Archive for July, 2015
Home Staging and Interior Decorating are two fields that are very similar but have many differences as well. It is important to understand these differences before jumping into either one. If you are interested in a career in one of the two, having a good understanding of not only what the job entails, but what is included in the industry, what will be expected of you, and what type of skill and knowledge you will need to have, will help you decide which field is right for you! Both Home Stagers and Interior Decorators need to understand the principles of design from color theory to floorplans, but it is how they use this knowledge that creates the difference.
Home Staging is ever increasing in demand. With the housing market becoming more difficult, many people turn to home stagers to help them prepare their home for sale. Home stagers are incredibly important to the real estate process. Home stagers need to understand how to properly declutter a room, removing unwanted items and creating a superbly organized and simple space. Stagers need to work closely with clients to depersonalize their homes, removing personal items and favorable mementos. It is the home stager’s job to stage the home so that it is appealing to many different people and allows potential buyers to envision themselves in the space. Home stagers learn how to not only create an appealing space inside the home, but they are responsible for the outside of the home as well. Curb appeal is incredibly important for first impressions and this is something a home stager needs to be aware of.
As a home stager, you will need to have an eye for design. Home Stagers understand color theory, focal points and different room styles. They will need to know how to work with the items within the home and how to restyle creatively to obtain a different feel within the room. Home Stagers also need to understand floorplans and how to work with different structures and lay outs. Lighting, window treatments, and furniture selection are all key components a home stager must understand when hoping to become successful in the industry.
What is incredibly important to differentiate a home stager from any other design career is the understanding of real estate principles. Home stagers need to know a considerate amount about the real estate market. Is it a strong market? What are housing prices like? What are people looking for these days? Being able to perceive and predict what’s happening in the real estate world will help any home stager get ahead while staging a client’s home for sale. Home stagers often work very closely with real estate agents and in different agencies.
Interior decorating is the art of going into a client’s home, working with their items and budget, and creating a new style to please everyone’s needs. Interior decorators are responsible for furnishing and accessorizing a client’s home based on their preferred taste and style. Interior decorators work with the already existing elements throughout a home and use their experience and knowledge to make the idea come to life. They need to be up-to-date with current trends and styles while always listening to the client and having their preferred ideas in mind. Understanding organizational principles is especially important when working as an interior decorator.
As an interior decorator, you will need to understand advanced color theory and the classic elements of design. Interior decorators need to know how to work with many different materials and textiles. They need to have an understanding of window and wall treatments, lighting, papering and more. Interior decorators use floorplans quite heavily and will need to have a deep understanding of space planning, balance, visual weight, and how to use scale.
Interior decorators work very closely with their clients. They follow the budget the clients set out for them and are responsible to work with the client to decide on the best style and idea for the room. Interior decorators need to understand the principles of customer service. They need to be able to present their ideas in a professional manner and learn to adapt to whatever the client throws their way. Interior decorators have the amazing opportunity of helping individuals design their homes however they imagined. Using their keen eye for design as well as their skills and training, interior decorators can transform a simple home into a masterpiece!
While Home Staging and Interior Decorating share many of the same principles, they are certainly quite different when laid out side by side. Home Stagers use their skills to redesign a home for sale. They declutter and depersonalize in the hopes to make the house seem appealing to all potential homebuyers. Interior Decorating on the other hand, hopes to achieve the opposite. Interior Decorators want to follow the client’s ideas to make their home unique and special to them. In both cases, people hoping to work in either industry need to have an eye for design and a love of working with people.
Are you thinking of starting a career as either a Home Stager or Interior Decorator? Check out QC’s courses in Home Staging and Interior Decorating!
Color theory can be a difficult thing to grasp at first. You have to know the proper terminology, (which may go against what you’ve been saying your whole life – who knew “tint,” “tone,” and “shade” were all so different), understand how colors are classified and the effects they have, and let alone memorize all the types of color schemes you need to be aware of!
So save, bookmark, or use this Color Cheat Sheet infographic on your own site, to refer back to when you need a little refresher on color theory.
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Please include attribution to http://theblog.qccareerschool.com/ with this graphic.
You may have gone your whole life saying that something was a shade of blue, when really the use of “tint” would have been more appropriate. There is different terminology you should use based on how the color was mixed. Here’s the low down on color terminology:
A hue is a pure color. What’s a pure color, you ask? A pure color is simply a color without any white or black added to it. The term “hue” can also be used to describe colors that are derived from other pure colors. A tint is produced when you add white to a color, while a shade is produced when you add black. A tone is produced by adding gray, or its complement, to “tone it down.”
Different colors have different effects on people. One may make you feel more relaxed, while another stimulates your senses. Here’s a quick overview of how different color groups make us feel:
Active colors (like red, orange, and yellow):
Common Feelings Generated: Energetic, enhanced appetite, fun
Passive colors (like green, blue, and purple):
Common Feelings Generated: Serenity, cool, concentration, dreaminess
Neutral colors (like drown, beige, and gray):
Common Feelings Generated: Order, formality, soothing
When dreaming up a color scheme for a particular room in the home, you’ll want to make use of the color wheel. The color wheel is specifically designed to show the different relationships between the colors, letting you know which ones can live harmoniously with one another and will be visually appealing to the eye. As a design professional, this is especially important to achieve harmony in your designs.
Here are the color schemes that you should know:
Complementary: Two colors that are directly opposite the other and have the same intensity.
Tip: For practical use in the home, it’s better to use one color as the dominant hue and use the other as an accent in smaller doses.
Double Complementary: Two sets of complementary colors that are close together on the wheel.
Split Complementary: Uses a single color plus both colors on either side of its complementary color.
Tip: This is a good alternative to lessen the intensity of a complementary color scheme.
Triad: A group of three colors that are of equal distance from one another on the color wheel.
Tip: Use tints and tones to lessen the intensity.
Tetrad: A group of four colors that are of equal distance from one another.
Proceed with caution: Choose your colors carefully to find a good way to balance all four colors.
Adjacent/Analogous: Two or three colors next to eachother on the color wheel.
Tip: Use one color as the dominant hue, and use the others as accents.
Monochromatic: The combination of different tints, shades, and tones using only one hue.
And there you have it, the basics of some color theory! Remember to put the infographic to good use and refer to it when you need a little color theory 101.
Interested in learning more about color theory and other important design elements? Check out our courses at QC Design School!
When it comes to using social media for business, there are many things you should consider and be aware of. Your social media sites are a way for people to find you, engage with you, and to get to know your brand. Projecting a professional image is key, especially in a public forum where everyone can see exactly what you’re posting and how you respond to certain situations. Good or bad, this can drastically affect whether or not a potential client who follows you wants to give you their business. Check out our do’s and don’ts when using social media for business in order to get the most out of it and avoid getting into any hot water.
Do: Be prompt and courteous
If you’re using social media for your business, be aware that clients and potential clients will use this as a means to communicate with you. This may be a post to your Facebook timeline, a comment on your Instagram photo, or a reply to a tweet on Twitter. Whatever the case, you should reply in a timely manner and be polite! Your social media business page is visible to the public, and if you’ve written a poor response to someone, everyone can see it. By replying quickly and professionally, you’re giving your followers a taste of the quality of service you provide.
Tips for replying:
Say “hi” first
Thank them for reaching out
Be polite but not overly formal
Stay friendly and upbeat (use emojis and exclamations!)
Provide relevant links to your website when applicable (like pricing information, samples of your work, contact info page, etc.)
For Twitter in particular, because you are limited to only 140 characters, you probably won’t be able to follow all of these tips. Provide as much information as you can, use shortened links, and don’t be afraid to respond in multiple tweets if you need to.
Don’t: Get into heated debates
When browsing the social media world and engaging with other users through your business account, try your very best not to get into heated debates. Everyone has an opinion, and you should be confident in yours but understanding to those that differ. If someone tries to spark a debate with you, remember to respond with dignity and grace (should you decide to respond at all). I like to follow the motto of “kill them with kindness.” Even if it’s not on your own business page, your followers are sometimes notified of your activity and you don’t want them to see you in a pointless debate with someone you don’t even know. This reflects poorly on your business and followers will be hesitant to work with you.
On the other hand, you might have someone causing trouble on your own social media page. Before you do anything, like “hiding” their post/comment, blocking the user all together, or responding back, you should investigate. Are they simply being an “internet troll” (someone who starts fights over the internet for their own personal amusement), are they just being plain rude or offensive, or are their negative posts justified? After you’ve investigated, decide whether or not it merits a block or a direct response from you. But don’t go on a blocking spree! If someone gives you a bad review, however, you should address it professionally instead of blocking it from the public. Learn more about dealing with bad reviews here.
Do: Post original content
Social media is one of the best ways to get your original content out there. When you post a blog article to your website, share it on all of your social media sites so that your followers can check it out and then share it with their friends as well. When posting your own content, this shows your followers that you’re the authority on the subject and their go-to guru when they have questions or need to hire a professional for the job! Want to learn more about blog writing? Check this out.
Don’t: Steal images
When working in a creative field like makeup artistry, event planning, or home decor, it’s almost impossible to log on to your social media sites without seeing a stunning eyeshadow application, an exquisite centerpiece, or a perfect kitchen design that you want to share with your followers. But you should never save an image you find on social media and pass it off as your own – that’s a no-brainer! But what a lot of people don’t know, is that you could still get into a lot of trouble for using other people’s images without their consent, even if you don’t try to claim it as yours. That’s why you should always use the share/retweet/regram functions available if you want your followers to see something you loved, unless you have received explicit permission to use the photo from it’s original owner. Using the designated sharing functions is a perfectly acceptable way to pass something on to your followers.
Note: Be careful when asking someone permission to use their images. Even if they say “yes”, they themselves may very well have stolen the image from elsewhere… and you can be held liable for using stolen pictures.
Do: Stay relevant
Remember to post things that are relevant to your brand. If you’re a makeup artist sharing blog posts about your favorite restaurants downtown, that might not be something your followers will appreciate! If you’ve branded your site as a source for makeup inspiration, then that’s what your followers are expecting from you and will most likely engage with.
You can, however, post things that are in the same ball park of your particular industry, but may not be 100% on-brand. For example, if you’re an event planner, you might share a cool video of cake-decorating, or as a professional organizer, you may share an article about the best natural cleaning products for the home!
Do: Find a voice
One of the first things you should decide when starting your social media business pages, is what sort of voice and personality you want to project. This will ultimately depend on who your audience is. Are they more mature individuals you would appreciate a more formal tone? Or are they younger, dare I say “hip,” people who would engage more with a funny or informal tone? Regardless of the tone you decide to take on, you should be attentive to grammar and avoid using too much slang.
Don’t: Get too personal
Save the more personal things for your own social media accounts. One of the worst things you can do on your business sites is rant about something totally unrelated to your following base. This projects a negative image of yourself and your followers will question your professionalism. If you’ve decided to take on a relatable, more casual voice on your social media pages, you can definitely get away with posting more personal content, like a funny picture of your cat or a family photo at Christmas time.
The selfie: While some of your followers may not appreciate a daily picture of your face, there are times when it can actually be totally appropriate. Remember to keep it relevant to your brand and industry. For example, as a makeup artist, you may want to post cool looks you’ve created on yourself or just show off your makeup for the day. Selfies can give a personal touch and allow your audience to relate to you better! But there’s a time and a place, and you don’t want to over do it.
Do: Research best-practices
As you’re well aware, social media is a great way to connect with your potential and past clients and will help grow your business. Because it is such an important tool, you want to ensure you’re using it correctly and getting the most you possibly can out of all your efforts. Perhaps there’s a particular image size that gets more views than another, or maybe there’s a time of day when it’s best to post something. Whatever the case, you should be aware of it and use that to strategize your posts. Consider subscribing yourself to a blog, do a few Google searches once in a while to ensure you’re still on track, and read more articles about social media like this one.
In the social media world, there’s a lot to know and most of it will come with practice, trial, error, and eventually, success. Play around with the “do’s” mentioned above, but don’t ignore the “don’ts!” Find your voice, keep educating yourself on the best practices, and stay positive, upbeat, and respectful.
What’s your #1 biggest no-no when using social media for business? Leave a comment below!
Choosing a school of Feng Shui can seem to be a daunting task. With so many options and such a wide variety of routes to take, it can be overwhelming to try and settle on a specific school. How are you supposed to know which one is best for your career? Which one is most in demand? And most importantly, which one will you enjoy and be interested in? Some schools are thousands of years old while others are relatively new. It is always important to do your research before making any solid decision however below is a quick resource that might make your decision a little bit easier.
To begin, let’s examine one of the oldest forms of Feng Shui – Classical or Traditional Feng Shui Design
Classical Feng Shui
Classical Feng Shui originated from ancient China and dates back thousands of years. It was used in a variety of different ways in the ancient cities for temples, palaces, and even gravesites! Individuals use the energy of the natural world to create the best possible flow in the desired area. Within Classical Feng Shui there is two different schools.
- The Form School (Landscape School) – This school is the more widely practice method of Feng Shui. The Form School focuses primarily on analysing the natural world such as trees, rivers, mountains, and more! It can also be applied to a more urban setting as well, focusing on arranging and placing objects to achieve an optimal balance of Ch’i flow in homes and offices. It does not use the direction of the compass and tries to balance the natural world around us.
- The Compass School – This is exactly as the name suggests. It uses tools such as the Lou Pan or Feng Shui compass as well as various calculations when applying these techniques to any home or space. For more information check out the “Love to Know” page on different types of Chinese Feng Shui
Modern Feng Shui
The next type of Feng Shui is the modern style of Feng Shui Design. Modern Feng Shui is based off of modern housing styles and business layouts. The idea is to arrange furniture in an area to maximize the flow of the space. Again the Modern Feng Shui Design is broken down into different schools.
- The Life Aspirations School of Feng Shui – This is the idea that each of life’s aspiration for example family & health, wealth, marriage (etc.), has a colour, element, and direction associated with it.
- The Pyramid School of Feng Shui – This is a contemporary version of the ancient Chinese Feng Shui and incorporates different elements for how an individual experiences the natural environment. Elements such as biology, psychology, anthropology and more. The individual is at the center of the entire process and you need to customize it to them making it very personal. Feel free to do more research by checking out “Healing Environments” blog page!
Black Hat Feng Shui
Black Sect Tantric Buddhism School (BTB or Black Hat) – This is a relatively new school of Feng Shui from the 1980s. This has many elements of the classical Feng Shui with a new modern spin. Instead of using a compass, the use of the Bagua map is relied heavily upon in this school of Feng Shui. It focuses on the energy that you can control around you. Buddhist principles are also featured throughout this contemporary version of Feng Shui. It is a way to provide a high level of balance and Ch’i into a space without any costly commitments or impractical suggestions. About Home online has a great description and other related articles regarding Feng Shui!
Choosing a School of Feng Shui
A very important aspect to keep in mind is whether you want to work with a compass tool or not. Understanding how the compass tools work is important when deciding which school you would like to focus on. It is important to understand what type of clientele you hope to have as well before making a firm decision. When working with homes, a compass may be difficult because you cannot simply change the direction of a home if it does not work with the Ch’i or energy. However, if you build outdoor spaces, a compass may be extremely useful and handy. Check out the “Ms. Feng Shui” blog for more details.
Understanding exactly how you want to take your Feng Shui career and what you want to specialize in are very important to consider when deciding on a school of Feng Shui. Many institutions that provide Feng Shui courses often mix many different schools and styles in their teachings to give students a wide range of knowledge. Feng Shui design is an exciting field to get into and understanding exactly what you’re hoping to learn should be the first step before choosing a school!
QC Design School offers a Feng Shui Design course that teaches the principals of the Form School with some elements of Black Hat. If you’re interested in learning how to apply Feng Shui practices in residential homes and corporate offices, check out our course here!
Drawing up a professional floorplan can be an intimidating task. Let’s face it, it’s a difficult thing to get the hang of! But learning how to draw a floorplan by hand is essential to understanding all the elements that go into a professional floorplan and how scale really works. Once you’ve mastered the drawing aspect, you can take that knowledge to properly use a floorplanning software (which will save you time and energy when you’re a working interior decorator, home stager, professional organizer, or feng shui specialist). You have to learn how to walk before you can run, right? So today we’re sharing our top tips for drawing a professional level floorplan to master this important skill.
1. Sketch the room
The very first thing you want to do before even taking measurements of the room is to sketch it. This does not have to be accurate in scale and you don’t need to use a ruler. Simply draw the same shape of the room on a piece of paper from bird’s eye view. Make note of any doors, windows, or other significant architectural features you’ll represent in your professional floorplan.
Once you’ve completed sketching the space, measure and record the necessary dimensions of each element of the room. Be sure to measure the entire length of the walls, doors, windows, closets, fireplaces, etc. Where there is a door or window, you must also measure the distance of the separated wall areas.
2. Study your architect ruler
Before you begin to draw your professional floorplan, you should carefully study your architect ruler. This will be your best friend throughout the process, so get to know it! You’ll mostly be using either ¼” scale or ½” scale when drawing a floorplan, which are both represented on your ruler.
Sometimes it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that each notch on your ruler represents 1 foot in real life, so study your ruler carefully while thinking about this concept to really get your mind accustomed to this fact. If you need a little more help with understanding scale, read How to Calculate Scale.
3. Use your architect ruler
This one’s a no-brainer. You should always use your architect ruler because it will make your life so much easier! Now that you’ve studied it and have accepted the fact that 1 foot in real life will be represented by either ¼ or ½ of an inch, you’re ready to unleash its power.
I hope at this stage that you’ve noticed the tiny notches before the 0. These are used to draw a line that is, for example, not perfectly 4 feet, but maybe 4 feet and 5 inches (4′-5″). So instead of dragging your pencil from 0 to 4 feet, start at 4 feet and keep your pencil going past 0, until you reach 5 inches. Like this:
4. Use a pencil
There’s just simply no excuse to not use a pencil when drawing a floorplan because we even give you one in your course materials! You receive everything you need to draw a professional floorplan, right down to a pencil.
Once you’ve drawn your floorplan with a pencil, take your black art pen (also in your floorplanning kit) and go over all of your lines.
5. Don’t rely on graph paper
While using graph paper is absolutely fine for practicing and getting familiar with scale, professional floorplans should never be presented on graph paper. If you rely entirely on the grid to help you draw plans and don’t use your architect ruler, it will be next to impossible to draw a professional floorplan on grid-free paper.
6. Draw wall thickness
Wall thickness is an important part of your professional floorplan and should be represented differently based on whether it is an interior or exterior wall. So, what’s the difference you ask?
An exterior wall is a wall that is on the outside of the house (if you were to hypothetically take down the wall, you’d be staring at the great outdoors!). An interior wall, on the other hand, is a wall inside the house that if you were to take down, would open up into another room.
Exterior walls are generally 8 to 10 inches thick while interior walls are about 5 inches thick. These should be represented on your floorplan accordingly. When drawing wall thickness on your floorplan, measure away from the room. If you add wall thickness to the inside of your lines, you’ll throw off your dimensions.
Be sure to color in your wall thickness, using your black art pen.
7. Depict door swing
When drawing a floorplan, many people forget the door swing. It’s important to know which way the door opens so that when it comes time to space planning, you know where to leave room for the door to swing open. Door swing should be depicted as such:
8. Use the furniture template
Another handy tool you’ll receive with your floorplanning kit is a ¼” furniture template. This little guy will make your life much easier as you’ll be able to easily trace furniture – like a stencil! Remember those from your kindergarten days? Of course, this stencil is a little more complicated, but a life-saver nonetheless.
9. Remember your north arrow and scale notation
Two important, and often forgotten, details to your professional floorplan is the north arrow and scale notation. Without them your “professional” floorplan is just simply a rough copy floorplan.
A north arrow demonstrates the orientation of the room you’re drawing and the scale notation states the scale the floorplan was drawn in. There are a few different ways you can depict a north arrow and your scale notation, but here’s an example of the easiest way:
If you take these tips into consideration when practicing how to draw a floorplan, you’ll be a pro in no time!
We’d love to know! What are YOUR top tips for drawing a floorplan? Leave a comment below.
If you’ve ever looked for a job, you know how stressful it can be. It can be pretty depressing to put yourself out there, apply to a bunch of jobs you think you’d be great for… only to be rejected by some or most of them.
Guess what though: the interview process can be equally depressing for the interviewer! As someone who’s interviewed a LOT of people over the past few years, I can tell you it’s shocking just how many candidates we’ve had who clearly were never educated about what NOT to do during an interview.
Here are a few of my favorite worst interview stories, and what we can all learn from them.
Please Stop Speaking to my Chest
We once had a young gentleman come in who barely made eye contact the entire time. We were two women interviewing this guy, and he spent the entire interview looking at our boobs. Now maybe he was nervous and didn’t realize he was doing it… but if that’s your default response when you’re nervous… you still rank pretty high on the creep-o-meter.
Here’s the kicker: he was actually quite qualified for the position. But there’s NO way I’m hiring a sexual-harassment-suit-in-the-making.
The takeaway: not only should you avoid creepy behavior, but you should also make a conscious effort to make eye contact with your interviewer(s).
Property Destruction Fiasco
Last year a lady came in for an interview and did a great job. She was clearly nervous but she answered all questions well, had some great questions of her own, and I was pretty sure we had a winner on our hands.
When she was backing her car out of the narrow driveway, she slammed dead-center into the wooden deck at the side of the building (where the main entrance is). Seriously, this hit was hard enough to move the entire structure backward a few inches. A colleague saw this from the window and rushed out to see if everything was ok. I guess she was embarrassed and/or didn’t know what else to do, so she just quickly drove away.
What’s worse, when she sent a follow-up email to thank me for the interview, she didn’t even mention the incident. It was like it had never happened.
Again, this was a candidate who had the qualifications to do the job and had a decent chance… but if this is the way you handle bad situations, I don’t want you working here.
The takeaway: If there happens to be a situation where you damage something during an interview, just own it and offer to fix it. Whether it’s backing your car into a deck, breaking the chair you’re sitting in, or even clogging a toilet, there’s no better way of proving that you’re a responsible, accountable person.
The Pompous Jerk
I want candidates to be confident in their own abilities. What I DON’T want is arrogance. There’s a huge difference between the two, but unfortunately this seems to be a blurry distinction for most people.
If you spend your interview time explaining to me why you think you’re a good fit for the job, I’ll call that confidence. What this guy did, was spend the “tell us about yourself” portion of the interview telling us how another company had screwed him over and how he couldn’t understand because he was a perfect fit for THAT position.
I wasn’t there. Maybe he did actually get screwed over, but I’m not a therapist. He was asked to interview so that we could learn about his abilities. Not about how his former employers were horrible human beings.
The takeaway: Be humble and be positive! It’s perfectly ok to be honest about why you left your last job. I encourage it. But don’t throw anyone under the bus and certainly don’t hover on the point! You should spend the majority of your time talking about how awesome YOU are, not how everyone else sucks.
Diaries of a Nymphomaniac
This is a story from a previous job, but it’s worth reliving.
A lady came in for an interview… I think it was for a customer service role. She was very nice and friendly, a perfect candidate for dealing with the public on a daily basis. I walked her to a private meeting room, for which we had to walk through office space and she got to informally meet a lot of the staff.
When I got her into the meeting room, she immediately started commenting about how many “hot guys” there were working in the office, and how excited she was to work there for that reason. She then proceeded to rank all the men she’d seen on a scale of 1 to 10, and even mentioned she had slept with (and I quote) “quite a few coworkers in the past.”
Yeah. I don’t know what she was thinking.
The takeaway: Even if the interviewer is close to your age and you think you could be good friends, they are there to judge your abilities. Talking about sensitive topics like your sex life is not only inappropriate, but tattoos a huge “immature” on your forehead.
How to Improve
Here’s the sad part. I’m sure all of these candidates are very nice people and more than likely their strange behaviors were simply due to nerves. Interviews can get the best of anyone!
The key is to know yourself. If you’re the kind of person who does strange things when you get nervous, work on that. Get some feedback from people who have seen you in stressful situations, talk to strangers in coffee shops, prepare a list of what you will and won’t say during the interview, and if necessary bring that list with you. Try different relaxation techniques before going into an interview and be as prepared as you can be to help calm your nerves.
Like anything else, the key to good interview skills is to practice as much as you possibly can. If you’re getting a lot of interviews but are having trouble landing a job, odds are your interview skills aren’t up to par. Look for employment assistance services in your area that can help you by setting up mock interviews and providing objective feedback. You’d be surprised how much this can help!