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  • Writer's pictureLaura Biggs

Do career changers make the best interior designers?

This month's guest blog topic 'Do career changers make the best interior designers?' proves to be an insightful subject discussed by our wonderful friends at The Interior Design Business podcast.

Do career changers make the best interior designers

The Lighthouse writers space courtesy of Boaz Studio

The interior design business podcast
Jeff Hayward and Susie Rumbold, The Interior Design Business podcast

Presenters Jeff Hayward and Susie Rumbold of the podcast review the unique challenges and opportunities faced by career changers venturing into the world of interior design...

Interior design is without doubt one of the most popular choices for people wishing to change careers. For many, interior design has been a lifelong passion; something they have dreamed of pursuing since childhood. But making this change is not easy. Many cannot afford the luxury of spending a year or more with no earnings while they retrain, not to mention expensive college fees that must be paid out of previous earnings. Little wonder then that many would-be designers bypass these barriers to entry and just set up on their own. We all know at least one successful professional person with reasonable taste who woke up one morning and said to her partner ‘Hey, I’ve had a great idea…. I think I’ll start an interior design company!’ But this raises issues. All professional designers understand how complex and regulation- bound interior design is. The knowledge needed to be a successful practitioner would fill a set of encyclopedias and the scope for expensive things going wrong on projects is infinite. How can an someone who decides out of the blue that they are a designer possibly know enough to keep their clients safe, manage complex building projects and not lose money or end up in court? The British Institute of Interior Design recognises this in their accreditation process, insisting that designers must have a minimum of 6 years’ experience and or education to become a Registered Interior Designer. In other words, someone with the knowledge and experience to call themselves a professional designer and a pair of hands safe enough to be let loose on the public. That being said, these late design bloomers often have a definite edge over their younger rivals. Especially when working on private residential projects mature designers understand the practical pressures of day-to-day life and can design in ways that will truly enhance the lives of their clients. Many working in the profession feel that new and unqualified designers should not be allowed to market themselves to an unsuspecting public, and that ‘Interior Designer’ should be a restricted title and be licensed as it is in the USA. Perhaps the way to provide access for career changers is though alternative routes such as apprenticeships. That way we can enjoy the undoubted benefits they bring while maintaining the hard-won integrity of the profession. If you’re reading this and thinking of making the change, then, be sure to do your research – that starts with a visit to Design Central South West, where you can see so much and immerse yourself in the world of interior design. You can also listen to our podcast, recorded in front of a live audience at Design Central South West in 2023, on the very same topic by clicking this link or watch the episode on our YouTube channel.

Career changer interior designer Chestnut Interiors
Breakfast Nook courtesy of Chestnut Interiors

Career changer interior designer Boaz Studio
Roseland bathroom courtesy of Boaz Studio

We spoke with two career-changers, Charlotte Dawson from Chestnut Interiors and Stephen Boaz from Boaz Studio. It was a fascinating conversation, rich with insights and useful advice…there’s nothing quite like hearing first-hand from the experiences of others!

The Interior Design Business Podcast at Design Central South West 2023
The Interior Design Business Podcast at Design Central South West 2023

Jeff and Susie will bring a new topic for discussion to Design Central South West on 19th March 2024 at the stunning Coombe Lodge. Be sure to join this informative session at 11:30am for 'Designing Spaces for Art' to explore the issues that interior designers face when sourcing, buying and commissioning art for their projects. Plus, they will also discuss with special guests on how to work with a client’s existing collection to display it within the home in the most attractive or dramatic ways possible. We look forward to you joining us at Design Central South West 2024.

Design Central South West at Coombe Lodge


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