Archive for October, 2015
The world of home decorating is ever-changing with new trends popping up on a regular basis, and old ones being left by the wayside. Decorators take up the challenge of transforming homes through decor and organization, but every now and then they need a push in the right direction. If you are looking to get inspired for an upcoming project, here are seven of the best blogs that you should start following right now!
1. Better Living Through Design
Looking for new products to incorporate into your decor plan? Look no further, because this blog scours the internet to find the best and most exciting things that can be purchased online. If you are looking for unique pieces or tools to make your job easier, this is the blog that does all of the work for you.
2. Nesting Place
This blog started in November 2007 and has been gaining popularity ever since. The Nester’s catchphrase is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” In these posts you’ll find full-scale home DIY projects that this blogger has taken on, as well as small design ideas to add a little extra beauty to any room in a home.
3. Simply Grove
Kirsten Grove shares her favorite design and decor from all over the world. See some of Kirsten’s own work as an Interior Stylist to give you a fresh look on design. She also shares some of her favorite international styles that you can add to your own ideas to mix them up!
4. Smart Happy Organized
Home décor is about more than just decorating. It’s also about helping your clients get organized so that their homes are comfortable and functional. Take your organizational skills to the next level with tips and ideas from this great blog.
5. The Inspired Room
This blog has been the winner of Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s Reader’s Favorite Decorating Blogger for two years in a row, and it’s not hard to see why! The Inspired Room blog offers information and ideas on how to make your home your own. It includes posts on decorating, organizing, and ways to help you stay inspired. Everything you need to keep your creativity in tiptop shape!
6. Vintage Revivals
For those of you who like designs that are a little more outside of the box, this one’s for you. Mandi brings new life to vintage pieces, shares some of her favorite DIY projects, and overhauls living spaces with her unique and vibrant ideas. She refers to her style as “fearless” and that’s the perfect description for what she produces!
7. Young House Love
This blog follows Sherry and John through seven years of transforming different homes through various DIY projects. Sadly, this blog is no longer active, but some of the designs within are timeless and well worth taking a look at.
With so many amazing blogs about decor out there it was hard to just choose seven, but these ones are a great starting point for any decorator! Take some time to take a look at the other blogs that can be found and keep an eye on the ones that you like best. You never know when you’ll need to get out of a slump, and spending some time looking through some blog posts might be just the push you need.
Want more decorating inspiration and advice? Check out more from QC Design School!
Updating your home can be a perfect refresher when the seasons change or you’re feeling restless. That might sound like lots of work, but renewing a room doesn’t have to mean completely redecorating.
You can help your clients give their rooms a new lease on life by making simple, tasteful changes. If you’re very thrifty and creative, you might give their whole house a simple makeover that leaves them happier than ever.
Here are 15 simple ways to update just about any room!
1. Wallpaper one wall
There are no rules when it comes to wallpaper! Papering a single wall, part of a wall, or even just cut-out patterns across one surface is a great way to create a statement. If your clients are willing, and as long as it complements existing décor, choose a fun new color or pattern to give the space a quick facelift!
2. A gallery wall
Turning one wall into a statement collage is a great way to refresh any room. Your clients might even like this idea in multiple rooms, with each collage portraying different things. In fun frames, create a gallery displaying pictures they’ve taken, places they’ve been, places they’d like to go, family portraits, or even just pictures and quotes they find inspiring.
3. New dishes
Are your clients tired of their same old kitchen with the same chipped dishes they’ve had since college? Help them choose new plates, bowls, glasses, cutlery, and cookware that match the room’s color scheme or contrast surrounding décor in interesting ways. Even something this simple can inject some style into a stale space.
4. Bathroom accents
Bathrooms have a surprising number of easily updated elements that will change the whole atmosphere. Leave the walls as they are and choose new mats, curtains, towels, and toilet seats covers to match or contrast the scheme in a new way. For a more dramatic (but still very simple) change, switch out the old mirror for one with a new shape, different frame, or alternative style.
5. Throw pillows and blankets
New throw pillows and throw blankets are a great way to change up a space, but they’re also a great way to get crafty and recycle! Do your clients have an old blanket or set of curtains they don’t need? Show them how to repurpose that spare material into pillow covers for the throw pillows they already have. They’ll give their room a new look without having to spend any money.
6. Patterned shelves
Remember how we said wallpaper has no rules? Give your client’s office a fun new feel by papering the back panel of their big book shelf! Choose wallpaper in their favorite color or a fun pattern that might be too bold to dedicate a whole wall to. The peek-a-boo effect will give the space a whole new feel.
7. Painting (but just a little bit)
Painting an entire room is a big commitment and it might be more time consuming than your clients are prepared for. Help them choose one spot in the room to draw attention to and transform just that part. Depending on the color, that wall will enhance the current color scheme, contrast it, or build an actual scheme in a room that was monotonous before. Are they hesitant to paint the whole wall? Try painting just one half or even angular sections to boost the room’s style.
8. Staining or painting old furniture
Sometimes the space itself is fine but the things filling that space are out of date. Don’t get rid of them! Furniture can use a new lease on life occasionally, just like a room. Try painting or staining some of your client’s older pieces to change the focus and feel of the space. Just make sure that chair isn’t an antique heirloom before you start with the trendy mint colored paint!
9. New lighting
Lighting is a key factor in building an atmosphere. Perhaps your client’s dissatisfaction with their master bedroom comes from the placement and type of light the house came with? Try adjusting the feel of things with a central chandelier that features a softer light than the fluorescent ceiling lighting they’re used to. If that’s too fancy, help them choose a set of lamps with shades that contribute to their current aesthetic.
Nothing helps widen the appearance of a very small room like a nice mirror! Help your clients transform that tiny spare bedroom with a mirror on perpendicular walls to give the illusion of more space. Choose mirrors in angular shapes if the décor is modern or ones with elaborate frames if you’d rather create a vintage feel.
11. Get organized
This suggestion is a little less exciting but it’s very effective for renewing a room. Remember when we said that the problem might be the stuff and not the room? Too much stuff can take over a perfectly good space. Get out the donation boxes and convince your clients to pay forward what they no longer need. Organize what’s left to reclaim the space!
12. Indoor plants
Using plants and flowers to refresh a room is literally refreshing. Help your clients choose indoor plants that suit their décor and show them where to put each one so it thrives. Plants bring a little life to any space, so put one or two potted plants wherever your client’s home needs a pick-me-up.
13. New linens
This one sounds simple, but sometimes clients overlook solutions that seem too easy. Particularly if your clients have lived in the home for a very long time, they’re probably in the habit of rotating the same few sets of sheets and duvet cover. Help them change up their style with an array of new linens that look nothing like their old ones!
14. One word: rearrange
It really can be that simple! An entire room can be transformed for the better by rearranging the furniture and décor. This process doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Work with your clients to create a better floorplan and rearrange the things they already have until the whole room looks more like what they want.
15. Don’t forget about the outside
Okay, so your client’s porch isn’t technically a room. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the outside of the house while you refresh things! Improve first impression for visitors by helping your clients choose a new porch swing or lounge chair, a unique doormat, and a fresh color to paint the front door.
It’s all in the details
There are unlimited ways for you to update any room in your client’s home if you’re creative! Pay attention to the small details and don’t overlook their power to change how things look and feel. Even things as small as light switch and outlet covers, the color of the window frame, the type of floor mat, and the frames on your client’s pictures can create major change with a fresh new look!
Would you like to learn more about simple decorating tricks to bring new life to a room? Check out the courses here at QC Design School!
In most cases, interior decoration is a collaborative art. You’re the one whose skills turn ideas into reality, but each design you create has to please you and the client. This makes effective communication one of your most important skills as an interior decorator.
Good communication avoids:
- Mix ups and mistakes that could have been easily prevented
- Unhappy clients
- Bad reviews of your skills and services
- Time wasted having to redo and restart
As you communicate with clients, your goals should be to:
- Clearly let them know your expectations
- Get a concrete idea of theirs
- Form a plan and come to an agreement that makes everyone happy
Here are nine useful tips for communicating well with décor clients!
1. Keep it direct
Good communicators get right to the point. There are many things to consider when you’re planning a new interior décor scheme for any space, so get down to business without wasting time or trailing off topic. You can still speak kindly and casually, and even engage in small talk, without losing the purpose of your conversation.
Go into each conversation prepared and ready to get the information you need. Asking them good, direct questions lets you plan the new interior décor easily without feeling confused and starting out with the wrong information.
2. Give them time to ask questions
You want to make sure that they’re completely comfortable with your ideas and plan before you move forward. Answer any questions they have to the best of your ability and clarify anything that confuses them.
Some clients are shy and won’t feel comfortable speaking up if they don’t understand or have issues with your plan. If they don’t have any questions for you, you can ask them subtle questions to ensure they understand fully.
3. If you need clarification, get it
If you feel unclear about the details of the new décor or your requirements, ask for clarification right away. Of course, you don’t want to ask the same thing too many times because it looks unprofessional, so listen carefully from the beginning.
It’s better to ask questions, however, than it is to make assumptions and have to fix problems or worse, leave a client dissatisfied.
4. Listen well
Listen carefully to what your client tells you, asks of you, and expects of you. You should also listen well to their input and give their opinions thought while you work. You’re the expert, but it’s essential to listen to what your clients want and need if you’re going to work together successfully.
5. Avoid jargon
For the most part, your clients won’t be other interior decorators. Many won’t know the proper terms or slang words for your vendors, products, or designs. Make sure you use accessible language while you work so that your clients fully understand what you’re doing and why.
6. Use examples and visuals
Because not every client understands interior décor as well as you do, use examples and pictures whenever possible so they can actually see what you mean. Encourage clients to bring inspiration pictures with them as well so you have a clear idea of what they’re looking for.
7. Always keep it professional
Even if you know the client and have worked with them many times, you should speak and write professionally and politely during each interaction. How you conduct yourself with clients during every contract you do will contribute to your professional reputation.
Remember: You should always be present when you communicate with clients. Avoid distractions (including your smart phone!) and dedicate yourself to that conversation. This lets each client know that they matter to you.
Communicating through various mediums
Different clients prefer to be contacted in different ways. You need to speak well with them verbally and in writing. Check out these tips for dealing with interior décor clients through different mediums!
Take care with your appearance and be polite. You want to come off as professional but approachable. Make eye contact with your clients so they know you’re paying attention, and listen carefully while they speak. Try not to distract them with nervous habits like biting your nails, playing with your hair, or checking your cell phone.
Always use correct grammar and sentence structure when emailing clients, and always remember to spell check before you click send! No matter how good a decorator you are, your clients will think less of your professionalism if you send them emails full of spelling mistakes and Internet shorthand.
Reply to client emails within 24-28 hours unless you’ve told them that you’ll need more time for any reason. Read very carefully and reread if necessary. Organize emails into client folders so you don’t lose important details and keep all your emails unless you are absolutely sure you don’t need that information anymore.
Many clients prefer email as their primary form of contract, but it’s easy to mistake the details in writing if you’re not careful.
On the phone
Avoid having clients mishear you over the hone by speaking slowly (but now too slowly!) and clearly. Talking on the phone makes some people uncomfortable, so keep the conversation to the point. Clients will also appreciate concise conversation because it won’t waste their cell phone minutes.
Invest in a cell phone and an office phone if necessary, and set up voicemail. If you leave a voice message for a client, speak very clearly, briefly explain why you’re calling, and let them know in detail how they can contact you back.
Via social media
Remember that social media aspects like tweets or picture comments on Facebook and Instagram are public. Never discuss personal information on a public forum. Keep comments as short as possible and avoid the urge to use Internet shorthand, even if you would on your personal social networks.
Keep in mind that people use social media for convenience and will expect you to answer quickly. If a client sends you a personal message, follow the same etiquette as you would for an email.
The better you are at communicating with clients, the easier a time you’ll have working with them. Interior decorators who practice speaking in a friendly but professional manner to their clients no matter how they’re getting in contact provide a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.
Do you have other tips for good client communication that you don’t see here? Tell us about them in a comment!
It’s official- you’re a certified interior decorator! You’ve learned theories and techniques, practiced in your own space, and you’re ready to start your professional career!
Many beginner interior decorators feel apprehensive about how to spark their career once they’re finished training. How can you start building a client base? What steps should you take in your first year?
Turning your training into practical work experience doesn’t happen overnight. Here are 7 steps you can take to get the ball rolling!
1. Start networking
Interacting with other design professionals, or even just décor enthusiasts, will do wonders for getting your name out there. The professionals who trained you might connect you with job opportunities. Fellow designers might know of clients they can’t take but whom they’d be willing to refer you to.
Network online in forums and on social networks, interact with other interior decorators at conventions, or seek out other professionals who might need interior decorating services, like real estate agents.
Pro tip: While the Internet is a great way to make new contacts, nothing beats a face-to-face interaction! Don’t rely solely on Facebook. Take the time to meet key influencers in person!
2. Become a brand rep
Some qualified decorators look at becoming a representative for a brand as being a step down from working their independent contracts. Many interior decorators prefer to concentrate on freelance decorating that could lead to establishing their own business, or to working with design companies. In reality, becoming a brand rep can support these other jobs.
Especially during your first year in the industry, representing and selling a particular decorative brand can be both an educational and a networking opportunity. By selling décor as well as designing interior spaces, you’ll secure yourself a secondary source of income, either between or during other contracts.
3. Become an assistant
There’s no shame in starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder when starting out in a new industry. Shadowing a more experienced interior decorator is an amazing opportunity to refine your skills and learn through hands-on work. That decorator’s clients might even recommend you to others if they like what you do!
Shadowing someone with more experience lets you see what successful designers do right and how they handle it when things go wrong. Assistantships are a great transition between your training and your professional career. They’ll prepare you for making your own way in the industry.
4. Volunteer work
Just because you’re a beginner doesn’t mean you should give your services away for free. Doing too much work for no pay devalues your skills. Potential clients might think that you work for free because you’re not very good. In your first year, however, certain volunteer work can be beneficial. Volunteering is a great opportunity to practice while you network. Contact local retirement homes, new small businesses, or charitable foundations and donate your time in exchange for experience and a chance to help people.
5. Keep applying
During their first year in the industry, many interior decorators struggle with inconsistency between contracts and jobs. Don’t let this discourage you from taking temporary contracts or applying for jobs with design companies.
Not hearing back from potential employers is no reason to stop distributing your portfolio and resume. Think about it this way: the more resumes you submit, the more potential clients or employers will be introduced to your name. In the time it takes for one of them to call you, submit more applications, work small contracts, take volunteer opportunities, or shadow more experienced professionals.
The things you do between big contracts keep you in practice, teach you new things, and build your resume. It also looks more impressive to potential clients and employers if you’re active between jobs, rather than disappearing from the industry.
6. Build your brand
One of the smartest things a beginner interior decorator can do in their first year is build their brand and establish a solid presence online and in their local industry.
When you’re not volunteering or assisting, work on building a quality website, starting a blog, and creating a professional portfolio. The stronger your branding platforms are, the more easily potential clients and employers can see the quality of your work, making them more likely to hire you.
Need help to get started? Check this out: Building Your Website: What You Need to Know
7. Offer lessons, workshops, or parties
If you find that you have space between work opportunities, do something about it! Try not to sit back and wait until something falls into your lap. Interior decorating is one of the few industries where professionals can create work for themselves.
Between jobs, tell your friends and past clients that you’re available for things like instructional workshops and décor parties where guests learn about decorating techniques and have the chance to purchase decorative pieces. Even one-time jobs like these support your resume, and they also show potential clients and employers that you’re pro-active about your career.
Keep it up!
Your first year working as a professional interior decorator might be a challenge, but there are ways to help yourself. Don’t let feelings of uncertainty stop you from taking steps towards an active career and a solid client base. New decorators who show initiative and drive during their first year in the industry will spark a successful career for themselves.
How are you planning on starting your career in design? Let us know in a comment!
For many people, becoming an interior decorator is something they choose to do as soon as they discover their passion for style, design, and coordination. For others, the choice comes later on, after other career paths and years of consideration.
The beautiful thing about interior decorating is that it’s never too early or too late to begin learning professional techniques. As long as you have an eye for style, can work time efficiently, are prepared to think outside the box, and are always willing to learn, you’ll be prepared to take the first steps toward professional interior decorating at any age.
“Am I too young to become an interior decorator?”
When it comes to learning basic interior decorating techniques and building a good foundation for professional training, you are never too young!
Any person with a passion for coordinating details and celebrating style and expression should begin practicing whenever they can. In fact, the younger you start decorating your own spaces (or even the spaces in your family’s home), the more time you have to improve and explore your skills.
It is true that many interior decorating programs or colleges require you to be at least 18 to enroll. There are some, however, that understand how the passion for décor can start at a younger age. Some programs accept students as young as 16, as long as a parent or legal guardian is willing to sign a consent form giving them permission to enroll.
In most places, interior decorating is an unregulated profession. If you wish to branch out into interior design and actually change the physical structure of a room, however, you’ll be required to complete additional training and become legally licensed. This doesn’t mean you can’t train as an interior decorator or begin developing your décor skills earlier to gain experience until you’re old enough to train and consider licensing.
If your local area doesn’t permit training until you’re 18, don’t be discouraged! Use online resources to help you begin practicing, or at least thinking about, basic décor skills. Google interior décor blogs or vlogs and read planning magazines to introduce yourself to themes, styles, trends, and decorating strategies. Use reputable resources as a research guide.
The best thing you can do is practice. Help your mom re-coordinate the furniture layout in her home office or give your best friend’s bedroom a complete decorative makeover. You can even build a small portfolio to present to the programs you apply to later. People might not pay you for the first few spaces you decorate, but your friends and family make great practice clients if they’re willing. The more experience you have before training, the higher your chances of being accepted into the program of your choice when you’re old enough.
“Am I too old to become an interior decorator?”
As long as you’re passionate about style and décor and willing to learn new things, you’re never too old to become an interior decorator. In fact, many decorators start their careers after years of working in other industries, raising children, or debating whether they’re ready to commit.
For some, a later start is actually beneficial because they’ve already achieved goals and reached personal or professional milestones. Many older decorators are prepared to devote their full attention to interior decorating. They’ve also had a chance to gain relevant life experience that might make them attractive candidates for training programs and potential clients.
Interior decorating programs and colleges have no age limit for seeking professional training. As long as you’re able to complete the tasks required by the decorating process, you are not cut off from training as an interior decorator just because you’ve reached a certain age.
Getting your first clients
No matter what age you are when you begin your interior decorating career, attracting your first clients can be intimidating. You can make it easier by knowing where your target market lies, which can be influenced by your age.
In the public’s eye, a young interior decorator might appear trendy, fashionable, and up to date on the latest social and pop culture trends. This doesn’t mean that older decorators can’t be these things too! It simply means that younger decorators might have better luck targeting a younger crowd of potential clients than they would with more mature groups.
For example, a young, single professional buying her first condo in the city might be more attracted to decorators that are closer to her age. Mature decorators are just as capable of planning chic, trendy spaces, but clients often like to work with decorators they can identify with. A 23 year old might be more excited to work with someone closer to her age who probably likes the same things as her.
Mature decorators often have the best luck working with clients in a similar demographic to their own age as well. An elderly married couple looking for help updating their living room will probably feel more comfortable hiring a mature planner with more life experience than they will hiring someone very young who perhaps hasn’t owned a home of their own yet. Once again, this isn’t because young planners can’t coordinate traditionally stylish spaces for older generations! Clients might simply see themselves reflected in the experiences of a planner closer to their own demographic.
Identifying your target market is a crucial step to building a client base in any business. Interior decorators are no exception. Don’t restrict who you’ll work with simply because of your age, but keep in mind which groups might be most keen to work with you. Who will identify with your experience and style?
A trendy young decorator could very easily be hired by an elderly lady looking for a fun, colorful new kitchen design and an older decorator might be hired by a young couple who want elegance and class in their master bedroom and see that capability in the decorator’s maturity. Don’t let yourself stress over whether or not you’re too young or too old to find clients. Instead, use your age to your advantage and market yourself to clients who will value your life experience!
Regardless of your age, pursuing your passion for interior decorating is worth the time and effort. You should never be discouraged by other people questioning whether you are too young or too old to become an interior decorator. Professional decorating is the type of industry where you are constantly learning and growing, no matter your age or experience level. If you have the dedication to develop your skills from basic to advanced, then you have the potential to excel at any point.
Would you like to learn more about becoming a professional interior decorator? Check out the courses here at QC Design School!
Nearly every parent that hires you to design a baby nursery will have an idea of how they’d like it to look. More parents are choosing nurseries that look like they would suit a little boy and a little girl. Parents like gender neutral rooms for many different reasons. Some people:
- Want to keep the baby’s gender a surprise until it’s born
- Design nurseries during the adoption process, before they know the gender of the baby they’ll adopt
- Want the nursery to suit future babies too
- Choose gender neutrality on purpose so their kids don’t have to feel too girly or too boyish if they don’t want to.
Your goal will be to detach the idea of a baby nursery from the stereotype that “blue is for boys” and “pink is for girls”. There are many other ways to coordinate a gorgeous space for bedtime, nap time, and changing time without designing specifically with boys or girls in mind.
Here are seven tips for designing stylish gender neutral nurseries that will appeal to anyone!
1. Shapes and patterns
Shapes, patterns, and lines can be just as cute and decorative as colors and characters. If you balance pretty, ornate designs (which appear more feminine) with simple, streamlined ones (which appear more masculine), you’ll create a comfortable, neutral atmosphere. Consider shapes like stars or geometric patterns and determine how feminine, masculine, or neutral you make them look with the colors you use.
Incorporating human characters from books or movies can be difficult in a gender neutral room because most people have a visible gender. For example, if you design a room that is Dora the Explorer themed, people will assume that the room belongs to a little girl. If you want to include living characters to liven up the space, get wall stickers, paintings, figurines, or plush toys shaped like animals instead. These bring life to the décor without gearing the atmosphere toward either boys or girls, and they’re also adorable.
3. Boys and girls
Designing a gender neutral space doesn’t mean that you have to avoid clear gender markers at all costs! Why not make the room friendly for boys and girls by including things that both groups might like? Feature a combination of colors that are stereotypically “boy colors” and “girl colors” or balance pictures of sports gear with ballet shoes. Making sure femininity and masculinity are both included in the room can be just as effective for creating a gender neutral space as leaving them out. Visitors walking into the room will understand that the space is meant for any baby.
4. Adventure themes
One of the best strategies for a gender neutral nursery is to concentrate on theme rather than purposely including or avoiding gender. To choose a theme, think about things like the adventures all little kids would love to go on. Decorating the room to look as though you’re in space, in the jungle, or under the sea creates a fun atmosphere. Of course, it’s true that some little girls would love a hockey themed room and some little boys would love a room full of flowers, but your goal is to balance the theme somewhere in the middle. Nature and space are just a couple great options for hitting that balance.
5. Stylistic details
If themes and characters aren’t your clients’ thing, build the gender neutral atmosphere in the small details. Try to strike a balance between things that are decorative and things that are functional. Fancy furniture with ornate details tends to look feminine, while functional furniture with a more streamlined look appears more masculine. In a nursery, you’ll need to balance practicality with comforting décor, and details like furniture and lighting are the perfect tool for that.
6. Learning themes
Like adventure themes, décor that concentrates on fun learning makes for the perfect gender neutral atmosphere. Whether your clients’ bring the new baby home in a pink or blue blanket, they’ll feel comfortable and happy in a room full of letters, numbers, crayons, and other fun learning themes. Later on, your clients’ can even turn that nursery into a bedroom or play room with the same theme because it’s appropriate for a range of ages.
7. Food themes
Everyone loves food! No matter the gender of your clients’ baby, cartoon fruits and vegetables in the form of stickers and stuffed toys bring character and color to the room without getting too gender-specific. Take the style of the theme in different directions by considering brightly colored cartoon character fruits with friendly smiles or rustic farm veggies in more subdued, vintage-looking hues.
Don’t let the idea of gender neutrality intimidate you. Whether your clients are choosing a neutral style because it’s trendy or because they’re waiting until they meet their bundle of joy, you should be able to give them a gorgeous space. Design with all babies in mind, rather than just little girls or little boys, and find creative ways to include all the classic elements of a nursery without getting gender-specific.