Looking to dive into the world of professional interior design? We've got you covered (like some nice curtains)!
This article will discuss how to create an interior design portfolio with no experience as it relates to interior design business.
A surprising number of people still get asked if they have experience in the field of interior design. After all, you don't have to have a degree to be a designer. You don't even have to know how to paint a wall or landscape a backyard to create a beautiful house.
However, before you get to that point, it's necessary to know that it is in your best interest to prove to prospective clients that you are an excellent interior design professional. Doing quality work and finding clients is the most important start!
In order to do this, you must have a portfolio of your work. Portfolios include models of your work, renderings, floorpans and blueprints, photographs, or anything else that would show clients what you can do.
Let's say you have worked at a restaurant for the last 15 years. However, you've never designed an interior.
To start, you can go to eBay and purchase some stock designs of homes. Many designers do this, and to be fair, it does make a good way to get some new ideas for your own portfolio- use these to study common layout and organizational patterns.
You may also find some good stock models on sites like Home Furnishings, Universal Cheapskates, Etsy, Facebook groups, or other such sites. Organize these resources using folders to have to inspire your works and to use for reference with projects.
That's not the end of your work, though. Consider turning your hobby into a side business. A garden center could be a good place to start.
You can make plans, purchase some plants, and design the space. Eventually, you can start building out a complete plan for the whole shop. You might also want to consider painting, installing flooring, doing flooring, and upgrading fixtures.
And what can be seen as a classic "chicken and egg" problem, the reality is in order to assemble a proper portfolio that will land your business, you will need to have some sort of portfolio that demonstrates your competence in design.
But how can you make a portfolio without any work? The logic here can become circular, and it can be difficult to see exactly how you can get your first few gigs that will enable you to assemble a proper portfolio that allows you to get more gigs.
One relatively quick and painless way of solving this problem is to offer your interior design services free to friends or family who may need some help designing a room in their place.
Well it might seem like you're leaving money on the table by not charging for your first gig or two, the reality is the experience your gain and the ability to now assemble a portfolio with professional pictures of a space you have officially designed will allow you to secure new projects that actually will be paid
Once you have developed a portfolio, you are ready to start putting it to use. To help you get your hands dirty, here are some things to do that will help you build your portfolio.
With some unpaid gigs under your belt, you can now start assembling a proper portfolio.
The first thing to do is to create a logo. You can do this in a few different ways, and you can even create a template for a logo on the computer. Just be sure you create something that is visually interesting and not in any way dated.
Next, you will need a portfolio site where you can upload your work, display and sell the stock pieces you purchase, or even create your own custom work. Don't forget to create a blog page as well.
A good website is a good way to reach clients and potential clients, so be sure to design a site that is easy to navigate and that includes valuable content.
Now is the time to get out there and start connecting. LinkedIn is the perfect place to be. You can set up a profile, write articles for the site, post your work, and so much more.
The same goes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Connect with other designers and interior designers. Use the correct social media icons and hashtags, and start interacting with others.
While time consuming, creating an online presence is vital in this business world. Social media can be used for promotion, connection to new and previous clients, and networking with other designers.
Look into other interior design profiles and see what they do well. Interact with their audience to try to build your own network.
Now that you have a site, profile, and a blog, you will want to get some reviews of your work, along with recommendations. A simple way to do this is to have people you have worked with write a review.
By getting reviews, you can get the word out to more potential clients. Google reviews are a great way to promote your services and gain more online presence. So, ask your clients to do a Google review!
All of this work is going to do you good. Your clients will be impressed and hopefully want to get you back to work for them.
However, you want to make sure they know that it's quality work. If someone has written a review online, be sure to link to it on your website. It will help show potential clients that your work is worth talking about and to trust.
Another way to insure good reviews is to ask your clients to complete a satisfaction survey at the end of your agreement. If there are things that they were not impressed with, ask them if they are willing to discuss it with you and use that to better your services.
Finally, be sure to build a strong social media presence. Post regularly, keep in touch with your clients, and keep your social media accounts active. Find ways to interact with your followers via features of the platform (ex. stories, polls, features, etc.)
Make sure that your social media sites display your professional image and aren't filled with random and meaningless posts. Use tools to monitor engagement and trends on your posts to optimize your profile.
Now is the time to step out and show the world what you have. It's always better to put your best foot forward in a new and growing industry, and your portfolio is the perfect place to start!