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Business Trends in Interior Design

5 March 2019

As with almost all businesses, the business of interior design has been impacted in recent years by sweeping changes in technology, the internet and social media and globalisation. These changes will influence how you set up as an interior designer and run your business, how you market your business and even the area you specialise in as a designer.

In a world where anyone with the money can purchase fully coordinated ready-styled furniture packages complete with artworks and accessories on the internet who needs an interior designer anyway? The answer is twofold: the stores who sell the furniture packages and people who want a more individual approach to the design of their home, office or commercial premises.

Keeping abreast of fast-moving changes is vitally important as you move through the interior design course and work towards either joining an established design firm or starting your own business. Here are some current trends to keep an eye on.

What is Transitional Design?

Internet advisory services

More designers are offering their interior design services remotely via the internet. Established in 2012, Homepolish is one such online business that matches clients with local interior design talent in their area, available for hire by the hour at a cost as low as $US50 per hour. The online company standardises the process of working with interior designers, wholly disrupting a traditionally word-of-mouth industry.

Another site, Tastemaker, based in San Francisco, provides an “e-decorate” service by using a questionnaire that helps customers define their taste. The ecommerce site then recommends products and interior designers the customer would like. Why not provide your own style profiling questionnaire on your business website as a helpful tool for your potential clients?

Rather than work through a site such as Homepolish, other designers are offering their advisory services remotely via their own website. Tech-savvy clients are now also advertising for interior design services via freelance sites like Upwork. Advising such clients remotely can be a good way to get started as an interior designer and build a portfolio.

Business Trends in Interior Design

Profile building and digital marketing

Of course, you will need your own website when starting an interior design business. You will also need to build your personal brand by joining websites such as Houzz (or the equivalent in your region), guest posting to interior design blogs and listing your business on local online business directories.

You will also need to learn about Seach Engine Optimisation (SEO) to ensure your site has a high ranking on Google so potential clients can find you.

Additionally, these days you also need a strong social media presence. Many designers today rely on Instagram in particular to generate from 40% to 60% of their business.

The advance of virtual reality

Imagine being able to test what hundreds of wallpaper designs, paint colours, furniture pieces or flooring types would look like in a room at the click of a button? Virtual reality will enable the start of a new, technological future in interior design. At this stage, however, it's extremely expensive and requires a very powerful computer to process.

More accessible is augmented reality (AR) which fuses the virtual world with the real world, often by overlaying virtual features on top of actual ones. AR requires much simpler technology than VR – you can simply download an app on your smartphone or tablet – and is consequently being used by interior designers today. Search out the latest interior design apps, download them and practice using them to aid in your design processes.

With 3D modelling (or CGI visualisation) photorealistic images can be produced of interior spaces to show clients exactly what their new interiors will look like when complete. This technology is becoming cheaper and there are many businesses on the net offering expert services at affordable prices.

These are just a few of the trends and influences building now that will affect you in the future. And they'll change, evolve and grow at a fast and furious pace. Keep up-to-date and, once you graduate, you'll be in a stronger position to set up your own interior design business and flourish.