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Question
Hi! My name is Camila Kwan and I am a student who is looking for information on interior designing. I am wondering if you could help me answer the questions below. It would help me a lot if you could.

1.   How did you get started in interior designing?

2.   Who do you work for? A company or is it your own company?

3.   What is you basic salary and how is it compared to other professions?

4.   What are some problems that you may face as an interior designer?

5.   What is the basic daily routine that you go through?

6.   What did you enjoy most about interior designing? The least?

7.   Are there any benefits to interior designing? What are they?

8.   How do you think interior designing may change in the future

9.   Is there job security for interior designing? If so, how much?

10.   What skills are needed to become an interior designer?

11.   Where other careers could you also do with the skills gained in interior designing?

12.   If you were to chose a different career, what would you chose and why?

13.   What advice would you give me if I was going to consider interior designing as my career?

14.   What kind of designing do you do? Which one did you like the most? The least?

15.   What is your flex time status?

16.   Around how much time do your customers give you to finish your projects?

17.    What may be normal stressors that occur in your job?

18.    What is your inspiration to designing?

19.    Could you show me some pictures of completed projects that you have done?

20.    What do you plan on doing in the future?

Thank you for your time in answering my questions. Your assistance was greatly appreciatied.


Answer
Hello Camila!

Thank you for your questions. It is a very good thing to give any future career a good thinking before you start working for it. You have some really good questions here and I will try to answer them all. Here we go:

1. How did you get started in interior designing?

I have always been interested in design and why some things work together and other things don't. I started decorate for my husband and myself. Then I did some smaller jobs for people I know and went from there.

2. Who do you work for? A company or is it your own company?

I work alone in my own company.

3. What is you basic salary and how is it compared to other professions?

Since I am based in Europe it is very difficult to compare with other professions in say USA. Being independent and not an employee is always more difficult, moneywise, but very rewarding in many other ways. All in all, you can make a living out of it but do not expect to get rich.

4. What are some problems that you may face as an interior designer?

Some clients are scared by an unconventional solution to an everyday problem. The real issue here is to bring my picture of how it will all come together in the end to the client. At some times I really would like to send the client away, change the room or garden (I do a lot of outdoor design as well) and then bring the client home and surprise them - like a make over show. In real life however, that is not how it works.

5. What is the basic daily routine that you go through?

I go up, check my e-mail. Being an e-mail addict I check my e-mail about 30 times a day. I communicate a lot with my clients and e-mail is the most important communication tool. It allows me to send sketches, ideas and ask the client for additional information.

After responding any e-mails I start working on my current project. If I have several projects going I try to plan my day so I can concentrate on one project at a time and thus be more effective, and creative. I try to avoid having projects run parallel. But having a new project running at the same time as I put the finishing touches to another one and discuss a future project with a prospective client that works fine.


6. What did you enjoy most about interior designing? The least?

What I enjoy the most is the creative process. Being able to see solutions where other see problems. What I enjoy the least must be the pressure to always be creative, even if I have got a cold or is really, really tired or anything else that limits creativity. Being able to handle those situations, that is professionalism.

7. Are there any benefits to interior designing? What are they?

It is fun! How many people can say that they REALLY enjoy what they are doing?

8. How do you think interior designing may change in the future

In the designer magazines the most recent trend has been said to be colour. At least in the areas where I work the trend has for a long time been very minimalistic. What I really believe (or maybe hope) is a greater individuality. The people who want to have what everybody else has do not usually hire designers. That is another benefit by the way, we get to meet a lot of fun people!

9. Is there job security for interior designing? If so, how much?

I am not sure what you mean by this question. Since I am based in Europe things may be a bit different than in the US. As an employee in a designer business you have the same sort of security as in any other kind of profession. Being independent and running your own company is always risky. Therefore it is good policy to thin ahead. What happens if I get ill? What happens if I do not get any more assignments, and so on. Get insurance!

10. What skills are needed to become an interior designer?

You must be able to see beyond ugly wallpaper and bad lighting and se the structures of the space. To be creative and imaginative also are basic requirements. You must be able to communicate! Remember that it is not only you who must be able to see how great the place would look with your design, but your client needs to see it as well. A common misunderstanding is that interior designers must be able to draw very well be artists. That is not true. I myself am a very bad drawer but I may say, a rather successful designer.
Other skills needed are professionalism and devotion. If you are planning to run your own business you also need to be able to handle all paperwork, pay your taxes and bills on time and so on.

11. Where other careers could you also do with the skills gained in interior designing?

As an interior designer you can work at magazines or newspaper as a journalist covering the fields of design, home and garden sections etc. You may be able to work in the theatre or in the film industry. Real estate agents need to stage houses and apartments before selling etc. These are just a few of the opportunities that exist as an interior designer.

12. If you were to chose a different career, what would you chose and why?

I would probably be a translator. Why? Well, I speak several languages for a start, enjoy words an communication and I want a job where I do not have to be in an office all day but can plan my own time and can choose to live wherever I want.

13. What advice would you give me if I was going to consider interior designing as my career?

First: Do not expect to get rich.
Second: Find your own niche what do you have to offer that no one else does? Do you do fantastic play rooms for children, or maybe you are great at creating a feeling of countryside in the city, know everything about Japanese trends and can transform them into working designs. What you need to do is to put yourself as expert on something. If you are not already an expert, become one.
I tend to do a lot of designs where my Scandinavian roots are visible. That is my niche.
Third: Go for it! If it is what you really want to do just do it! (No, I'm not being sponsored ;-) )

14. What kind of designing do you do? Which one did you like the most? The least?

Most of my clients are homeowners. I do very little job for companies although I'd love to decorate a hotel. I spend a lot of time in hotels and feel most of them are just terrible, even the expensive ones. My favourite job so far was a garden for a young family. They knew they wanted a modern garden and how they wanted to use it. Apart from that they were really open for creative ideas and different solutions.
What did I like the least? That is a question, which is difficult to answer. Every assignment has something that makes it worth wile.

15. What is your flex time status?

Since I run my own business I decide when to work and when not. As a designer it is sometimes difficult to stop working when you see the solution. The process is going on in your head even when you are cooking, shopping, watching TV (when did I last watch TV?) etc.

16. Around how much time do your customers give you to finish your projects?

Smaller projects, about five weeks. Larger projects can last for six months or more.

17. What may be normal stressors that occur in your job?

Money! Again, a common question for all self employed. When a project is about to be finished you do not know whether a new one is coming in or not.

18. What is your inspiration to designing?

I see what other designers do and try to give every design I see a good process of thinking do I like it or not? Why? NOTE! Never, ever copy another design. Be inspired but do your own thing.
I also read a lot, love art and can find inspiration in almost anything with an interesting shape, vibrant colours etc.

19. Could you show me some pictures of completed projects that you have done?

Sorry, client confidentiality. Since I work in other people's homes I cannot show pictures around without their approval. Some of my garden designs however are available at www.falkarsed.se/design The site is in Swedish but you can always look at the pictures.

20. What do you plan on doing in the future?

I plan to keep working, and expanding my business. I hope to be able to design a hotel and also a roof top garden.

Hope my answers have given you some ideas as to what a designer's life can look like.

Best of luck!
/Linn

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Linn Arvidsson

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Do you want to know how you can green your every day life without giving up style or quality? I can help you with your questions. I will answer any questions you might have on how to make your home healthier and more ecologically sound. It may range from how houseplants can clean indoor air to natural materials in furniture and fabrics; from window sill gardening to natural air fresheners. I do not claim to have all the answers right away, but I do know where to find them.

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