Friday, February 14, 2014

Always Keep Searching for Something New

Always Keep Searching fro Something New

As usual  I am on my "high horse" about products. There is so much choice when you are an interior designer that it can become easy to just specify what you know and become lazy. This is my advice for you today, don't - keep searching for something better. There are so many new and exciting products becoming available that it is difficult to keep up with but if you don't you will miss out on exciting opportunities to create something special.

I am currently working with a client and they want a large feature wall coming from the outside in - they want it to be concrete and look really special. The obvious way to achieve this is create a concrete tilt slab panel, but this is a very expensive option as the wall is very long. I just happen to stumble upon an alternative solution when I was looking at tiles - it is a very large tile that looks like concrete has been poured over timber and the finished result is a wonderful timber texture in a porcelain tile format that looks like a concrete wall. It looks great and I think it will be a perfect solution for the planned feature concrete wall going into the house, it looks good, is easy to install and is more cost effective that the solid concrete option and it will speed up the build time.

In our office we have wall paper that fools everyone, it also looks like concrete panels. From a distance it creates a three dimensional effect, it appears to be made of something solid, but up close you can see that it is a textured wall paper.

There are thousands of fabulous wallpapers around now that can really make a difference. I recently designed a bar, it was very structured in look and it need a little bit extra to finish it off. I chose a wallpaper with circles and there you have it the last piece of the puzzle to lift the entire look of the space.

wallpaper makes a difference

You can get tiles that have a mirror finish, multi-functional products.

Vinyl has become a new tool for designers. There are numerous designs of wall decals around to create feature walls. These are versatile, permanent or temporary if you want to change a look frequently, like in a retail store.

Check for environmental choices of products, you will find that there are options now that have been designed and produced from recycled materials or are easily recycled when their use has ended. Take some time and read a bit about what you are specifying. Ask the sales representatives questions, check with the retail salesperson about just what you are specifying or purchasing. It all adds to your range of products that you can use and your general knowledge when a client asks you to design an environmentally friendly interior.

I hope that this insight into my world helps you make good design decisions.

Here is some information to get you thinking about bamboo flooring

Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Find Clients for your Interior Decorating Business

How to Find Clients for your Interior Decorating Business

I have recently received an email from a student informing me that they have learned a lot through the interior decorating ecourse and now want to get some work, how do they find clients?
It is a very good question and one that I am sure many of you are also wondering what the best way to find clients is?

There is no easy recipe. Firstly you need to talk to friends and family, I normally don't advise people to "work" for free, but when you are just starting out, it can be a good way to get some referrals. For example, if you help you sister choose her new paint colors and your sister's friends come for dinner and admire the new scheme, there is your first referral, and it branches out from there.

You could offer to help with a local community project in return for put your advertising on their noticeboard or in their newsletter. This shows that you are a generous person in the community and it helps with gaining trust from potential clients.

You can visit local stores who sell decorating products and see if they are willing to have your business cards available in return for specifying their products.

You can advertise online but word of mouth referrals are the best way to get clients.

I would suggest starting with lots of small projects until you feel confident embarking on larger ones. It is better to make a mistake when you are learning on little jobs, the cost to fix things are small, if it happens on a large job and you don't have insurance to cover it then your business can be over before you really get started!

Don't forget to take quality photographs of the work you do so you can use it to gain more clients. Set up a brochure or album to show potential clients. Set up a website and you can direct people to it to see the projects you have undertaken.

I hope this give those of you who are thinking about taking interior decorating up as a career some tips on how to get started.

If you want more information on being a professional interior designer then visit

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Coming to Grips with Quirky Ideas

Quirky Interiors

It's great that we all have different interests and ideas about how we live, it creates a well balanced society. The hardest part about this as an interior designer is putting aside your interests and ideas and getting into the client's headspace. 

So here are some tips on how to work with quirky interiors.

  • Show interest and get an understanding of how they live in their space.
  • Find out what are the really important things in their interior that need to be retained and what is surplus to requirements, items put there because they had no where else to put them.
  • Gauge how far they are willing to embrace new concepts and ideas, show them a few magazines and get a feel for what they like. Most people don't like change, so you have a privilege that they have asked you to do it for them, it is not an easy job. Take you time, this front end of a client designer relationship is critical.
  • Go for a shopping excursion and get a feel for what catches their eye, you will soon start to see a pattern. You may not agree with their style and quirky ideas, but you have the skills to bring it together and make to look good and be functional.
  • If skulls and crossbones aren't your thing, pretend that you are a set designer for a movie or play and create a challenge for yourself. I recently watched a movie where the whole house was full of American Indian paraphernalia, not to my taste, and yes it was quirky but edgy in a disturbing way!
  • The main thing to remember is that you can design with a style, theme or period but you still need to make it a functional home. Take ideas and make them work , use period furniture and upholster it with a modern version of the fabrics of the  period. Keep the room simple in design (like and art gallery) and decorate with the feature pieces. Make the quirky collections a focal point without distraction. 
  • Some people love to be surrounded in bright colors, this you may find quirky, but for some it is their way of expressing their personalities, bright yellows and bold reds, with a splash of purple. You can do this in a home if you don't mix them all in one space, make them transition from one area to another. Keep the decoration simple so it doesn't compete with the color. 
The most quirky home I have been in had dead animals everywhere. They had been stuffed (taxidermy) and there was a bat hanging from the door frame into the kitchen, deer heads staring at me from the wall, a dog near the door to greet me. This was over the top quirky for me as it is something I would never consider in my own home. This person was a collector of many quirky things and in each room there was another surprise. Even on the lawn there was a flying saucer type contraption that was a 1960's style form of accommodation with little oval port holes! I quite liked this but it was a little lost with all the taxidermy in the house, not quite the same theme.

I guess my take on entering other people's homes is that they are their sanctuaries and we are lucky to be given the opportunity to take a look at their lives and enhance their style and make the interior environment a more harmonious place to live no matter what form the decoration takes.

Quirky Interior Design Ideas

So take on the challenge, ensure you a gracious and sympathetic to their needs and you will find taking yourself out of your own comfort zone may be just what you need to improve your interior design skills. 
Have fun!
For some styles and periods ideas visit Styles and Periods, and for color ideas try Popular  Color Scheme Ideas

Free Interior Decorating Color eCourse

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