The home decor industry post pandemic

A snapshot view across Home Decor Services in 2020

Back in mid march I wrote a post here on how Corona Virus would affect the interior design industry. None of us could really predict the impact it would actually have on the world. Indeed there are still many unknowns in this journey into the new normal. The home decor industry post pandemic has seen many changes. Businesses and the people they support both as employers and product and service providers continue to navigate uncharted waters.

Now months later, at the start of a new year, I’m revisiting that post to see how things are with the benefit of hindsight. Did my predictions come true? What did we learn? What processes are now rooted in our business practice from what we’ve learnt over 2021? How has the landscape of interior design and the home decor industry post pandemic changed?

Firstly in our day to day working across every industry things came to a complete standstill as everyone worked out how we would manage this. Zoom and google hangouts became our best friends as we forged new ways to communicate with each other. Slowly things picked up. For the main part, the home decor industry post pandemic is fortunate enough to not only continue trading but to see an upturn in activity.

I’ve taken a look back over the past few months to see what the numbers say. I’ve also asked clients and colleagues in the industry how they fared during this challenging time. Read on to find out more.

Home decor consumer behaviour during the pandemic

Comscore tracks consumer behaviour online. Their May report on the home improvement category saw a huge increase across the EU 5 in both online shopping and use of home/architecture websites and apps. You can see from the stats here there was a considerable increase in interest across the home decor category. 

 

What did this mean in UK? Houzz, the online platform that connects home renovators with interior designers, professional  tradespeople and home decor suppliers reported huge surges in the use of the platform during the first lockdown with some of their busiest ever periods. Year on year reports for August saw home renovation pros receive 102% more enquires than in the previous year. Many product categories also saw huge increases. One surprising statistic from the Houzz report was in the flooring category. There was a 1,500% increase in leads for flooring installers in August 2020 in comparison to August 2019, and a 370% year-on-year rise for carpet and flooring supplier leads. Demand for tiles also rose by an incredible 5,300%!

How did home decor suppliers adapt in the home decor industry post pandemic?

So I spoke to a flooring supplier – Nick Bounds of Naked Floors told me, “We’ve been trading for 18 years and through that period have had 2 or 3 recessions each of which just made us work harder and become more determined to carry on at what we do best.”

“However when Covid19 first kicked in we did get slightly nervous as existing customers postponed their orders. People were very cautious and they simply didn’t want tradespeople entering their homes.”

“Initially enquiries from all angles simply dried up to zero in the first few weeks. What many people didn’t realise is that we were classed as an essential business. A vital part of the construction supply chain so we were allowed to carry on trading. We made sure we communicated we were open and ready for business. With the required safety measures in place we were able to continue with business as usual.

wood flooring by Naked floors

Beautiful bespoke wooden floors by Naked Floors

However some customers were anxious about visiting. Having read so much about Covid in the news and as they’d barely left their homes since the start of lockdown we did our best to put them at ease. Adhering to the safety protocols and communicating how we were able to serve them with the restrictions in place. Fortunately for us there has been no supply chain issues. We are a local manufacturer and don’t rely on foreign imports. We’re proud to source sustainably lowering our carbon footprint and benefitting the local economy. We’re pleased to say that we now benefit from the increase in demand for quality locally produced goods.”

Home Decor and independent retail

I also spoke to Sam Moseley from custom table makers Grain and Frame, a relatively new business who were growing fast when the pandemic hit.

“The business was performing well in March and we were on target to have our best month to date. However, no one could have predicted that we would be facing a global pandemic. The first lockdown meant all of our suppliers shut which meant we couldn’t make our tables.”

“We decided to see this as an opportunity to take a step back and look at improvements we could make to the business. We immediately paused all of our paid ad spend but continued to invest in our marketing activities. At the time, we were struggling with the functionality of our website and the platform that it was built on. We knew this would limit our long-term success. We used this quiet period to build an entirely new website to help improve our rankings on Google and increase the amount of organic traffic to the site, which we were hopeful over time would increase enquiries for our tables.”

 

Walnut dining table by Grain and Frame

Walnut Dining Table by Grain and Frame

“Since our new site went live, we have tripled the number of new visitors to the Grain and Frame website. This is still increasing each week. In fact October was our best month in terms of sales which is a direct result of this investment.”

This approach is typical of businesses we worked with at My Deco Marketing over 2020. Increasing online visibility is key to success. The home decor industry post pandemic saw a clear customer shift. Not only to just researching but actually purchasing goods online as the high street became inaccessible, or else people simply preferred to stay at home. We’re seeing an increasing investment in SEO, content marketing and organic and paid social media strategies across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Becoming more visible online is paying off in bringing in customers as more people shop from home.

Designers making a difference

During the year many in the home decor industry used their design and business skills to help others, especially to support our NHS workers. Read my blog on designers making a difference to discover more. Anna Hayman Designs is one of these. Anna’s business covers both interior design projects and home decor products, Anna told me…

“The impact of Covid in March on Anna Hayman Designs has meant that our interior design side of the business which was just emerging, had to hit pause. With the retail customer spending more time at home, however, over the Summer the product side has boomed, with some of our best months to date being during 2020. We have been outsourcing work to those unable to earn, to try to help the situation and utilise unused skills. We also raised £4000 through selling Art Prints for local NHS meals to try to give back.

Cushions by Anna Hayman Designs

New products for AW 2020 from Anna Hayman Designs

 

Through the Autumn we have added more product lines, developed a new website and grown the business, and feel extremely lucky to have done so.

The question remains what will come in 2021, and we are hopeful that homeowners will continue to invest in their homes,  as we have all had to connect with our spaces in more meaningful way. A lot of people find pattern very calming, so we hope we can continue to create sanctuaries from an ever changing world!”

Home decor on the high street

Next let’s check in with one of the UK’s largest retailers. I asked Suzanne Knight, Sales Manager for Property for John Lewis & Partners Business how the pandemic affected their home decor offering.

“The year 2020 has brought so much change across Britain and globally. Here at the John Lewis Partnership we have been at the heart of equipping people and their homes to accommodate what has quickly become known as ‘ the new norm’.”

“We couldn’t have dreamt of a time when we would have had to close our branches, but we appreciated the need to do so and quickly rallied to reallocate our resource to our grocery business, Waitrose & Partners as the immediate demand was focused on stocking the nation’s cupboards.”

“In the weeks ahead the needs expanded as we saw uplift in sales at John Lewis where our customers were embracing hobbies from needlecraft to stargazing. Our fashion sales shifted to sportswear and the accompanying equipment as gyms closed and many people used the opportunity to focus on health.”

“We evolved many of our in store advice into a virtual service and had 5830 appointments with almost half focused on homeware. Here we have helped people carve out new spaces, seeing sales of bunkbeds increase as siblings share rooms allowing for a home office , in addition to the investment in pieces such as rugs and freestanding shelves allowing households to zone open plan areas to allow for function led spaces such as a home classroom. “

living room interior design

John Lewis & Partners interiors collection 2020

 

“In John Lewis & Partners Business we serve companies in their procurement needs and in lockdown technology was initially the core purchase as workforces shift to working from home. Beyond that we worked closely with other trade customers including those in the property sector, most notably Interior Designers and Home Staging who balanced where they could, current projects but all also revised the needs of past clients equipping them with home offices and garden furniture as they embraced outdoor living.”

We evolved our at service John Lewis & Partners Business specifically for Interior Designers and Home Stagers purchasing via our team by lowering the minimum spend and increasing our trade discount exclusively for this audience. This has been very welcome to this base as many have had to pause all business so very much are looking to maximise all commercial gain in the months ahead in what will always be a memorable year for all. Contact Suzanne Knight to find out more about their services

Interior Designers and the new normal

So far it’s clear to see people focusing on their homes and investing in their interiors during these undertain times. With this in mind we saw interior designers having to manage their projects under new and challenging circumstances.

Cat Hoad of interior design and project management  Absolute Project Management explains how this year unfolded for her business.

“With multiple projects in progress at the time of the first lockdown we quickly adapted in order to continue serving our clients. Our team decamped to work from home and zoom meetings became the norm. As construction is in the class of essential business the sites were open. We were able to visit our projects and liaise with clients and contractors taking the proper safety precautions. However it was not without it’s challenges. With workshops closures and high demand for building materials longer lead times became inevitable.

Absolute Project Management Interior Design

London renovation project completed during lockdown by Absolute Project Management

 

As well as this progress on site is slower. Contractors are working with fewer tradespeople on the team to allow for social distancing. Now more than ever we are advising planning ahead and engaging specialist services as early as possible to avoid delays when starting your renovation project. With an increase in demand we’ve been able to leverage our longstanding relationships across the build and design industry to ensure our projects run smoothly through these challenging times”

A boost for home stagers

At the start of the first lockdown estate agents closed their doors and house sales slowed. At first interior designers and home stagers had no access to properties due to lockdown restrictions. However then another boost for the home decor industry post pandemic came in July. In the chancellor’s Summer statement, an announcement of a Stamp Duty holiday until March 2021.

I spoke to Jane Lee of Jane Lee Interiors to discover how this affected her home staging business.

“When the housing market shut down, my work inevitably slowed to a trickle. With no kids to home school I found myself spending (a lot) more time on Instagram, with unexpected consequences …

Three weeks in, an estate agent whose blog post I’d shared on my stories messaged me. Would I take part in their video series, talking about lockdown-friendly ways to get properties ready to sell? Absolutely! Even better, they’re now recommending me to all their customers.

Then there was Zoom. Clients are more open to video consultations now, something I’ll continue to promote as I can work further afield.

Jane Lee Interiors kitchen design

Home Staging by Jane Lee Interiors

 

With the housing market back on track, buoyed by the stamp duty holiday, staging is back in demand. Apart from minor product sourcing issues, due to limited stock and slower delivery times – and nearly passing out behind my mask in the heatwave – for now things are feeling more normal.”

Interior Design Events

Finally one of the things we miss most is simply connecting with people. Some of our biggest design events including Decorex and Focus/20 from the Chelsea Design Centre had to happen online. This has been the year of Zoom. I’ve found it a great way to connect with people when I couldn’t be out and about. Debbie Blott founder of The Decorcafe Network for interiors and creative businesses says this year the ability to connect online is more important than ever.

“Our network is founded on connecting through interiors inspired creative events. In 2021 we were looking forward to private house tours of homes featured on Grand Designs. In-store events with the high street’s best loved interiors brands we’re also on the schedule. However that all changed in March when we suddenly we had to make a move to online meetings. Instead of just once a month there was a high demand to stay connected. We quickly moved to busy almost weekly members meetings of our interiors and creatives community. We’re now welcoming new members every week as interior designers, independent business owners and larger brands look to find new ways to connect through building connected communities online.”

Moving on to 2021

So there you have it a little round up across our industry for 2020. Looking back at my original blog from March I don’t think anyone would have predicted some of these outcomes. Moving in to 2021 I feel blessed to be part of an industry where we were still able to trade for most of the year. I feel 2020 proves two things

  • Home as a place of sanctuary is more important than ever.
  • The internet as a place to trade, connect and communicate is more important than ever.

The technology, skills and knowledge in the space that connects these two important places is exactly where my business sits. I’m hopeful of good things and I wish you all the best for 2021.

How to build a successful interior design business

3 Top tips on how to build a successful interior design business

 

build a successful interior design business

 

It’s always good to get advice from experts when making decisions about your business. Building a business is a challenge and so much can be learned from working with specialists in your field. I asked Dionne Sherwood a Chartered Certified Accountant who specialises in helping interior design businesses for her top three tips on how to build a successful interior design business. Here’s what she shared with me.

1. Have a plan to build a successful interior design business

If you want to build a successful interior design business ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you in business?
  • Why are you in the business of interior design, particular?
  • What part of the interior design sector are you in?
  • How long do you plan to run this business?
  • Do you want to grow it and sell it so that you can retire?
  • Are you planning to grow it and pass it onto the next generation?
  • Do you have a plan to grow and reap financial rewards, without having to be there all the time?
  • Can you make it provide you with a comfortable income for as long as you need it?

It really doesn’t matter what the answer is to any of the above questions. Yes really!  However thinking about the answers will mean you have an idea of where you want to take your business.  If you don’t at best you’ll just amble along and find that everyday is a fight for business and security.

When doing design work for a client, you will talk with them.  Find out what they want, how they use their rooms and the type of activities that might take place.  You’ll then plan those rooms to meet the needs of your clients.

Working out how to build a successful interior design business is exactly the same.  You need to know what you want your business to do for you. Once you establish this, then you can build it and run it.  It doesn’t matter if you have big plans and big dreams, or smaller aspirations.  Whatever they are you can make them come true, but only with a plan.

If you have borrowed, or plan to borrow money to set up your business, you will have put together a business plan.  Don’t put it to one side thinking it has served its purpose, once you have the funding.  Keep it alive.  Make it a living breathing document, that you refer to when you are unsure whether to take a particular piece of action.  You can use it to see if you are getting the results you set out to achieve.

And like all things, plans change over time.  But that doesn’t matter.  You can tweak it and update it as things in the industry change.  No doubt you have had a client that wanted to achieve a particular look, but your experience tells you the room was too small, or without sufficient natural light etc, but by making certain adaptations, you were able to get a really good result.

Think of running your business a bit like designing a room.  You have a plan but things can sometimes go wrong, or at least result in a slight change.  The important thing is that you have that plan in the first place to guide you.

 2. Price what you are worth

How do you price for your services?  How do you know what to price?  Most business owners price emotionally rather than strategically.

Many people have a formula based on the amount of time it is going to take, plus the cost of the materials, plus a mark-up on the materials.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but there are disadvantages.  For example:

  1. If you tell a client you charge £80 per hour there is no incentive for you to complete a project ahead of schedule. In fact it benefits you to take longer and no doubt you have good reasons for taking longer which you would expect a client to pay for, especially if they change the remit.  Equally if you take less time, the client is likely to expect a reduction in the fee.
  2. If you tell a client, on a tighter budget, how much the materials are, they may well decide to source cheaper options themselves, and with the internet they probably can (although there might be questions over the quality).

Either way the client is likely to haggle the price down.

So, if you don’t want to get into a bartering conversation you have to find a way of working with the client’s budget.

my deco marketing interior design business blog

Pricing for success

Rule No 1 is never crash and burn on price.  The prices you set are the prices the customer will pay.  Those that haggle on the price and want to pay the lowest price possible are the ones that are going to give you the greatest amount of grief.  Simply by starting on a bad footing with the price, means your relationship with the client is going to be tense.  This is not unique to Interior Design, and neither is Interior Design immune to this – it happens in all businesses.

There are ways of working with your client to set the price that both you and the client are happy to work with.

Know your niche and your worth

Knowing your niche and how to define your ideal client will help determine how much you can charge and so too will your geographical location.  But don’t compare your prices to the interior designer down the road. Ha

ve a strategy for getting the best prices, knowing that your clients have had a say in that so that they know what they are getting for their money.  Small businesses cannot compete on price, so don’t even try.  You only end up in a race to the bottom and that’s no way to run a successful interior design business.  Show your value because that is what customers actually buy.

3. Keep on top of the finances

This is probably quite an obvious one, but if you are working on your own it often gets put to the back of the queue.  You don’t like doing it, you might not even understand how to do it.  Some people are frightened of numbers and finances, and that is quite common in creative industries.  If this is you, you are not alone!

Unfortunately keeping on top of the numbers is crucial.  When running a business you have responsibilities to you, your family, your customers, your suppliers and to the tax man.  Whilst I have put the tax man at the end of this list, he does have the most influence if you get it wrong. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.   That said, as far as I am concerned, he stays at the back of the queue.  Get everything else right and the tax man will be dealt with.

 

interior design business owner

Get help where you need it

There is a load of stuff out there now to help you manage your finances on the go. From sending your invoices out, automating reminders for payment, automating actually getting paid through Direct debit or Credit Card. You’ll also want to make sure your supplier invoices are recorded so that you can schedule the payments and most importantly manage that cashflow.  But if numbers really do frighten you, or you just don’t have time, then get professional help.

The taxman has changed the way VAT information is submitted by introducing “Making Tax Digital” (MTD) and whilst you might think it doesn’t affect you because you are not VAT registered, MTD for income tax (sole traders & partnerships) and corporation tax (limited companies) is on the horizon.  Get your finances digitised now rather than later and MTD will be a piece of cake.  Digitising your finances means that you can spot the problems before they happen when it comes to cash in the bank.

Ultimately Cash is King and if you don’t have any, you will have sleepless nights.  Manage your finances properly and the rest of your business will be a joy to run. Be prepared to invest in planning, pricing and managing your finances and you will reap the rewards.

About Dionne

Dionne Sherwood is a Chartered Certified Accountant at DS Small Business Help who specialise in helping small businesses, in particular Interior Designers.  Her focus is on helping clients set their goals, build in profitability and run a successful interior design business. Dionne helps clients understand the best way of pricing their services and managing their businesses so that the business works for them and not the other way around. If you would like to know more e-mail her at dionne@dssbh.co.uk

Consumer insight on Living room trends from John Lewis & Partners

Consumer insight on Living room trends from John Lewis & Partners

So how exactly does consumer insight on living room trends help with your design business? I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before but building your successful design business comes down to one key thing – knowing your ideal customer. Whether you specialise in creating forever homes for families or home staging properties for sale or rental, consumer insight is crucial in predicting behaviour, trends and spending patterns amongst your core target market. When you know your audience, it’s easier to define their problem and present their perfect decor solution with style and confidence.

The things we do in our living rooms (and things we wish we didn’t)

Earlier this year I read a really interesting report from John Lewis & Partners Business. The Things We Do In Our Living Rooms (and things we wish we didn’t) looks at living room trends and changes over the last 5 years in how we use this room in our homes. The report is the result of a survey of over 3,000 John Lewis & Partners customers, as well as members of their buying, design and home design stylist partners. It analyses the changes in our lifestyles over this time and how this affects how we decorate. The living room trends we aspire to and what homeowners are shopping for to create their perfect living room. In terms of consumer insight this report is absolute gold dust. A My Deco Marketing recommended read 👍🏽  for any interior designer in the residential market.

 

Trends for living rooms

The living room is a hard working room in our homes which is many things to many people. At it’s heart it is a sanctuary to relax and enjoy downtime alone or connect with the family.  It is also a multi purpose space which often doubles up as a space to dine, work from home, exercise and more recently a home school too. As a room where we welcome guests and entertain it is also perhaps the room where we most express our personality through style and decor.

Research led trend analysis

The sales data and commentary from John Lewis interior design partners present a clear picture of how homeowners rise to the challenge of creating their perfect living room. It shares tips and ideas to integrate trends. For example the rise in design for wellbeing, alongside details of the pieces homeowners choose to create their own calming retreats. Alternatively read up on how statement luxury furniture and finishes alongside smart tech create grown-up spaces for entertaining. There’s also solutions on how to create hard working flexible spaces. With many of living in smaller homes in cities, open space living and multi-tasking rooms are becoming the norm. Knowing how your clients use their homes is key in creating functional layouts that will work in their space. Discover exactly what people buy to zone flexible spaces. From accommodating family living to work from home stations and making room for downtime.

Living room trends takeaways

To some of us five years may not seem long enough for big changes. However you may recognise some of these key living room trends that have come and gone over the past few years. Here’s just some of the takeaways from the report of what we’re buying now and what we’re not.

 

Living Room Trends

 

Are any of these a feature of one of your recent interior design projects? I’d love to hear so do let me know in the comments below.

For more of what’s hot and what’s not download your full copy of the report here  – The Things We Do In Our Living Rooms Report

John Lewis & Partners Business: Services and trade discounts for interior designers

John Lewis & Partners has a designated team to help business customers across many areas, from Interior Designers to Home Stagers. The service offers access to iconic British brands as well as their in house designed collections. It’s also reassuring to know that the products are backed by their longstanding reputation for quality and price.
John Lewis & Partners Business also host CPD events, accredited by the BIID and SBID. These are held at the John Lewis & Partners Heritage Centre in Cookham, Maidenhead where you can explore the extensive archive and hear how these designs from the past inspire future collections. The next events will be announced in the coming weeks.
In the meantime do register your interest of trade discounts with suzanne.knight@johnlewis.co.uk

living room interior design

Discover more – View our live chat on IGTV

On 5th August I was joined by Suzanne Knight, Sales Manger for Property at John Lewis & Partners Business live on my Instagram @fiona.mostyn Click through to my Instagram account and my IGTV channel to view the conversation. We were able to discuss the report in more detail and offer even more insight into the way we use our homes. Additionally since lockdown we’ve seen unprecedented changes in the way we live. We also discussed how these changes affect our lifestyles. As well as how can we now use consumer insight to help design for more flexible living with a focus on balance and wellbeing.

 

Fiona Mostyn My Deco Marketing

 

How to get a job in Interior Design – In with the Interior Design Crowd

How to get a job in Interior Design – In with the In Crowd

This week on the blog I’ve got a book review for you. In with the Interior Design Crowd is a comprehensive guide on how to get a job in interior design at any point in your career. The book is written by Lucy Painter who runs Studio Recruitment. Lucy helps graduates and designers make the perfect match in furthering their careers. This goes hand in hand with helping design studios to build their teams in line with their plans for growth.

A respected industry figure Lucy also has a regular column in Interior Designer magazine. She has judged the Design Week Rising Star awards and hosts and comperes the Restaurant and Bar awards. The book brings together her 15 years of experience as a recruiter in the interior design industry helping designers whether at graduate or the most senior level to get the right job in interior design.

Before we start I’m obliged to let you know that this blog contains links to buy the book from which I will make a small commission. If you’re happy with that then let’s dive in and take a deeper look.

How to get a Job in Interior Design

About In with the Interior Design Crowd

Starting with the foreword and the inspiring story of how Lucy built her business over the last 10 years. Not all plain sailing, however as any business owner will tell you, resilience is a key ingredient in the recipe for successful enterprise. It is this same kind of resilience and preparation that it takes when you set yourself the task of planning your next career move. The infamous quote of Benjamin Franklin is picked out early in the book’s pages – “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. One of the key elements of successful preparation is set out as best informed as you can be and this is really one the best ways the book can help you with your job search

How to get a job in interior design

The book is set out in 10 easily digestible chapters. Each chapter tackles a specific topic of the recruitment process. I recommend that you read the book from start to finish, however if there is one sticking point you need to tackle in your job search then just dip in to the chapter that covers what you need.

How to get a job in interior design - in with the in crowd book

 

To summarise the book in a simpler way I’m dividing into four sections

 

1. Practical job search skills

Chapters 1-6 cover the practical skills that you need to prepare for your job search. Having seen hundreds of CVs over the years Lucy is able to impart some great tips on how best to present your CV and portfolio. As well as innovative ideas on how to stand out there is also advice on mastering technology. These include tips such as how and when to use pdfs, websites and online portfolios to present your work.

interview tips for interior designers

Moving on through this section Lucy then explains exactly where you should be looking for work. This covers how to research and target businesses you want to work with. It also explains how to use LinkedIn to get a job interior design and how it is an invaluable tool for networking. In addition to online networking through LinkedIn and social media it’s important to be visible in the real world so there’s tips on networking through interior design events too.

 

2. Interview preparation

As Lucy says of interviews in the book, “Preparation is absolutely Key.”  There’s many challenges to overcome in an interview — unfamiliarity, difficult questions and negotiating your salary are just some of the things you can find advice on here. Best of all the advice is from studio bosses in the interior design industry. These next 3 chapters cover advice for junior, middleweight and senior designers. They feature business owners and senior designers answering questions such as, “What do you look for when interviewing for a junior designer?” and “How does the role of associate differ from that of a senior designer?”

With real life examples, these questions are not just informative for job seekers. They also provide valuable insight for everyone involved in the recruitment process. Looking to expand your team? You’ll find really useful observations here of what to look for in designers for every level of your team. From technical and personal skills, learn from the experiences of others how to define whether someone is right for your team.

3. The In Crowd

In the final section of the book we meet some interior designers who tell us about their career in design. Additionally they allow us to take a look around their portfolios and relate personal experiences of working as a designer. It’s a great cross section of the industry with designers from residential, commercial, hospitality and retail all sharing their stories. All of this is complemented by by beautiful portfolio pieces of photography, original concept illustrations, layouts, CAD and 3D designs.

In with the interior design crowd

4. The Directory Listing

Finally at the end of the book there is a really useful directory listing. This contains around 300 interior design and architecture practices in the UK all categorised by specialism. There is also a listing of their web addresses so you can research them.

Whatever you do in life investing in specialist advice or expert help makes you reach your goals quicker. Your career should be no different. The niche advice in this book is unique in our industry. It helps with planning your job search by breaking it into bite size pieces you can tackle more easily. With tons of tips from industry insiders it could also put you streets ahead of a competitor in your job search.

Useful Links

Buy a copy of the book on Amazon

Looking for work or thinking of expanding your team? – Jobs in the interior design industry – Studio.eu.com

Follow on instagram – @studio_lucypainter

Follow on Twitter – @Studio_Lucy

Keep up to date with the latest news from My Deco Marketing from me @fiona.mostyn

 

Future Vision – 3D Design for Interior Designers

3D Design for Interior Designers – How to envision the future with your clients

Why is 3D interior design a standard tool for interior designers in this day and age? How is it going to boost your business? I’ve invited Anna Klepikova of Anna K Studio to tell us everything you need to know about 3D design for interior designers. It’s history, it’s reach and it’s essential values.

About Anna K Studio

Firstly let me introduce Anna. A successful interior designer with an MBA and a degree in interior design from Chelsea College of Arts. Anna has worked on residential and commercial projects across Europe, collaborating with property developers to provide visual representations of new apartments. Anna later took a lead role as Head of Design at O & A in London, before deciding to build on her ten years industry experience by opening her own 3D studio.

3D living room designs by Anna K Studio

Spotting a gap in the market to provide 3D design for interior designers and property professionals to help them envision the future with their clients and deliver successful projects, Anna started Anna K Studio. Anna is passionate about the role this evolving technology will take in the future of design. I also feel this is even more relevant as we adapt to our recent changing circumstances and navigate and connect more than ever through virtual spaces in our lives and businesses. So now read on to discover from Anna everything you need to know about 3D design for interior designers.

A short history of 3D design for interior designers

We don’t have a precise date when 3D design started, but we know that first 3D models were developed in the 1960s. You’d probably assume that architects were the creators of 3D software. Surprisingly, this is not the case. 3D modelling was first created by computer engineers who worked on automatisation of data. It was Ivan Sutherland, who created the first ever programme for drawing 3D models. He called it Sketchpad. Together with David Evans, Sutherland established the computer technologies department at The University of Utah. To this day most 3D programmes’ interface is based on Sketchpad.

In 1969 Sutherland and Evans launched their company specialising in 3D graphics. Their first clients were advertising companies and TV channels but soon this kind of service spread out to different industries, especially architecture and interior design.

The process of creating 3D models

To become part of this progressive movement we need to get some insight Let’s have a closer look at the process of creating 3D models.

3D Bedroom Design by Anna K Studio

 

The main purpose of interior design visualisation is to get images of an object or interior from different perspectives. To achieve this, 3D designers use specific software to create a geometric vision of a space, add materials, they create natural or artificial lighting, they even include an impression of the surrounding environment (for example a view from windows) and they make sure that the appearance of surfaces resembles real-life texture.

After everything is ‘built’, 3D designers render the interior to get photorealistic images. For high-quality final images, 3D designers usually edit final renders in Photoshop, because it allows them to adjust the light and colours of the images.

The stages of 3D visualisation:

  1. Step One: Creating geometric or 3D models

You need to know the precise measurements of the space and each and every object in the room before you start building it. The main objective of 3D visualisation is to show everything in precise scale, as it is in reality. The benefit of applying exact dimensions is that you can be 100% sure, that objects not only fit but are also proportional to the space.

Programmes used to model are: Autodesk 3Ds Max, V-ray, ZBrush, Google SketchUp, Blender, Revit, Rhino.

  1. Step Two: Materials and textures


To make your interior appear as realistic as possible you have to add materials and colours as they are in the specification. 3D proficient software allows you to choose the precise materials you want to see in an interior. One of the major benefits of 3D programmes is, that they can also demonstrate how different materials interact with the light.

To add materials, you can use all programmes listed in Step One.

  1. Step Three: Light


One of the strongest features of 3D design programmes is, that they allow you to ‘build in’ light sources. It can be natural day light (the sun) or artificial lighting at night. You can create two versions to show how the same space might look at different times of the day.

Why is using the light feature so important? Only natural light makes images looks realistic. It creates depth, brightness and shadows. When you work digitally, effects of light have to be properly adjusted to make sure the images look realistic.

  1. Step Four: Positioning virtual cameras


Cameras allow you to take photos of the space and make videos. Cameras have their own settings, where you can choose the quality, the size and different effects for each image.

  1. Step Five: Rendering


Rendering is the process of projecting 3D space into 2D photos or videos. This should be done after Step One to Four have been completed.  The most common rendering software applications today are Maxwell Render, Corona Render and V-Ray.

With new technology you can create not only 3D images and videos of interiors but also 360 degree panoramas, 3D tours and VR experiences. Go to Anna K Studio website to learn more.

The role of technology in interior design

The design industry has changed in the past decade with a significant increase of different new technologies. There has been much progress and still, the industry continues to change and evolve. Even though we still have tools that are “the norm” for technical drawings, we are already witnessing the appearance of many new apps that work faster. They are also are more versatile, offer more features and tools. This in turn helps to make the design process faster, easier and more inspired.

3D Design Apartment interior design

New technology for new experiences

Revit (for architects) and Sketchup (for designers) are already starting to replace AutoCAD. These software solutions offer a better user experience with more options, like easier 3D render within a programme. This is becoming a must-have feature in software, because it gives designers the ability to work in 3 dimensions straight away. Using this they can produce pictures, videos, specifications and technical drawings much more quickly and efficiently. More and more clients are aware of this useful technology and they expect designers to provide them with 3D presentations.

3D Design by Anna K Studio My Deco Marketing Blog

Before and after: A new build apartment photographed as it exists in reality alongside the 3D design visualisations for the proposed  interior design scheme

The design industry is not exempt from the effects of the unprecedented economic and financial downturn, which we are currently experiencing. Interior design clients will be more aware and more selective as far as their investment is concerned. Digital design technology offers designers effective tools to get through these times. This is done by demonstrating to their clients in a very impressive and convincing way that not only is their idea budget effective but also works well for the client.

Design in the New Normal

Another reason for using advanced technology is the e-tendency. We are going online and that is not going to change for a while. Some companies might not return to office-based work routines, if working remotely can be done more efficiently. What about interior design? New technology allows us to have Zoom meetings. We can now do virtual home tours, which means there is no need to go to a client’s house. In addition we use project management programmes to control our progress.  We use online platforms to order furniture and so on. Digital design is more than just technology – digital design is a new way of communication, it is a new way of presenting your ideas as well as a great way to win a project. Sometimes we have just one chance to present our ideas and we should not waste it.

What to expect next?

We can all agree that technology is advancing faster and further than Sutherland and Evans could have predicted. The next steps will see architecture and design merging with virtual reality and augmented reality. There is no big rush. You don’t need to integrate these technologies into your business right now. But for those like me, who like to stay ahead of the game, this is something to be aware of and to stay engaged with.

Thank You to Anna K Studio for an insightful round-up on the use of 3D design . For more articles on the business of design take a look at the My Deco Marketing Blog. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.