5. Vendors, contractors or subcontractors might be difficult to work with. Nine percent of interior designers reported that collaborating with or assembling teams is their least favorite part of being a designer. Depending on your ability to find teams that do quality work, you may have periods when you have to step in and do extra work to get things done and get them done right. “The actions of others involved in the process ultimately affect my reputation,” one designer says.
6. Long, unsociable hours can be required, especially early on. Interior design isn’t all paint charts and fabric samples. It involves incredibly long hours, particularly if you work for yourself, and can be very stressful when it comes to managing clients and meeting deadlines while all the time pitching for new work. Indeed, 7 in 10 interior designers surveyed by Houzz reported working more than 30 hours a week, and 44% even end up working more than 40 hours a week. We also learned that more than half of interior designers who own their business or are a partner in a business (52%) take only up to two weeks off work annually. Finally, 37% reported that their work is somewhat stressful or very stressful. Even with this level of stress, 85% said they are happy or very happy with their profession. That said, you’ll need a good dose of self-belief to get through the hard times that will make your workflow and invoicing easier to manage while you concentrate on work.
7. The salary can be low at first. Whether you’re working for a design firm or starting out in your own business, you will have to prove your talent and skills before expecting to be paid the big bucks. Like with most industries, graduates straight out of interior design school should expect to start at the bottom and gain experience to progress to higher levels within their company. Similarly, when starting your own business, there will be a period at the beginning, while you’re building your profile and finding new clients, when the profits will be low. It’s wise to factor this in when considering an interior design career, so you have a contingency fund to see you through any rough patches.
8. Some elements of the field are technical and repetitive. Interior design isn’t always about arranging attractive moodboards or styling pretty rooms. There’s a lot of technical skills to master, such as measuring spaces, calculating amounts for things like tiles and wallpaper, and creating 3D visualisations to present to clients so they understand your design concepts. We told you it wasn’t all glitz and glamour, and in fact, interior design can be incredibly high-tech depending on what software you choose to use to present your designs. Be prepared to spend hours mastering technical programs.