Interior Design Business | How do I get started ?

Has a glimmer of an idea formed…? Or is being your own boss a secret long term dream?


Should I start my own Interior Design business, or should I go and work for another Designer?

There are plenty of pros and cons to weigh up when considering whether to start your own Interior Design business, or whether to go and get a job with another Design business. Knowing which path to take can be a tricky decision and needs a lot of thought. To make this easier for you, we have compiled a list of the pros and cons of being self-employed vs employed as an interior designer.


What are the Pros and Cons to starting your own Interior Design business?

Are you are already an experienced designer and are getting tired of working for someone else? Then maybe it’s time to take the plunge and start your own Interior Design Business. However perhaps you are worried you don’t have previous ‘business running’ experience. Perhaps you do already have extensive business experience, although not in the design industry. Perhaps you want to leverage your transferable business experience as an entrée to a design company. Whatever your situation, here are our top pros and cons to starting your own interior design business.

Interior Design Business
Dining Room by Casey & Fox


● Be your own boss – flexible hours and you can work from home (no dreaded commute on a Monday morning!)
● Discover your own design style.  You are not confined to the house style of your boss or the design firm.
● Create your own path – discover, learn and create whatever suits you and your clients
● Seeing clients really appreciate your own work from start to finish is the BEST feeling!


● The business side of things (accounts, advertising etc) will consume an awful lot of your time, it is not just about ‘interior design’ – it is about running an actual business.
● You may be creative, however if you want to be profitable, you have to be organised and efficient with your clients and your trades team
● Being a one-man band can sometimes be very daunting (and even lonely at times)
● It’s often a huge financial risk (but one that can certainly pay off in the long-term), so you need to plan ahead financially and be prepared to draw a line if its not working out like you thought.
● Sadly clients don’t grow on trees, so you have to put yourself out there and go after new business. Yes, the dreaded cold-call can be something you have to be prepared to undertake.

Interior Design business


What are the pros and cons to working for an Interior Design Business?

If you’re just getting started in design and have not run an Interior Design Business before (or at least one involving design), then often the best way to get the grounding and experience you’ll need to succeed is by learning ‘on the job’ working for another interior designer. As mentioned in our first post ‘Do I need to retrain to become an Interior Designer?’, you could perhaps intern at a few large, high-profile design companies (if you can financially afford to). Take a peek at the BIID website and find a designer locationally close to you.

For the more ambitious folk among you, you could simply aim straight for entry-level paid positions (bear in mind that the competition is incredibly fierce!). There are some specialist Interior Design employment agencies out there (e.g Adrem, Hays and Mustard Jobs) who offer a variety of Interior Design jobs for all levels of experience.


● Financial security (salary, paid holiday, pension scheme, maternity pay)
● It’s a great way to gain experience and learn new things from other designers
● There are few expenses compared to working from home


● Lack of independence and lack of ability to inject your own personality into your design
● Set (and often extremely long) working hours meaning lack of flexibility
● Most of the larger companies are London-based, hence you need to be prepared to commute into London daily.
● Overtime is very rarely paid, acknowledged or reimbursed by way of time.


However, the reality is that everybody is different. Some people do not have, and maybe even never will have, any interest in running an Interior Design business of their own, and simply want to focus on the design aspect – and that’s perfectly acceptable. Some people have a burning desire to be their own boss, no matter what it takes – that’s totally fine too.

Make an honest assessment of your skills, on both the design and business sides of the equation, balance it against your actual career desires… and go for it!

Interior Design business


The Metier Rendezvous members are a friendly bunch of Interior Designers, so feel free to get in touch should you have any questions that you would like to ask about breaking into the industry – we have all been there and got the T-shirt, so would be delighted to share our words of wisdom.


Watch this space for more insights into the Interior Design industry.

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