Once you have decided you want to become a well-known interior designer, you need to start your journey towards niching down and specialization. That usually starts with that you define your signature interior design style.
- Why is personal style important?
- Why do you need to niche down?
- How do you define your signature interior design style?
- Will that limit your income potential?
- What kind of styles are there?
Let’s find out!
Why is personal style important when building an interior design business?
Developing your own personal style allows you to create interiors that truly reflect who you are. It helps you attract the right clients, the ones who appreciate your senses and creativity, appreciating your values as a company and brand. Your personal style is often what got you into this business in the first place – most interior designers, decorators, stagers, and creators usually get started with their careers because they have a passion for the design aspects of this business.
Your signature Interior design style allows you to
- stand out and become the one and only. Clients, media, and partners will recognize your style and remember what you do.
- attract the right clients. The people who appreciate your signature style are more likely to invest at a bigger scale to get the look you are known for. Most clients know what they want visually, even if they cannot articulate it. Then they go to social media or Google and look for the style, but if you’re not popping up, they don’t know to come to you.
- build trust faster. If your style is all over the place, your clients won’t believe that you can pull off a certain style like a pro. So, they most likely go to someone who is an expert in that particular style. Having a signature style gives potential clients a point of reference for what they should expect and builds trust in your expertise.
- to be more creative. When you are working in your creative zone, you will be more creative.
- have more enjoyable work. Again, when you get to create the types of interiors you love, you will enjoy your work way more than if you’d create work that you really don’t even like.
- insert your values into your work. Your personal style often has a basis in your value system, so when you get to deliver that style, you often also get to make material decisions that are aligned with your values.
- create clarity in your marketing. When you have a strong personal style, you will find it easier to create marketing materials to communicate that.
- build your brand. While all your projects are different, these should be a certain brand feeling to them, allowing you to build a solid brand.
- get published. Yes, editors are always looking for that special point of view, so you need to communicate that through your designs.
Why do you need to niche down?
If you are just getting started as a designer, you might ask: “why would I niche down? I want to create interiors that are based on my client’s styles, not mine”. You would think casting a wide net and being adaptable to all possible styles would result in more inquiries and projects, but that’s often not the case.
First, yes, you are creating interiors that your clients love, and perfectly fit their styles. But, to become known for the work you do, you need to niche down to a specific type of work, and that usually also means your signature style.
Second, niching down allows you to focus on becoming the best of the best in your own category, allowing you to become a highly sought-after business and brand for the clients who can afford you.
Third, you’re not necessarily limiting your income potential by niching down, but you also need to be sure that there actually is a need for your style within your service area!
How can you define your signature style as an interior designer?
Developing your signature style is fun, and often a very organic process. The more work you do, the more you start noticing some patterns in your designs. But if you’re unsure how to develop your signature look, here are some great tips:
- What do you like? Define that first.
- What do you dislike? Define that too.
- Create a dream mood board. You most likely create mood and design boards all day long for your real customers, but this time, create one that communicates your signature look.
- Learn about materials and looks. It’s important to always educate yourself on how styles evolve, and how you can develop your signature style.
- Find your point of view. What matters to you as a brand? As a business owner? As a human? Think about your values and point of view, and figure out styles that match them.
- Don’t be afraid to take some risks. You and your clients will love the results of your experimentation.
- It’s okay to change your style. Just don’t change it every day!
- Enjoy the development of your signature style. It should happen organically, and not by pressure.
Will niching down limit your income potential?
Simply, no. On the contrary – it will help you attract the ones who really love your style and repel the ones who want something way different. But, there’s a but too.
In order to determine whether or not niching is right for your business, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons. On one hand, targeting a niche can help you to build a loyal customer base who is passionate about what you do. On the other hand, if you don’t have access to people who love your style, or your client base is very limited, then niching down might not work for you.
Even if you love, and excel at, a certain style, if you don’t have enough clients who love it too, then you need to make some hard choices.
How to communicate your signature style (particularly if you’re a beginner)?
In the world of interiors, or any design really, it’s very easy to communicate your style – you use visual cues to show exactly what your style looks like. If you are a beginner, then you most likely haven’t done many of those drool-worthly projects yet. To communicate your style, you can create lookbooks of your favorite colors, wallpapers, materials, furniture, and decor. You can also create a Pinterest board consisting of interior spaces that you admire – just be upfront that it’s not your own design.
Then again, you most likely have a home, or know someone who’d love to have you design their home, if not more than just one room. That investment is great to have some original design work in your portfolio.
Should you never deviate from your signature style?
Never say never – sometimes we just need to make the ends meet, and that might mean that you take on clients and projects that are exactly your style. Deliver the projects, but you don’t have photoshoot and publish those jobs!
What kind of styles are there?
There are so many styles to choose from, you could become a specialist in the Mediterranean, modern farmhouse, midcentury modern, boho, or Asian fusion. Here are some popular styles listed:
- Transitional Interior Design
- Contemporary Interior Design
- Traditional Interior Design
- Modern Interior Design
- Eclectic Interior Design
- Shabby Chic Interior Design
- Minimalist Interior Design
- Lake House Interior Design
- Mid-Century Modern Interior design
- Industrial Interior Design
- French Country Interior Design
- Scandinavian Interior Design
- Mediterranean Interior Design
- Art Deco Interior Design
- Asian Interior Design
- Bohemian Interior Design
- Modern Farmhouse Interior Design
- Coastal Interior Design
- Old Hollywood Glam Interior Design
- Southwestern Interior Design
- Rustic Interior Design
- Ski Chalet Interior Design
- Cottage Interior Design
What’s your signature interior design style?