7 Tips To Build Your Interior Design Business Startup (2023)

Building a new business in any industry can be quite scary. As a budding interior designer, you may have many concerns about how you can make your new business relevant, profitable, and sustainable. Whether you are fresh out of design school or you have worked with other firms and are ready to start your own thing, there will always be the question of how to make your business stay afloat. If you are on this boat, don't panic. You can build a great interior design business from scratch.

7 practical tips to start your interior design business

There are strategies that can help you learn quickly, avoid pitfalls, cut down on time and resources, and thrive in your business. Let’s walk you through seven practical tips to help you start and grow your interior design business. We will also show you three must-have software that will help you plan and succeed in business.

Get organized

The first thing you need to do is get all your ideas organized clearly. Ideas are nothing if they are not properly sorted out and built upon. As you organize your thoughts and ideas more, your motivation to build your business will increase. Here are some practical steps to getting organized:

  • Do some research. You need to find out as much as you can about the design industry or the section of it that you want to enter. Abstract ideas are great, but it is better to build your business on facts.

There’s a lot to learn from other interior designers, companies, books, and social media. The information and inspiration you gather will help you make solid decisions about starting your business.


  • Self-evaluate because knowing yourself is as important as knowing your industry. Determine what mental space you are in, examine your reasons for starting the business, and understand what you want to achieve.

This helps you go in with a defined purpose.

  • Set smart goals. You need to set goals that will guide your every move. You can set goals for the kind of designs you want to create, the number of clients you want to have garnered by a given time, how finances will be handled, and so on.

Your goals should include the specific actions you want to take and when they must be taken. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself, though, so you wouldn't burn out before you even begin.

You should organize the information you gather from these exercises in a comprehensive way so that you can go back to them for direction whenever you need to. A project planning software like

Trello can help with this. Trello is a free planner that lets you move projects through workflow stages all the way to completion. It presents your tasks as ‘cards,’ which you can name, assign to other people and give due dates. It also lets you upload files such as images and documents to your workspace.

(Video) How To Start An Interior Design Business - 5 things you need to guarantee success

Decide what services you want to provide

There is a long list of services you can provide in the interior design industry, ranging from styling and decorating to consultancy and so on. Within these, there are also preferred design styles, space types, and client categories. The truth is, you cannot do everything. Before getting started, you need to define your niche—what you want your business and services to be about. Consider the following at this stage.

  • Evaluate your areas of expertise, and determine where you’ll be needing help. You need to ensure that you work on projects you are passionate about.

Focusing on what you do best and getting support in other areas is a great way to succeed. A realistic assessment of your current skills will save you and your future clients a lot of frustration.

  • Determine what sets you apart from others in your field. What are your strongest skills? How do you want your business to stand out compared to others? Answering these questions will help you to map out the specifics of your business and services.
  • Research what clients want. Clients are at the heart of your business. You want to make sure that you are offering the services they want and satisfying them. Conducting some research into customers’ needs for your industry will help you design products and services that they will appreciate.

A great tool to use for your customer research is the jtbd survey template. The Jobs to be Done (JTBD) Framework is a proven way of understanding customers’ needs and developing products that address them. This framework is straight-forward and easy to use. The templates it offers help you figure out what questions you need to ask and how to understand answers to these questions.

Plan your finances

Passion and ideas are great, but money is what brings them alive. You need to invest some money, however little, into your startup. Businesses can suffer or crumble due to a lack of financial planning, so you cannot afford to be aloof about your finances. Not to worry, financial planning is not so complicated at this stage. Here are some practical steps you can take.

(Video) Starting an Interior Design Business | My Story

  • Identify how much money you have to begin with. The capital for your business could be from your savings, but there are other ways to source money.

These include asking family and friends, taking a loan, applying for a small-business grant, crowdfunding, and more. Knowing how much you have will help you identify your priorities and scale your business properly.

  • Make a list of your business’s basic needs. These may include office space, internet access, employees, and software. When you know what you really need, you can allocate reasonable costs to each one without exceeding your budget.
  • Get financial advice. If you can afford to work with a financial coach, then go for it. If not, you could get advice from established business owners, friends, or even books. Gain an understanding of how business finance works so that you can manage your funds well.

Not a fan of numbers and accounting? You can use easy financial planning software like Brixx.

Brixx helps you plan your startup’s financials, create charts & reports, and test scenarios. It also breaks your business down into its parts, which allows you to create a detailed financial picture through easy steps.

Brand your business

Your business needs to have an identity that stands out. Branding helps you allocate features such as name, visuals, values, and personality to your business. You can do some of your initial branding by yourself, but it is useful to get some help.

(Video) INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS - How to get Started and Make Money as an Interior Designer

Hire a brand designer who can understand your vision for your business and convey your message through their work. Some branded collaterals that you should have include: primary and secondary logos, a brand style guide, business cards, email templates, marketing materials, and social media guides. The goal is to ensure that your business communicates what you want it to and stands out from others.

Invest in knowledge

It’s great that you know enough to get your business started. However, you need to increase your knowledge if you want to grow and compete with others. Constantly improve your professional knowledge by taking courses, attending industry events, drawing inspiration from other professionals, and working with other designers.

You also need to stay informed about interior design trends that your clients might be interested in. You will surely gain huge returns when you invest in your knowledge and skills.

Put together a portfolio

Build your portfolio so that prospective clients can see samples of your work. If you haven’t had a chance to work with real clients yet, you can include practice projects or work you did in design school. You could also redesign your home or ask your friends and family if you could redesign theirs. These projects will help you practice and give you something to show new clients. Your portfolio could be presented as a collage, moodboard, or website page.

(Video) 8 Steps to Start Your Interior Design Business

Talk about your business, everywhere

As soon as you are ready to begin rendering your services, spread the word about your business in every way you can. People need to see you and hear about you. You need to put solid marketing strategies in place so that you can appeal to your dream clients. Word of mouth is very reliable, so make sure you and others have positive things to say about your business. Also, create a website and make sure yourSEO is strong so that you can be found through internet searches. Being active and relevant on social media will also give you good publicity.


As you implement each of these steps, you’ll see your business come to life and become everything you want it to be. Don’t lose courage if success does not come as quickly as you want it to; it does take time for new businesses to grow. You are well on your way to creating a sustainable, profitable, and fulfilling business. Enjoy every bit of it.


What are the 3 E's of interior design? ›

Instead of education, experience, and examination, the “three Es” required by the professional interior design organizations (American Society of Interior Designers, International Interior Design Association, and the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) for membership, the IDPC has suggested that ...

How do interior designers get their first project? ›

Quick links:
  1. Get featured in leading virtual magazines.
  2. Networking by hosting virtual PR events for designers.
  3. Listing on digital platforms to get clients.
  4. Hacking content marketing and social media for interior design.
  5. Join supporting Design Associations.
  6. Putting together an impressive portfolio.
Aug 27, 2020

Can interior designers make 100k? ›

Average Interior Designer Salary As an Employee

There are lots of companies out there hiring with an interior designer salary of $100,000-$150,000 as well, so your salary depends a lot on how willing you are to keep your options open.

Are interior designers millionaires? ›

Yes, interior designers can be rich.

While the median annual salary is $55,000, many interior designers earn salaries in the six-figure range. An interior designer helps plan and decorate living and working spaces for clients.

What are the 7 principles of interior design? ›

This is particularly true regarding the seven principles of interior design: balance, unity, rhythm, emphasis, contrast, scale and proportion, and details.

What is the golden rule in interior design? ›

You've probably heard of the 2:3 rule, otherwise known as the 'golden ratio'. Ideally, every room should follow this. Start by dividing a room into two sections – the larger one should measure 2:3 of the space, and be the area for big pieces of furniture such as your sofa, bed or dining table.

What is the lowest an interior designer can make? ›

Interior designers have an average starting salary of $35,000 per year. The lowest 10% are paid this on average.

Can interior designers make six figures? ›

Updated June 13, 2022. If you love working with people and enjoy the world of design and decorating, you might be thinking about becoming an interior designer. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary is $48,400, but many interior designers earn in the six-figure range.

What are the 6 principles of interior design? ›

The principle of unity asserts the need to have the other principles, balance, scale, rhythm, and focus, aligned and complement each other well to achieve a sustainable design harmony.

Can you be a self taught interior designer? ›

But if you have talent and ambition, it is possible to succeed in the world of interiors without studying interior design in school or becoming a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, which requires you to pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam.

Are interior designers paid highly? ›

Highest salary that a Interior Designer can earn is ₹6.0 Lakhs per year (₹50.0k per month). How does Interior Designer Salary in India change with experience? An Entry Level Interior Designer with less than three years of experience earns an average salary of ₹2.4 Lakhs per year.

Do interior designers make money? ›

According to the United States Department of Labor, the average interior designer salary is $57,060 per year, which comes up to roughly $27,43 per hour. The salaries vary by state, with District of Columbia, Arkansas and New York ranking in the top 3 top paying states in the country for this occupation.

What state pays the highest for interior designers? ›

Geographic profile for Interior Designers:
StateEmployment (1)Annual mean wage (2)
California8,330$ 70,290
Florida6,470$ 60,600
New York6,110$ 72,220
Texas4,690$ 59,370
1 more row

What is the highest paid interior designer? ›

High Paying Interior Design Jobs
  • Senior Interior Designer. Salary range: $62,000-$86,500 per year. ...
  • Space Planner. Salary range: $48,000-$73,000 per year. ...
  • Design Consultant. ...
  • Interior Designer. ...
  • Design Studio Consultant. ...
  • Design Center Consultant. ...
  • Residential Designer. ...
  • Commercial Interior Designer.

Who makes most money in interior design? ›

Highest Paying Interior Design Jobs:
  • Government interior designers. Let's start with a government interior designer. ...
  • Corporate interior designers. ...
  • Healthcare interior designers. ...
  • Residential interior designers. ...
  • Commercial interior designers. ...
  • Hospitality interior designers. ...
  • Sustainable interior designers.

Who gets paid more architect or interior designer? ›

Job Roles and Salaries of Architects and Interior Designers

The pay scale of an interior designer are higher than that of an architect because in the hierarchy, the interior designer ranks first. Design architects and mechanical and or naval architects work under designers.

Is interior design declining? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for interior designers will grow about 0.9% through 2031, which is slower than the average job growth of 5% for the same period of time for all other careers.

How much does an interior designer make in dollars? ›

The national average salary for a Interior Designer is $59,038 in United States.

What is the 60 30 10 rule in interior design? ›

What is the 60-30-10 Rule? It's a classic decor rule that helps create a color palette for a space. It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.

What are the 4 types of interior design? ›

Traditional interior designing Style. Modern style of interior design. Industrial interior design style. Minimalist interior design style.

What is the 80 20 rule in decorating? ›

There's a secret formula Maxwell uses when concepting color for a room. It's called the 80-20 rule and it's very simple: if you decorate 80% of a room in neutral colors, you can get very colorful with the other 20%.

What is the designer rule of 3? ›

The rule of three states that objects arranged in odd numbers are more interesting and eye-catching than even-numbered groups. This applies to visual artworks, photography, film, theatre, architecture, and you guessed it… interior design.

What is the 2 3 rule in decorating? ›

The rule works for home decor, color and composition balance. Take your living room; the furniture should take up two thirds of the area, leaving enough floor space for easy traffic flow like in the photo below.

What is the 70 30 rule in interior design? ›

What is the 70/30 split in interior design? Simply divide the room into a ratio of 70:30 and decorate 70% of the space with your anchor scheme and the other 30% in a different style (or styles), so you have a room that's visually interesting.

What are three 3 trends right now in interior design? ›

These are just the trends designers think they'll be saying goodbye to sooner rather than later.
  • Open Concept Homes. ...
  • Cheap Replicas. ...
  • Shiplap. ...
  • All-White Kitchens. ...
  • All-Gray Interiors. ...
  • Minuscule Home Offices. ...
  • Boho Style. ...
  • Mosaic Tiles.
Oct 24, 2022

What are the 2 types of interior design? ›

We're here to clear up the difference between modern and contemporary. In spite of their number of similarities, there are a few big signs that you're looking at a modern interior. Modern design refers to a specific time period while contemporary design is ever-evolving.

What interior designers should not do? ›

The 12 Worst Interior Design Mistakes
  • Choosing the Wrong Color.
  • Using Too Small Rugs.
  • Not Enough Lighting.
  • Ignoring Vertical Space.
  • Not Adding Variety.
  • No Focal Point.
  • Forgetting About Traffic Flow.
  • Holding on to Outdated or Inappropriate Furniture & Décor.
May 2, 2022

Can interior design be a side hustle? ›

But many of us may not have the luxury of jumping right in full-time. Or may not want to do it full-time. But luckily, interior design as a side hustle is a very real possibility. Many people develop a desire to be an interior designer after they already went through traditional college.

What is the hardest thing about being an interior designer? ›

One of the biggest challenges interior designers face is selling big ideas. Often times, you only have pictures or a floor plan to try and express the feel of an entire room. It's hard to sell something that doesn't physically exist. Do whatever it takes to get your ideas across.

What do most interior designers charge per hour? ›

Most interior designers charge by the hour for their services. Typically, you can expect to see an hourly fee of somewhere around $150, but a designer's rate can range between $50 and $500 per hour.

Do interior designers use a lot of math? ›

Interior designers are frequently required to be mathematically proficient. They must understand basic geometry and how to calculate measurements in order to create accurate floor plans.

Is interior designer a stressful job? ›

Stress is a daily factor in the day of an interior designer. Vendors are delayed, clients are unhappy, accounts are mismanaged—the list is endless. Fortunately, there's many ways interior designers can manage stress at their job.

What are the 5 rules of design? ›

What are the principles of design?
  • Balance.
  • Alignment.
  • Proximity.
  • Repetition.
  • Contrast.
Feb 27, 2019

What are the seven 7 elements of design? ›

So these were the seven basic elements of design – form, shape, line, color, texture, typography, and space. These various elements can make your piece successful when used right.

Is interior design business profitable? ›

Q: Is the interior design business profitable? Ans: Most interior decorators and their companies enjoy roughly 35-40% gross profit margin. Besides that, all interior design services budget for 20-30% net profit as a thumb rule.

Where do interior designers make the most money? ›

Geographic profile for Interior Designers:
StateEmployment (1)Hourly mean wage
California8,330$ 33.79
Florida6,470$ 29.14
New York6,110$ 34.72
Texas4,690$ 28.54
1 more row

Can you make a lot of money as an interior designer? ›

Yes, interior designers make good money.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average interior designer makes an average of $56,000 per year or $26.94 per hour. The highest 10% of earners netted more than $96,000 per year.

How much should an interior designer charge? ›

Most interior designers charge for their time by the hour, anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on their experience. On average you can expect to pay $100 to $200 per hour, typically totaling around $5,200 in design fees, not including the cost of furniture.

What makes a good interior designer? ›

First and foremost, you'll need to be highly creative. You'll be expected to design spaces for all sorts of clients. Although having a point of view can be an asset, you'll also need to be very adaptable. You'll also have to focus on both the little details and the big picture simultaneously to craft cohesive spaces.

How do I promote myself as an interior designer? ›

How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Interior Designer
  1. Develop relationships with influencers. ...
  2. Post regularly to a blog. ...
  3. Use Houzz. ...
  4. Find a mentor. ...
  5. Always try to get referrals. ...
  6. Establish store partnerships. ...
  7. Commercial projects. ...
  8. Get your social media spot-on.
Oct 4, 2017

What do interior design clients want? ›

A creative and unique interior designer

Clients will be looking for a designer that is creative and versatile in the work they produce. They are aware of the fact that they are investing a lot of time, faith and money into this working relationship, therefore there needs to be understanding on both ends.

Who is the target audience for interior design? ›

An interior decorating business most likely targets females with an interest in home décor. Based on the style and types of products you offer, the target age and income level may vary.

What state is interior design most popular? ›

Oregon is the best state, and Williston is the city with the highest pay for interior designers.
1. Oregon.
Total Interior Designer Jobs:493
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$98,000
Location Quotient:1.53 You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
2 more rows
Apr 6, 2021


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