Who doesn’t dream of a gorgeous home or a sleek, state of the art business? A designer kitchen, a fab lobby? With half a dozen design and home improvement channels on TV and scores of magazines showcasing thousands of beautiful images of every inch of a home, garden or office, it’s little wonder that the services of design professionals are in high demand. Interior design is on the rise, with 19% growth forecast in the next decade. New Opportunities in Interior Design Can’t Relocate? Redecorate! Economic realities mean that people may not be trading up in houses the way they once did, but the desire for a fun new space or something more modern doesn’t evaporate just because the housing market had its bubble burst. So when we can’t relocate, we redecorate! Residential interior designers can do everything from a makeover to a full renovation, allowing homeowners eager for something new to get it on a variety of budgets. The Initiative to Go Green Equally important is the new emergence of green design. We don’t just want it pretty and functional, we want it sustainable. Interior designers who understand how to make something look great, work great and do it all while keeping our carbon footprint small are a hot commodity. Even your average home-owner who knows what color paint goes with the sofa may need some help when creating a space that’s truly low on the environmental impact scale. A Home for the Booming Boomers Growth in certain business markets translates to more knocking on the doors of interior designers. The Baby Boomer generation is moving into retirement age, and as more medical centers, extended care facilities and retirement communities are built, designers are busy making those spaces comfortable and desirable. The competition for the business of retirement communities will be keen; builders and developers who want their facilities at the top of the tour list know that an attractive space will garner more interest than a cold, clinical one. Interior Design as a Marketing Strategy While it seems common sense that a comfortable, beautiful space will attract more business than one that is not, it’s a recent realization for building owners in general. In a lean economy, savvy businesses look for what will attract customers who are more careful with their spending. In industries where the space itself is part of the experience – hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas – a relationships with a good designer can make all the difference. Interior Design Game-Changers Design Entrepreneurs Design no longer lives just in the big firms. Design mavens are launching businesses from home, getting their degrees online, and making a career that started because they were the person everyone went to for advice on how to stage an amazing dining table. People, often women, are turning a flair for seeing the beautiful in a space into an income-earning activity, ranging from a hobby that pays for itself all the way to a career. Whether its turning garage-sale hopping and flea market scouring into design philosophies that combine vintage charm with practical re-purposing, or being the neighborhoods top real-estate stager, there’s a wide range of opportunity for a person who wants to make great spaces. The Age of Design Blogs Part revenue generator, part marketing platform, many people start their design dream by starting a blog. What may start out as a way to share fun tips and success stories can become the equivalent of a virtual business. Sarah from the hugely successful blog Thrifty Décor Chick says: “I think nearly anyone in business should have a blog now — especially women-owned businesses. Consumers are more web-savvy than ever and with that comes the desire to connect with others. When business owners can write and share their thoughts and stories, it engages the customer and creates a deeper alliance with the business.” Businesses are using blogs to both promote products and connect with customers. According to eMarketer, 43% of all businesses will be using blogs as part of their overall businesses strategy by 2012. This potential is not lost on interior designers, whose business is heavily visual and sold through images. The Hot Couples of Interior Design Interior design is becoming more sophisticated and more client-focused, which drives business. Designers view customers and the science of designing in order to cater to the client. Interior Design and Technology With the development of new software to help with all aspects of design, pitches are more elegant and estimates more accurate. Interior designers use industry software for layout, spatial planning, and engaging presentations. Online seminars and networking allow an interior designer to stay current on the hottest trends and newest products and materials. Interior Design and Psycho-graphics Understanding the client and the need and function of the space is an integral part of contemporary design philosophy. While creativity is a must, so now is being part psychologist, part building expert and part Feng Shui specilaist. Interior design looks to meet the needs of the client – whether the client is a home owner or a busy corporation – through a blending of form and function. Interior design professionals are at their best when they can look deeply at clients and see not only the needs they have now, but the ones they might have later. Interior Design and Passion One of the appeals of interior design is that what starts out as a hobby can be turned into a career. A creative decorating guru can start by connecting with friends and neighbors, move into staging or writing a decorating blog, and then transition into a degree program where the full field of interior design opens to them. The transition from passion to career is a sustainable trajectory for people who are eager to turn their creative abilities into a paycheck.