Interior Decorating – When You Should Hire a Decorator

Whether it’s a new home, a new office or a new room, interior decorating is an important part of getting it ready for the future users. When it comes to who does the decorating however, people are usually torn. Should they use a professional or work on the project themselves? For those who are unsure, following are some tips on when you should hire a decorator for the home or office.

If you want a certain feel.

For those who are aiming for a specific emotion in their room, it would be best to get a professional that would provide this result. A good example of this would be for offices. If a lawyer wants their office to look professional, then they would need to use specific colors for the room. However, the office of psychiatrists would need a professional yet comforting design. This way, patients would be able to talk or tell what they fell.

If you’re working on multiple rooms.

For large scale projects, the input of a professional would be so much better. The sheer number of the rooms can actually be very tiring to design, thus necessitating the help of a decorator. Also, this requires very different approaches on each room, something a professional has more experience in.

If you don’t have the time.

Interior decorating can take up lots of time. It’s OK for those who have a flexible schedule, but most people do not really have this option. By hiring a decorator to the job, homeowners can simply coordinate with that person to keep updated with how the project is going. In any case, a decorator would ask their client about any changes, hence making it possible for the individual to monitor everything that happens.

If you’re on a budget.

Now this might sound counterproductive, but the fact is that in the long run, decorators are actually cheaper. This is because they are experienced enough to get a specific design at first try. Sometimes, personally designing a home leaves the homeowner unsatisfied, prompting them to make changes that are not within the budget. With a decorator however, they will be able to achieve the results they want without buying something twice. In most cases, professional interior design only starts once the client and the decorator decided on a budget. Plus, interior decorating with a professional gives a client access to discounts provided by the decorator’s contacts.

Of course, those who intend on decorating only one room might resort to personally designing it. For example, a guest room might not need as much attention as office rooms or the living room. However, also take into account the importance of the room to be designed. A good example would a nursery. For couples who are about to welcome a baby in their home, it might be a better idea to choose a professional for the job. This way, they can be sure to get results that are perfect for a newborn. Keep in mind though that there are different interior decorators nowadays so be careful when choosing one.

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 and Interior Decorating – Some Definitions

Interior Decoration and Interior Design, although related disciplines, are different in terms of their application. Interior Decoration is the process of decorating a house with regards to finishes (for example wallpaper and paint, choice of furniture and fittings as well as adding finishing touches and decorations such as paintings and objets d’art. All of this provide a certain “feel” to a house but essentially the underlying structure of the house is not changed.

Interior decoration is normally professionally done by Interior Decorators although recently the trend has been for people to learn about Interior Decorating through various courses or books and then apply the techniques themselves-usually on a shoestring budget. The whole objective of Interior Decorating is to make a house aesthetically pleasing and at the same time, unique, since it should reflect the owner’s specific personality and tastes.

Interior design on the other hand is more integrated with the architecture of a building and a professional Interior Designer will work closely with architects and builders to make choices regarding the integral design of the whole house or building. This includes looking at choices with regards to room layout, choice of cabinets and tiles and lots of other design factors. While the Interior Design budget for new developments used to be minimal, it is recognized these days that incorporating Interior Design into the project means the difference between a run-of-the-mill development and one that contributes to the branding and life-style image of the project. The money spent on Interior Design is therefore seen as a worthwhile investment in the whole property development process.

Homeowners are spending more and more to improve their homes. Since it is relatively easy to change the appearance of a house by changing the finishings and fittings a large portion of this money goes into Interior Decorating. The growing popularity in do-it-yourself Interior Decorating has meant that a whole industry around Interior Decorating courses, books and TV Shows have also sprung up, and it has become a popular hobby for married couples. Innovative Interior Decoration ideas, which cost less but at the same time giving the impression of style and class, are in vogue.

Young entrepreneurs have also seen the gap and there is a growing demand for information and courses on how to break into the Interior Design and Interior Decoration Industry. This has also given the home {interior decoration industry a boost.

Although the trend recently is for people to tackle the exciting task of transforming a house themselves, it has to be recognized that this falls more in the area of Interior Decorating. Interior Design still requires study of the context of Interior Design, the theory of good design, knowledge of the technical advances in the engineering industry for both residential as well as commercial buildings and knowledge of the latest trends and advances in the Interior Design industry.

In short, an Interior Design project in which all the elements of design are pulled together is still the ambit of the professional designer who should be able to deliver on projects that extend beyond the boundaries of a hobby pastime.