Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Have Fun with Your Interior Without Spending a Cent.

How to Have Fun with Your Interior Without Spending a Cent!

In the current world financial situation, money no longer grows on trees! Did it ever?

Money is a lot harder to come by, people are afraid of losing their jobs, worried about their financial future and less likely to be committing to making major changes to their home interiors, but that doesn't mean we have to sit back and put up with the status quo. We can have fun and change our interiors without having to spend a cent. We just need to get a little creative! Here are some ideas on how you can make your home feel like it has had a makeover without spending a cent.

  • shift furniture into different rooms, it's amazing how a change of environment can make a piece of furniture look completely different
  • rearrange your artwork on the walls, reposition mirrors - these help change the light in your room and depending on where you place them, can make a room feel larger
  • clean your walls. I know this sounds too simple, but over time all the little knocks and bumps leave marks, from experience your existing walls can look like they have just been repainted if you give them a good scrub. I use sugar soap - brilliant stuff
  • take down your curtains and give them a vacuum (Hoover - or whatever you call it in your country) Spot clean them, and as for above, they will look much brighter and look as good as new.
  • have a chat with your neighbor and see if they want to swap any home decor for a few months until you both tire of it again. This could be an area rug, artificial flower arrangement, decorative pots, sculpture, wall hanging, vases, coat stands, foot stools, cushions, basically anything that you are sick of looking at. Instead of storing it in the garage or throwing it away, share it and when it comes time to swap back, you may have created new feelings for it!
  • some banks, stores and credit card companies offer rewards points or dollars. Have you thought about using those to get a few new decorative items for your home. An easy way to have the feel good factor of something new without having to part with any money.
  • dig to the back of your linen cupboard and pull out the towels that never get used, bring them to the front and it will feel like you have new towels for your bathroom.
  • the same can be said for bed linen, sheets, duvet covers, pillow slips, cushion covers and bedspreads. We often have more than one but forget about them stuffed down the back of the cupboard, clean out the cupboards and see what you can drag out, mix and match them in your different rooms and you have a new look! Check for throw rugs and cushions that may have been stored away, drag them out give them a dust and find them a new home and store your existing ones back in the cupboard!
  • look in the garage for things that have been put away. Pack up things in the house that you have had enough of looking at, and swap them over. These could be floor standing lamps, side table lamps, collections of glass figurines, children's crafts that you just couldn't part with, and could provide a talking point now they have grown up, a stack of vintage suitcases that you didn't know what to do with, place a linen cover on top and use them as a side table, similar thing with old hat boxes
  • paint the outdoor pots a different color, let's face it we all have paint lying around in our garage, take it out and give the outside a revamp, perhaps paint the front door a new color, or the letterbox
  • make a feature wall from spare wallpaper, if it's textured you could always paint it to add color, or just paint a wall and make it a feature
Well those are just a few ideas to get you started. You can take on the challenge and give your home a quick makeover by using some of these ideas, I bet you will start to think of more as you get started. If you do, add them to the comments at the bottom of this post and share them with us.

Have fun!

find more interior decorating tips

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How do you become a professional interior designer?

How do you become a professional interior designer?

This is a question that I get asked frequently by readers. It is very difficult to answer because all countries have different criteria. So I will give you a brief overview of how I see the path to becoming an interior designer.

Firstly you need to have the desire and passion for interiors, if not you will never make it through the learning period.

Secondly, you need to be able to access quality education. This is easier said than done, and I get asked frequently to recommend education facilities worldwide. Unfortunately I do not have intimate knowledge about global interior design education facilities and who is best in each region, but I can give you some tips on finding the right education facility for you.

  • find out from you local interior design institute or association what are the minimum requirements for you to become a registered or practicing interior designer in your country, then make sure that the education facility will provide you with that opportunity as a minimum.
  • find out the time frame and make sure it fits with your current lifestyle.
  • find out the price of the course and make certain that you are getting value for money by comparing the curriculum of different facilities available to you against how much they charge and how much tutoring time you will receive. (Here are two places on the website where you can search for design schools and find education facilities.)
  • check if they offer you one on one tutoring or question and answer time or are you just set assignments to answer and then receive grades. Feedback is very important for interior design as it is a creative vocation, and not simply black and white, yes or no answer education.
  • ring around local interior design practices and see if you can get some work experience and make sure it is the desired vocation for you. If this is not possible, call them on the phone and ask what sort of education and experience would they require to employ an interior designer at their practice. This will start to give you an idea on how hard or how easy this journey will be for you
Thirdly, test the water! As I mentioned above, contact a local interior design practice. Ask if they would be happy to have you "hanging around" whilst you are studying to learn and get some real experience of how the industry works, this is so important, because interior design is not just about making interiors look good, there is a great deal of planning, paperwork, client interaction, and management involved and these areas can be very stressful, so if you aren't an organized person, being a professional interior designer could be a struggle for you. Try short courses on interior design or areas of interior decorating that interest you, get some background training and make sure that you want to take the step to become a professional interior designer. Obviously is a great place to do this testing as we offer you free ecourses on interior decorating, color and curtain design. These ecourses are extensive, cover a great deal of information and give you the wonderful opportunity of making sound decisions on your future. If you partake in these ecourse, enjoy them and feel the desire to learn more, then your decision is made. Get out there and become a professional interior designer.

Finally continuing education, as an interior designer it is vital that you constantly keep learning about your industry. It changes constantly like any other area that has trends and fashion.
At we offer a website that will help back you up on your learning, you can do your research there, search for product and materials information, learn about fittings and fixtures, get ideas for brain storming design concepts, learn the "lingo" of designers by using the glossary and get prompted by our newsletters to read something of interest about interiors and keep your creative mind active.

So to conclude, some countries do not have any form of registration to become an interior designer, whilst this is good for you, it also means that the industry in your country could have "cowboys" or unprofessionals. This means that the industry will probably have a bad reputation, no set standards or guidelines which makes it difficult to quote or estimate for projects as you don't know what your opposition will be pricing on and the consumer often does not have realistic expectations. The best thing to do here is set your own standards, get a good reputation and by word of mouth you should be able to succeed. For the countries with quality registration practices, then you know that if you pass, you have a high quality education and are employable, and the industry should have a good name.

I hope that this will provide you with some tools to help guide your career. If anyone has comments about any education facilities that have been to and liked or disliked, then feel free to share them with us by commenting below.

Chris Brown, is currently writing a new website specifically designed for professional interior designers. He wants to know what information would be useful to you in your current position. He will be covering areas like project management, contractors and consultants, marketing your business, presentation drawing, drafting and documentation, contracts, construction, CAD and more. If there is anything that you can think of that would be an advantage to you as a professional, then please make a comment below, or fill out the poll on the left.

Sorry, I know this is a long post, but if you have a few spare moments could you please vote for us as the best education website at the vote for us link. Scroll down to best education website and put into the space and send off your vote. Thanks in advance!

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