Monday, March 29, 2010

#1 question of an interior designer~What exactly do you do?

When I went to school to be an interior designer, it never crossed my mind that for the next 12 or so years of my life, I would spend a good portion of that time explaining what it is I DO. I think as designers we take for granted or assume that people know what our job entails. I was recently inspired by an article that Tom Beasley wrote on his blog pertaining to this very subject. In addition to this articles points, I think it is also very important for consumers/potential clients to know how valuable our creativity is. If it wasn't valuable then no one would ever hire us for help. Our intellectual property is worth it's weight in gold. And the more years a designer has, the more valuable that gold is. (keep this in mind when you are evaluating a green pea fresh out of school at $25 an hour versus a seasoned designer of 10 years who charges $100) Fees are all relevant to level of experience, and competency. For example, a few years ago a green pea that I was mentoring came to me and said she wanted me to take over one of her projects. Unsure of the reasoning I contacted the client. They were exasperated. After 10 hours of work with her they felt they has accomplished nothing. I went in, determined the issues, developed a plan, set up my trades and solved the problem, all in 2 hours. So at first glance I may seem more expensive, but my competency saves you time and money.

Not only do we evaluate blueprints, specify fixtures, meet with builders, architects, and cabinet makers, build space plans, select furniture, design window treatments, select fabrics, choose paint, evaluate reflective ceiling plans, act as purchasing agents,... and many other services- at the end of the day, we creatively and cohesively put together an original vision, unique only to your home.

When my mama comes to town she always comes to the office with me. (she has no choice) She is completely taken away at hard we work, and how many INFINITE details we take care of in my office, to make your house into a home. "I could NEVER do what you do!" she says to me. "Well, I could never do what YOU do!" I say to her. (she is an E.R. Nurse.yucky!)

I know that interior design mystifies a lot of people. I know that creativity eludes many people. But what we do is pure magic. (can you hear the angels singing?) When you approach us with your project, it is as if we are looking at a blank canvas full of potential. Often times we can see that project six to eight months down the road completed in all it's glory and beauty. 

Interior design is an art form. It takes great talent, consideration, and organization to do what we do, and it is a business. Our time is valuable, and our ideas are our enterprise. We do what we do because we love it, and the creativity keeps us alive. But remember that the intellectual property that we hold is not just for good merit. What is it that we do, you ask? We are entrepreneurial tycoons, promoting and dealing our trades, multi tasking, design mavens that hustle on your behalf to twist, tweak and skillfully accomplish with absolute expertise ~ design magic! So that when you start your day, and end your day, there is a smile on your face because your home makes you genuinely happy!


  1. Could not agree more- infact just today I found myself explaining to a very busy woman that she could shop for hours and hours at retail- endlessly searching (at her hourly rate of 200+/hr) or I can bring what she needs to her living room in two hours for a fraction of the price. Great post!
    Melissa Gulley Interior design, Newton MA

  2. Good post.

    I do think that professions that need additional explanations also have an advantage: you get to jump immediately into your elevator speech when someone asks "what does an interior designer" do?

    It works much better than those employed as insurance agents or lawyers when the typical response from someone is simply "oh."

  3. Oftentimes, I think, people take creative fields and denigrate them unfairly.

    They don't understand the work and talent required to create a place of peace and comfort UNTIL they try and do it themselves.

    I am trying to do this myself and since my budget is small I am just blessed that I have a sense of color and can "see" things in my head otherwise I would be so lost in the building of my own house.

    Most people fear color and therefore the proliferation of beige interiors.

    I would love nothing more than to have the money I used to have "then" now so I could do my new house justice. Now I just have to be clever.

    I do enjoy your posts.

  4. People pleasing is hard work, but it's fun too !

  5. This is a really great post! Terrific advice. It's the type of thing anybody hiring a designer should read. Though in Chicago, a 10 year design vet charges way more than $100/hr :) Marija

  6. Oh..if only I could do this for a living too!

  7. You should put the web address of this post on a business card and hand it out the next time someone asks you that! Well said.

  8. Awesome post. I do go into work everyday with a huge big smile.

    Today is what I make it.


  9. well spoken!

    i decided to go back to school for ID and just started today (wrote a small bit about it on my blog)--it was fabulous, and i'm really excited about the program!

  10. I do believe that professions that need extra explanations also have a benefit of getting to jump right away into your elevator speech when somebody asks "what does an interior designer" do?

  11. Very interesting. I think it's really hard for designers of any type to explain to people what exactly they are paying for sometimes, I think you said it correctly when you talked about IP.

  12. Anyone who has you as a designer is sublimely lucky. There is no devaluing what you all do!

  13. Wow Amanda, awesome post, you really articulated the process well!!

  14. WOW Amanda! Thank you so much for this great post...I could not have said it better myself! You make wonderful points and I agree with you completely!

  15. Very well said. I have heard so many designers explain what it is we do and how we can actually save clients mistakes and money in the end. But this is the best explanation I've heard in a long time! And without sounding whiny and defensive. :)

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