How to start an Interior Design Consultant Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Interior Design Consultant Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start an Interior Design Consultant Business?
  • How much does it cost to start an Interior Design Consultant Business ?
  • How to find the best location to open a Interior Design Consultant Business?
  • What different types of services you can offer as a Interior Design Consultant business?

     

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Interior Design Business?

With a global market value of more than $150 billion, the Interior Design Consultant Industry is one of the biggest industries in the world right now. 

 

An Interior Design Consultant Business is a professional service that helps clients to design, plan, and execute interior spaces of their homes, offices, or commercial buildings. The interior design consultant’s role is to work closely with clients to understand their needs and preferences, develop design concepts, and provide advice and guidance on color schemes, furniture selection, lighting, flooring, and other design elements.

 

To start an Interior Design Consultant Business in the USA or UK, one must have a passion for design, creativity, and attention to detail. 

 

A successful interior design consultant must be able to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in the industry, as well as stay up-to-date with building codes and regulations.

 

By the end of this article, you’ll learn the steps you need to take to start a Interior Design Consultant business and the critical considerations for making it a success.

Market Insight: In the UK, the Interior Design Consultant Industry is valued at £9 billion, while in the US, the market is valued at $16 billion.

Interior Design Consultant Business

Types of Interior Design Consultant Business Models

There are various types of business models in the interior design industry. 

 

Here are some examples:

 

  • Fee-Based Model: 
    The interior designer charges a fixed fee for their services in this model. The price may be based on the scope of the project or the number of hours worked.
 
  • Commission-Based Model: 
    In this model, the interior designer receives a percentage of the project’s total cost. This model is commonly used for larger, more complex projects.
 
  • Hourly Model: 
    The interior designer charges an hourly rate for their services in this model. This model is often used for smaller projects or consultations.
 
  • Project-Based Model: 
    In this model, the interior designer charges a fixed fee for a specific project, such as a room redesign or a home renovation.
 
  • Product-Based Model: 
    In this model, the interior designer sells products directly to clients, such as furniture or decor items, and provides design services.
 
  • Subscription-Based Model: 
    The interior designer offers ongoing design services to clients for a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
 
  • Online Design Model: 
    In this model, the interior designer provides design services exclusively online, often through virtual consultations and online design tools.

 

Some interior design businesses may use a combination of these models, depending on the services they offer and the needs of their clients.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Pros and Cons of an Interior Design Consultant Business

Pros of a Interior Design Consultant Business:

 

  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Variety
  • Opportunity for self-employment
  • Opportunity for collaboration with other professionals

 

Cons of a Interior Design Consultant Business:

 

  • High competition
  • Irregular income
  • Long working hours and tight deadlines
  • The need for continuous learning and updating of skills
  • Physical demands and potential health hazards (e.g. exposure to dust and chemicals during renovation work)

Interior Design Consultant Business Investment

The one-time setup cost for an interior design consulting business can vary depending on various factors, such as the business size, location, and services offered. 

 

Here are some approximate costs in USD and GBP:

 

  • Legal and professional fees: $1,000-$5,000 (£700-£3,500)
  • Office space rental and setup: $5,000-$20,000 (£3,500-£14,000)
  • Furniture and equipment: $2,000-$10,000 (£1,400-£7,000)
  • Software and technology: $1,000-$5,000 (£700-£3,500)
  • Marketing and advertising: $2,000-$10,000 (£1,400-£7,000)
  • Insurance: $1,000-$5,000 (£700-£3,500)
  • Inventory and supplies: $1,000-$5,000 (£700-£3,500)

 

Therefore, the total one-time setup cost for an interior design consulting business can range from $13,000 to approximately $50,000 (£9,100 to £35,000).

Interior Design Consultant Business

How much will you earn in the Interior Design Consultant Business?

The earning potential of an interior design consulting business can vary widely depending on factors such as location, clientele, and the size and complexity of projects. 

As an Interior Design Consultant, your services will depend on your clients’ needs.

Here are ten services you may consider offering, along with approximate rates:

  • Interior design consultation: $100 – $200 per hour
  • Space planning and layout design: $2,000 – $5,000 per project
  • Furniture and decor selection: 10-20% of the total project cost
  • Color consultation: $75 – $150 per hour
  • Lighting design: $500 – $2,000 per project
  • Window treatments and custom drapery: $1,500 – $3,500 per room
  • Art and accessory selection: 10-20% of the total project cost
  • Kitchen and bathroom design: $5,000 – $10,000 per project
  • Custom cabinetry design: $8,000 – $15,000 per project
  • Project management: 10-20% of the total project cost

 

Typical Day in a Interior Design Consultant Business:

1. Meeting with clients.
2. Conducting site visits to take measurements and assess space.
3. Presenting
design concepts to clients for review and feedback.
4. Collaborating with architects, contractors, and other professionals.
5. Researching and sourcing materials, finishes, and furniture for projects.
6. Creating detailed design plans.
7. Managing project timelines, budgets, and resources.
8. Communicating with vendors and suppliers.
9. Overseeing installation and final finishing of projects.
10. Networking and attending industry events.

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Interior Design Consultant Business

Equipments needed for an Interior Design Consultant Business

Here’s a checklist of essential equipment that may be required for an interior design consultant business:

 

  • Computer/laptop: 
    A computer or laptop is necessary to create designs, communicate with clients, and manage the business.
 
  • Design software: 
    Software such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Photoshop are commonly used in interior design and may be necessary to produce professional designs.
 
  • Measuring tape: 
    Measuring tapes are essential for accurately measuring rooms and furniture.
 
  • Drawing tools: 
    Pencils, erasers, rulers, and other drawing tools may be needed to sketch designs by hand.
 
  • Camera: 
    A camera can be used to document the progress of a project and capture before-and-after photos.
 
  • Sample materials: 
    Swatches of fabric, wallpaper, paint, and other materials can show clients different options and make selections.
 
  • Sample books: 
    Sample books containing catalogs of different materials and products can also be helpful for client presentations.
 
  • Office supplies: 
    General office supplies such as paper, pens, folders, and a printer may also be necessary.

 

Note: The specific equipment needed may vary depending on the business’s focus and scope.

Interior Design Consultant Business

Types of Staff needed to start an Interior Design Consultant Business

The number of team members or workforce required for an interior design consulting business can vary depending on the project size and scale. 

 

However, some typical roles that may be needed include:

 

  • Interior Designer: 
    This is a crucial role in the business and involves working with clients to develop design concepts and plans.
 
  • Project Manager: 
    This role involves overseeing the project timeline, managing budgets, and coordinating with contractors and vendors.
 
  • Sales and Marketing: 
    This role involves reaching out to potential clients, making sales pitches, and developing marketing strategies to promote the business.
 
  • Administrative Support: 
    This role involves administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing client databases, and handling financial transactions.
 
  • Support Staff: 
    Depending on the business size, additional support staff such as receptionists, assistants, or interns may also be required.

 

The number of team members required for each role will depend on the size of the business and the number of projects being undertaken at any given time.

Trends & Challenges in the Interior Design Consultant Business

Trends in the Interior Design Consultant Business:

1. Biophilic Design
2. Sustainable Design
3. Maximalism
4. Multifunctional Spaces
5. Vintage and Antique

Challenges in the Interior Design Consultant Business:

1. High competition
2. Changing trends and preferences
3. Time constraints and tight deadlines
4. Irregular income
5. Limited budgets

Interior Design Consultant Business

Products / Service list to offer in an Interior Design Consultant Business 

As an interior design consultant, some of the leading products and services that can be offered are:


  • Design consultation services: 
    This includes providing design advice, guidance, and recommendations to clients.


  • Space planning: 
    This involves creating a space layout, including furniture placement and traffic flow.


  • Color consultation: 
    This includes selecting color schemes and palettes that will enhance the space and complement the client’s preferences.


  • Furniture selection and procurement: 
    This includes sourcing furniture pieces that are stylish, functional, and within the client’s budget.


  • Lighting design: 
    This involves creating a lighting plan that will enhance the mood and functionality of the space.


  • Material selection: 
    This includes selecting materials, such as flooring, wall coverings, and window treatments, to create a cohesive and stylish look.


  • Project management: 
    This involves overseeing the entire design process, including coordinating with contractors and vendors and ensuring the project stays within budget and timeline.


  • Home staging: 
    This includes preparing a home for sale by enhancing its appearance and appeal to potential buyers.


  • Virtual design services: 
    This includes offering design services remotely through online platforms.


  • Product sales: 
    This includes selling furniture, lighting fixtures, and home decor items to clients.

Interior Design Consultant Business

Tools / Resources required for an Interior Design Consultant Business 

Several tools / resources that may become helpful in an Interior Design Consultant Business include: 

 

  • Houzz: 
    A popular platform for home renovation and design that connects homeowners with interior designers, architects, and contractors. The website also has a directory of professionals and a product marketplace. 
    URL: https://www.houzz.com/
 
  • SketchUp: 
    A 3D modeling software that helps interior designers create visual representations of their designs. It allows designers to create realistic models, test different materials and lighting, and share their designs with clients.
    URL: https://www.sketchup.com/
 
  • Design Manager: 
    A cloud-based project management software specifically designed for interior designers. It helps create proposals, manage budgets and invoices, track orders, and communicate with clients and vendors.
    URL: https://www.designmanager.com/
 
  • ASID (American Society of Interior Designers): 
    A professional organization for interior designers that provides resources, education, and networking opportunities. ASID members can access industry events, trade shows, and job listings.
    URL: https://www.asid.org/
 
  • IIDA (International Interior Design Association): 
    Another professional organization for interior designers that focuses on advancing the industry and promoting the value of interior design. IIDA offers education, networking opportunities, and advocacy for the industry. 
    URL: https://www.iida.org/

Top 5 interior designers in the US and UK:

US:

1. Kelly Wearstler - Kelly Wearstler Interior Design
2. Nate Berkus - Nate Berkus Associates
3. Jonathan Adler - Jonathan Adler Enterprises
4. Kelly Hoppen - Kelly Hoppen Interiors
5. Martyn Lawrence Bullard - Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design

UK:

1. Kelly Hoppen - Kelly Hoppen Interiors
2. David Collins Studio - David Collins Studio
3. Abigail Ahern - Abigail Ahern
4. Martin Brudnizki - Martin Brudnizki Design Studio
5. Tom Dixon - Tom Dixon Studio

Certification and Registration

Licences in a Interior Design Consultant Business 

Depending on the location and specific services provided, special licenses and permits may be required to operate an interior design consulting business. 

 

Some of the Licences include: 

 

  • Business License: 
    A general business license, including an interior design consultancy, is typically required to operate any business. The cost and requirements for a business license vary depending on the location.
 
  • Professional License: 
    Some states require interior designers to be licensed to work in the field. The requirements for licensing vary depending on the form.
 
  • Sales Tax Permit: 
    If the interior design consultant sells products such as furniture or decor, they may need a sales tax permit to collect and remit sales tax.
 
  • Zoning Permit: 
    Depending on the location and laws, a zoning permit may be required to operate a business from a certain location.
 
  • Building Permit: 
    If the interior design consultant makes structural changes or improvements to a property, they may need a building permit.
 
  • Fire Safety Permit: 
    If the interior design consultant works with flammable materials or installs fire safety equipment, they may need a fire safety permit.
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Interior Design Consultant Business

Skills and Qualifications required for an Interior Design Consultant Business

In the US, even though there are no specific certifications required, but still, designers may choose to obtain a degree in interior design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is the primary accrediting organization for interior design programs in the US.

 

In the UK, the most well-known is the National Design Academy, offering various courses and qualifications while other organizations, such as the Chartered Society of Designers and the British Institute of Interior Design, also offer programs for interior designers.

 

To become an interior design consultant, several skills and qualifications can be helpful, including:

 

  • Creativity and artistic ability: 
    Interior design requires a high level of creativity and the ability to envision a space in a new way.
  • Attention to detail: 
    Interior design consultants must have a sharp eye for detail to ensure that every space element works together cohesively.
  • Communication skills: 
    Good communication skills are essential to work effectively with clients, vendors, and contractors.
  • Technical knowledge: 
    Knowledge of interior design software, drafting, and project management tools is necessary to create accurate designs and plans.
  • Business acumen: 
    Understanding business operations, including finance, marketing, and project management, is critical for running a successful interior design consulting business.
  • Certification or degree: 
    A degree in interior design or a certificate from a professional organization like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) can give credibility and increase marketability.
  • Continuing education: 
    Interior design consultants should stay current on trends and best practices through continuing education courses, workshops, and conferences.

 

Note: While having a degree or certification is not required to become an interior design consultant, it can provide a competitive advantage in the industry.

Interior Design Consultant Business

Shall I go for a Design Consultant franchise?

Buying an existing Design Consultant Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Design Consultant Franchises in the UK and USA:

UK:

  • The Design Co-operative
  • Orange Design Studio
  • Fiona Watkins Design Limited
  • Go Media Ltd
  • Concept Interiors

USA:

  • Decor & You
  • Creative Colors International Inc.
  • Decorating Den Interiors
  • DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen
  • Franchise Solutions

Conclusion

In conclusion, starting an interior design business in the USA or UK can be challenging yet rewarding.  

Starting an interior design business requires a strong understanding of the market, proper planning, and the ability to provide exceptional services to clients. 

So, keeping up with industry trends and investing in the right resources is essential to stay ahead of the competition. 

By providing top-notch services and building a solid reputation, interior design businesses can achieve significant success and profitability in the long run.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
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  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
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  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
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  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
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  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Abstract: The Art of Design | Ilse Crawford: Interior Design | FULL EPISODE | Netflix – YT Channel ‘Netflix’

INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS – How to get Started and Make Money as an Interior Designer – YT Channel ‘Ula Burgiel’

A.  Interior design consultants provide a range of services including space planning, color consultation, furniture selection, lighting design, and project management.

A. The cost of hiring an interior design consultant varies depending on the scope of the project, the consultant’s level of experience, and the location. On average, consultants charge $100-$200 per hour.

A. The duration of an interior design project depends on the scope of work and the size of the space. Small projects can take a few weeks to complete, while larger projects can take several months.

A. While there are no specific qualifications required to become an interior design consultant, most consultants have a degree or diploma in interior design or a related field. Certification from a professional organization such as the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is also recommended.

A. Interior design consultants source materials and products through various channels, including trade shows, industry events, and supplier catalogs. They may also have relationships with vendors and manufacturers to access unique or custom items.

A. Yes, interior design consultants can work remotely, especially for projects that are primarily focused on design planning and consultation. However, on-site visits may be necessary for measuring and assessing the space.

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