Decorating & Furniture/becoming an interior decorator
Jenny, I have, perhaps, an unusual question. I am a 48 year old male and self employed in an occupation that isn't very demanding on my time (if I don't allow it to be). I seem to have a creative eye for colors, textures, architecture, the use of space, furniture, accessories, etc. I'd like to embark on a new career (full or part-time) at this stage of my life. What kind of formal training does one need to get into the "field?" Are men as well accepted in the field as women? Is there a good "acid test" to determine if this is a field I really want to go professional in?
Thank you. PS. May I ask a follow-up or two, if necessary?
At this point in your life you probably need a change! My opinion is that if you want something bad enough, are willing to work for it without expecting overnight results, and can afford to "dabble" in design while you hold another job, you can do it.
You could go back to school, get a two or four year degree and legitimately call yourself an Interior Designer, join the ASID (association of interior designers) and then look for work OR you can get more than adequate training through some of the career courses that are available online or via mail. I won't recommend one over another because I don't know them all, but most of the ones that have been around for a long time are very good.
You've already passed the "acid test" in ability. If you have the opportunity to work for some of your relatives/friends/acquaintances, then do so (for free if you have to with them covering expenses and purchases) and start a photo portfolio with before and afters. Work toward referral to other people (by those freebies), and develop a list of sub-contractors (flooring stores, painters, furniture stores etc.) that will allow you to purchase things at builder's discount. Develop a list of subs that you can depend on, and take "jobs" as you grow. Make sure you have good business skills too -- accounting can be a nightmare, but is manageable through some good accounting software.
That's not the easy way, it's the only way if you want to do this full-time.
Blessings and good wishes,
Thanks for your honesty and candor. What about "men" in this field? It seems like a "women" dominated area. How can I get ahold of your books? Is this a field where there is a demand for talent--or is there already a lot of saturation? Blessings returned, David.
There are actually a lot of men in the field. Some of the best and most creative designers in the world are men, and I certainly think there is room for one more! I don't have "books" per se. You can catch some of my magazine articles from time to time, and can read some in archives at www.seasoned.com. Look for the HomeStyle articles.