up early to check on emails from clients, suppliers, and any designers you work with or a boss that is leading your design team. Then you may head off to a client’s home or a construction site to check on the progress of a job. You may have to consult with contractors or communicate with the clients over decisions ranging from small to majorly important.


You can expect to be going from one site to another, with time in the office in between. When in the office you may be fielding phone calls, talking to companies providing furniture, paint, or fabrics. In between this time, you will be actively designing, sketching a room, comparing swatches, or using software to design a building or room. You may also be spending time hunting down hard-to-find elements for a project, like a special lamp or just the right chair. As an interior designer, there will be lots to do throughout your day.


You May Have to Pay Your Dues as an Interior Designer

As in many industries, you are not likely to get the job of lead designer until you have put in your time, paid your dues, and gotten enough experience to be able to do a job well and to lead a team. If you get the right education and develop a portfolio for your designs, these things can be enough to get your foot in the door, but you may not be designing right away. In fact, your first job might be classified as an interior design internship and you may be in this position for up to two years. Take advantage of this time to learn as much as you can and to make connections that will help you grow in your career. Within a few years you should be in a position in which you are actively designing and working independently, even leading a team.


An Interior Design Consultant Works with People, Every Day

The life of an interior designer may involve a lot of creative design, but this is not the kind of job in which you sit alone designing all day. You have to work with people as an interior designer, all day long. You will work with your co-workers in the design company, for instance. You have to work alongside other designers, sharing ideas and collaborating, and initially you will have to take direction from a team leader. Later you may be the leader, guiding your team.


Additionally, you have to be able to work with clients, communicating with them on a daily basis throughout the duration of a project. You can also expect to work with contractors, electricians, architects, engineers, suppliers, and manufacturers. This is a job for someone who likes to collaborate and work with others all day.


Expect Competition from Other Interior Designer Consultants

Professional careers can be cutthroat, and while you may not expect that of creative workers, there is a lot of competition in this industry. A lot of people are drawn to design, and while there is a need for skilled professionals, there is also competition to get the best jobs. This will be especially important if you decide to strike out on your own and launch your own design firm. Working as a freelancer or starting your own business will mean that you will be competing with other boutique designers and large firms.


Designers have to stay on top of design trends and keep up with technical skills to remain competitive. They do a lot of research into emerging elements in design, keeping tabs on competitors and their designs. They also refresh their skills, taking courses in software or art. As a young designer starting out, you will also need to stand out, which can be tough when you have little to no experience. This is where having a portfolio of your past projects is crucial. It helps you show potential clients and employers that you have the skills and talents necessary to execute their design ideas and become a top designer.


What is the Market Demand for Interior Designers and Consultants?

The industry of interior design is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is growing over the next decade or so. There will be room for thousands more interior designers and consultants between now and 2014. This is a national trend, but the outlook is even better for the regional area of South Florida.


Construction is booming in South Florida and will continue to grow over the next few years. While the trend in new buildings, including both residential and commercial properties, is centered in the Miami area, it has since spread outward from the city. The boom has spread to Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, and other neighborhoods. The increased construction means that there will continue to be a demand for interior designer consultants.


How to Become an Interior Designer Consultant

Now that you know a little bit more about what it’s like to be an interior designer and you know that the market is good for these professionals, are you ready to get started? To become an interior designer you need to have certain skills that are difficult to learn on your own. The best way to get into the industry is to get an education in interior design.

A degree isn’t necessary, but at least a diploma or certificate in interior design will teach you how to use design software, the elements of design, color theory, and other skills you will need to work in this field and get hired by a design firm. Also important is mentorship by professionals in the industry, work experience, which can be in the form of an internship, and a strong portfolio. You can get all of these things from a good interior design program. If you’re ready to get started, check out the interior design courses available in South Florida.

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