What I Learned From Working at an Interior Design Firm

You may have noticed I took a really long break from blogging recently (or didn't notice until I pointed that out just now...). The reason is I really wanted to get serious about pursuing interior design and got a part-time job at an interior design firm starting their blog and doing random little odd jobs (so I guess I didn't really take a break)! I loved the people there and was SO grateful for the months I spent learning what being an interior designer is like day to day.  I have included pictures from some of my favorite spaces they did from their website so you can get some ideas from the pros. If you want to check out their blog, here's the link!They are all wonderful and hilarious people.

I wanted to share with you all some things I picked up because it made me think differently about what I notice about homes and design in general. (If you really wanna get into the design mindset, start here with this TED Talk I thought was interesting on design!)

1) There are WAY more options out there than you see on TV

There are a lot of trendy buzzwords right now that we've learned from amazing shows like Fixer Upper (completely addicting, I know), but there are so many other choices out there other than subway tile, granite counter tops, and normal length shiplap (it comes in a bazillion different sizes!). Going to a showroom is the best option for seeing your choices. It's fun to create a custom look in your house while still pulling together a similar look to what you originally found on Pinterest!

2) How to Master Paint

I think I always heard people just choosing eggshell finish for everything, but apparently that is not that case at any interior design firms! Obviously this can vary from place to place and what you are looking for, but in general for finishes, it goes more like this:

Walls: Flat

Bath: Eggshell

Ceiling: Flat

Trim: Semi Gloss

Porch Ceiling: Satin

All of these finishes not only refer to the look of the paint, but also their level of protection from various levels of humidity (and to prevent mold). There are also a lot of amazing paint colors that we used a lot from Sherwin Williams like Elder White, On the Rocks, and Snowbound to name just a few. Also it is a myth that light colors make spaces look bigger!

3) Interior designers shop like normal people

For some reason, I always kind of thought that once you were a registered interior designer, you had just so many more places you could order furniture that most people never heard of. Though that's sometimes true for corporate interior designers, most designers actually shop places like Wayfair, West Elm, CB2 etc. Yes, sometimes they do get a little discount (they can get special prices around 15% off from a lot of companies), but if you are interested in designing your home like a pro, know that the resources for you to do so are right within your reach!

4) Nothing EVER goes as planned

Getting an interior designer can help you project manage and can be great to talk you through when things get crazy in the design of your dream home, but before you go into tackling your house, know that anytime you are working with a group of people, something is bound to go wrong. You will change your mind after the entire house is done being painted, the cabinet maker will randomly not show up when he/she is supposed to, a huge issue will be found that costs you thousands of unexpected dollars... the list goes on. Always estimate more money and time than you think, and it will save you a lot of stress!

5) The interior design network is everything

It takes a while for designers to build their business partners, but these relationships are so essential! Not only can you stay updated on the latest tiles, fabrics, etc that come out, but it also makes the process a lot more fun. You can do this to by just taking the time to get to know and chat with the specialists  when choosing your materials. You would be surprised how many of these pros actually have degrees in design and go above and beyond in their jobs! 

6) It's ok to mix wood stains!

A lot of people I have spoken to get really worried when all the wood in a space is not exactly the same color. However, mixing wood stains is completely fine (I recommended sticking to two or three) and can actually make the space more interesting! 

7) Keep rooted!

What is the real reason you want your space to be redone? Do you want to make it somewhere people can get together and find community or have a place your family loves to come visit? Remember, the people and what you use a home for are always more important than the physical home—keep that in mind and the little details that go wrong won't bother you as much! 

8) Your project will never be done

After working at a design firm, I realized that it is VERY common for clients to keep hiring back interior designers to tweak the space afterwards. It's so tempting to want PERFECTION, but what you think is perfect will just change after you make your dream space. I recommend writing down a few things you really want for your space and taking time to be thankful and enjoy the space before criticizing!

Here's what I did when I finished my job- the beach is ALWAYS my go to happy place!!

Here's what I did when I finished my job- the beach is ALWAYS my go to happy place!!

At the end of the day, remember you have your own style, so don't be afraid to experiment, learn from others, and take time to relax and enjoy your time getting to create something beautiful!