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WHAT MAKES A GREAT INTERIOR DESIGNER? 5 Strategies For Beginners!

Updated: Sep 4, 2022



It's all about the mindset. I know, corny af.


Being an Interior Designer isn't just about shapes, colors, pieces of furniture, space planning, or even architectural details. No.


It's a lot more complex than just that, but in any curriculum, you are focused on a specific module with the end goal of passing exams. And while some of my instructors and professors really did a GREAT job at conveying what an Interior Designer mindset should be, we have always been preoccupied with trying to get an A in assignments, getting a shot in socializing, making friends, and getting the minimum amount of sleep. All while needing to hang out with our families, take care of ourselves, and more.


After being in practice and especially after freelancing I realized that what makes an Interior Designer GREAT is all about tackling all of the corners in your career and personality all while aligning to a purpose and serving one ingredient to your client: Time.



See, people hire any kind of specialist to save time or money, and hiring an Interior Designer is no exception.

When people hire an Interior Designer, they expect you to save them time on choices, coordinating with people, but MOST importantly time IN their designed spaces.


Let me explain:

While not all projects you take are residential; the chances are you will take at least one residential project in your life, and when you get hired you will worry about a list of concerns such as:


How can I be original? Unique? How will I find the perfect Sofa? Where do I find a subcontractor to make this custom detail? Can I survive with this budget?


The answer to all of those is WHOA. Slow down, this isn't what you need to be thinking about right about now. There is a bunch of strategies to THINK like a designer, and those questions just don't feed into any of those strategies just yet.


So what are those strategies?

Let's explore them:

  1. Defining Purpose: you exist to serve the client, all the questions should be asked to help the client. Granted, everyone has their worries about their portfolio and the amount of stress they are about to bear, but trust me, the more focused you are on the client, the better your whole experience will be. So in the beginning you need to be asking questions about and for the client. Example: how can I make sure this space makes them feel cozy and warm? How will the space fit into the routine? What kind of mood do they envision? How can I make their money spent a "worth it" moment for them?

  2. Time-Saving: I don't mean finish the project quicker, if you can, more power to you! But while planning, make sure that you are making the tasks easy and adjacent to their needs, down to the cupboards in the kitchen. How can they use their home in an efficient, easy, and frictionless way? This. This is what will make you different.

  3. All about Psychology: Stimulation, Security & Identity are the 3 psychological needs you need to keep in mind while planning the space. How can you indulge their senses to provide stimulation? Down to the very detail of smell and the touch of the fabric. How can they feel secure and private and safe in their own home? What will you add to enhance their sense of identity? Of course, all of that while aligning with the functionality and proper use of space.

  4. Being Transparent: Look, you will make mistakes, that's okay, don't panic, and don't sweat the small things. That being said when you mess up OWN IT. Apologize and fix it, don't run away from it, and don't shift blame. Instead always, always prepare for mistakes by adding a contingency to your fees to fix any kinda mistakes I WILL 100% make because I am human and I work with other humans, and errors are bound to happen. Wish somebody told me this before I started getting panic attacks every time one of my clients called me up.

  5. Think Longevity: Another form of saving them money and time is to think about the durability of the space, how it can never get out of style with some tweaks, and provide them maintenance instructions if needed. This will not only ensure your reputation stays beautiful but ensures that you are actually helping the person who hired you to live in the spaces you designed being happy and healthy aligning with your purpose!



Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! All love to. you, see you soon!


Need help with your design strategies? Aseel is now coaching Interior Designers all over the world using a tailored curriculum to fit their needs!




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Nawara Adra
6 days ago