10 Interior Design Schools in Australia You Should Know About

Australia is home to some of the most innovative, interesting residential design happening anywhere right now, so it’s only fitting that the country also offers plenty of amazing places to study interior design. From top-ranked international universities to highly specialized and hands-on local design schools, here are 10 of the best interior design schools in Australia—and anywhere, really.


Whitehouse Institute of Design—This design school offers a two-year, full-time Bachelor of Design / Interior Design degree that includes study of residential interior design, furniture and installation design, retail interior design, community landscape design and commercial office interior design. Whitehouse also emphasizes the industry connections its students get to access via its network of successful design graduates.

Sydney Design School—This school’s multiple interior design degree options include an Advanced Diploma of Interior Design, an intensive curriculum in which students take on series of challenging projects, beginning with residential interiors and branching into commercial interiors including retail, hospitality, offices, retirement living and hotels.

University of Technology Sydney—This Sydney school’s three-year, full-time Bachelor of Design in Interior Architecture empowers its students to re-imagine interior environments and public spaces in both local and global contexts.

Billy Blue College of Design—This widely respected design school was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of a popular, envelope-pushing design firm called Billy Blue Creative; it’s now affiliated with Torrens University. This school, with its “non-conformist yet commercially relevant” approach, offers an introductory-level Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration that can be continued toward a Bachelor’s of Interior Design.

Raffles College of Design—This Sydney-based school has partner campuses around the world, allowing students access to a wide variety of leading global design brands and influences. Its three-year Bachelor of Design in Interior Design degree includes study of space allocation, building services, traffic flow, furniture, fixtures and surface finishes.

Queensland University of Technology—This top-ranking university in Brisbane offers an internationally recognized three-year Bachelor of Design / Interior Architecture, where the teachers include award-winning leaders in the field. Students may combine this with another degree as well, to gain a broader range of skills and added career flexibility.

RMIT University—This Melbourne school offers interior design degrees at a range of levels involving various time commitments, including a Master of Design. Students work on client projects, learn from industry mentors and have their work recognized through scholarships and competitions.

International School of Colour and Design—Located in North Sydney, this school offers a two-year Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration that ensures students graduate with all the necessary skill sets like Photoshop, InDesign and CAD, along with hand-drafting technical skills.

Coco Republic Design School—This school, backed by a leading Australian home-design brand, offers a variety of highly flexible interior design study options, as well as convenient year-round start times for its classes.

University of New South Wales Sydney—Located in suburban Kensington, minutes from downtown Sydney, UNSW has been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and offers a four-year Bachelor of Interior Architecture degree. It focuses on the design of not just rooms but  structural elements such as walls, floors and staircases.  

10 Interior Design Schools in the U.K. You Need to Know About

Whether you’re looking to study interior design at the Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level, the U.K. is one of the best places to do it. The chance to experience historical and cutting-edge design firsthand in London, be surrounded in students and faculty from all corners of the globe, work placements at some of the best design companies in the world—for these and many other reasons, British colleges and universities offer an excellent starting point from which to launch your career in interior design. While many schools offer more general design degrees, here are some of the leaders when it comes to teaching the super-specific skills needed by interior designers—10 of the best interior design schools in the U.K.:

Royal College of Art—Ranked among the very top design schools in the world, its two-year, full-time interior design MA program challenges students to formulate their own rigorous, critically independent ideas.

Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London—Consistently counted among the top places to study interior design in the world, its BA Interior Design course centers around “collaborative, provocative and innovative design for future environments.”

The Interior Design School London—This school’s teaching approach is to mimic a working design studio, giving students a hands-on chance to learn the specialized skills and knowledge they’ll need to work as designers, from freehand to construction drawing, lighting to textiles.

Kingston University London—Ranked number two in the U.K. for design in the Guardian University League Tables 2019, its interior design BA program allows students to work in purpose-built design studios with access to a dedicated design library, while tailoring their projects around their specific interests.

The Glasgow School of Art—The BA Interior Design program welcomes only around 30 students per year to its specialized interiors studio housed within the art school; the program’s focused size allows students to deeply develop their individual interests with help from faculty.

University of Brighton—Top-ranked for design, Brighton offers an interdisciplinary interior design MA, during which students utilize individual design spaces, shared spacious top-lit studios, dedicated computer suites and photographic and workshop facilities.

Ravensbourne—Its BA in Interior Design and Environment Architectures offers a fusion of architecture and interior design, dealing specifically with public and private commercial spaces within an urban environment.

Middlesex University—Middlesex interior design degrees have been highly respected within the industry for more than 30 years; the BA program includes a full-year professional placement.

University of East London—Its MA and BA interior design programs include a focus on experiencing design through exploring the city itself and innovating new design solutions that will benefit East London’s local communities.

University of Westminster—Its interior design MA values research that seeks to challenge traditional methodologies, while offering students the chance to pursue their individual interests within interior design.

Ivy is Now Available in Canada, the UK, and Australia

Dear Ivy Designers and the Interior Design Community,

Since launching Ivy three years ago, Ivy has become the leading business and project management platform for design professionals in the United States, allowing designers to more effectively manage, organize, and grow their businesses.

With thousands of designers successfully using Ivy to manage their businesses in the U.S., we’re determined to transcend borders and make Ivy the business management solution for international design professionals as well. Per popular demand, Ivy has launched in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, expanding our ability to improve the workflow of designers around the world.

There are still designers out there running their businesses on pen and paper. Now, more than ever, design professionals are ready to change their habits and are open to explore the modern ways to run their businesses more productively and efficiently. We will focus on carefully learning the intricacies of each market and on cultivating local communities, while delivering the same quality of service, resources, events, and educational content we provide to our existing user base.

Taking one step at a time, we’ve come a long way

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three years since we first launched Ivy in the United States. We started off with just a handful of San Francisco-based designers who gave our product and development team insights into what features they liked, what features they didn’t like, and what features were clearly missing that were critical for their productivity. We’re eternally grateful for our pioneer group of users who paved the way – who were, and continue to be, so patient and generous with their time. Our group of early adopters very quickly turned into a vibrant professional network of thousands of firms who inspire us each and every day to improve our platform and service.

From day one, it’s been Ivy’s mission to provide tools and resources that strengthen business success and community for home professionals. In less than three years, Ivy now arms thousands of design firms with a modern solution to streamline and automate their workflow and business operations including procurement, client billing, vendor purchasing, and time tracking. Across the United States, design firms of all shapes and sizes are experiencing profound improvements in the way they are running their businesses in Ivy.

Ivy is a platform built for the way designers want to work today — from sourcing products online, to digitally collecting payments from clients, to virtually interacting with fellow design professionals. From well-seasoned designers in business for 20+ years to the new designer fresh out of school, professionals are thriving in Ivy.

A melting pot of exceptional service

Over the past few months, we’ve prioritized recruiting talented and dedicated people to join our team who have a thorough understanding of the home and remodeling industry. We looked everywhere from Niagara Falls, Sydney’s beautiful beaches, and even the banks of the River Thames. We’ve created new teams that are well-equipped to support design professionals, no matter where they are based.

What’s next?

We’re dedicated to bringing the power of Ivy to international waters. Our agile team has worked diligently to ensure that designers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia can access Ivy’s core functionalities. As we continue to scale, we promise to work relentlessly to ensure Ivy is the platform and community our users need it to be.

Much love & gratitude,
Alex Schinasi and Lee A. Rotenberg, Co-Founders of Ivy


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

 

Ivy Launches Room Boards: How Designers Prepare for Client Presentations

Per popular demand, Ivy has launched Room Boards, a tool that enables designers to conceptualize and put together products and services by room for new and existing clients. We built this tool in response to the design community’s need to visually and beautifully share product selections with their current and potential clients for consideration. Ivy’s Room Boards is our new solution to simplify the presentation preparation process for the designer while speeding up the product approval process for the client. Room Boards will provide designers using Ivy with the ability to streamline their workflow-having a place to ideate, share products, and turn approved products into billable documents while building a transparent and collaborative relationship with their clients.

Why Use Room Boards?

Room boards on Ivy

Room Boards allows designers to present a concept and product images with their current and potential clients by room. Current clients can approve or decline products directly in each Room Board, and designers can then turn the approved products into tearsheets, a complete proposal or an invoice.

Whether you’re working on full-home renovations or one-off room refreshers, Room Boards in Ivy gives designers the ability to bring design concepts to life in a way that’s far more effective than consolidating screenshots into a Powerpoint. With Ivy’s Room Boards, design firms of all sizes can seamlessly ideate and communicate their vision.

How Ivy Room Boards Work:

Create stunning rooms to present your concept and images pre-proposal

Introducing Room Boards: How Designers Present Concepts to Clients

Streamline the product selection process by allowing clients to approve or decline products or start discussions directly in the Room Board.

Introducing Room Boards: How Designers Present Concepts to Clients

Convert approved products into tear sheets, proposals or invoices.

With Room Boards, designers can now provide clients a better understanding of how all products will work together in a space. It creates a seamless path from the ideation phase to the procurement and accounting process which allows for easy payment collection on approved products.


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

15 Reasons to Start Your Own Interior Design Firm

 

Do you often think about whether you should start your own interior design firm? It’s easy to see what makes it such an appealing career—you could trade in that daily commute and/or unfulfilling office job and instead spend your days looking at beautiful furniture and fabrics, meeting with interesting clients ready to invest in great design, or networking at influential interior design shows. Of course, the reality of starting your own interior design business involves countless additional layers: figuring out what to charge, marketing your talents, developing a website and social media strategy, securing reliable subcontractors, dealing with indecisive clients, traveling to showrooms and staying on top of your accounts payable. The truth is, starting your own interior design business requires a whole lot of hard work and hustle (not to mention plenty of talent). Still suspect that it’s your professional calling? Here are 15 reasons you might be ready to start your own interior design firm.


You want the opposite of a desk job. If you much prefer being up and about all day, interior design could be for you. One minute you’re at a job site talking to a plumber, the next you’re standing with clients flipping through floor plans, then you’re off to showrooms for the afternoon.

You crave being creative, technical and a boss. As an interior designer running her own firm, you’ll dream up concepts, figure out how to convey and implement them, and also manage subcontractors, your own office staff, clients and budgets. This requires a diverse mix of skills, but if you’re multifaceted in your strengths and interests, it can be satisfying to find a way to combine them.

You’re great at spotting talent. Whether you’re looking for an inventive carpenter or an assistant who takes initiative, making smart hires is a huge part of starting a successful interior design firm.

You enjoy trade shows and events. Going beyond your computer screen to explore new trends and products in person is crucial when you run your own interior design firm, as is relationship-building with vendors outside of email.

Photo by Nick Glimenakis, Design by AHG Interiors

You know who your client is. Can you picture the exact type of person who’d love to hire you? Maybe you even have specific people in mind who you think would pay you for your design know-how. Before starting an interior design firm, you’ll need to know who your target customer is and what kind of budget they should have to make the work worth your time.

You’re great at marketing yourself. Once you know the client you’re after, you’ll need to figure out how to connect with her. A huge part of operating a successful interior design business is getting (and keeping) your name out there. If you want to start your own interior design firm, get ready to blog, put together a newsletter, advertise in local publications, post in local Facebook groups and collaborate with other creatives in your area.

You have a great portfolio. You won’t get far without professional-quality photos of completed projects that showcase your skill set and style. If you don’t have any (or enough), find a couple friends or family members who will let you redesign spaces for free but with full creative control—these projects can be your portfolio-starters and also help you launch your website and social.

You’re good at time management. Working for yourself means being ultra-efficient about how you divide up your days—and workdays probably won’t fall neatly within 9-to-5. It helps if you’re savvy at efficiently blocking out time to conquer tasks in batches, smart about scheduling appointments and willing to be flexible about when you can squeeze in extra work hours.

Photo by Nick Glimenakis, Design by AHG Interiors

You can sell an idea. Having a natural knack for color and pattern or spatial relationships is one thing. Convincing someone to buy into your ideas is another entirely. Not only will you need to market yourself to potential clients, often you’ll need to work to get clients to give your brilliant ideas a chance.

You’re the ultimate problem solver. From figuring out how to make a tricky space flow better to helping a home finally reflect the owner’s personality to dealing with different personalities among your staff and your subcontractors, an interior design firm owner is constantly untangling issues and working out problems.  

You know how to manage client expectations. Another challenge of starting your own interior design firm is making sure you get compensated for your work. You’ll need to set clear parameters around what’s included in each project and what will cost extra, being careful to avoid scope creep. If you’re ready to be all business when it comes to sticking to the contract, that’s great—while if you’re someone who often feels uncomfortable asserting yourself, managing client expectations is one area that could feel challenging for you.

You’re ready to handle the bookkeeping. Yes, you can hire a professional to help with this, but it’s important to have a working sense of where things stand on your balance sheet. Here’s a cheat sheet that’ll give you an idea of what goes into tracking the numbers behind an interior design business.

Photo by Nick Glimenakis, Design by AHG Interiors

You’re prepared to manage your online reputation. These days, starting your own interior design firm means getting serious about social media and SEO. As your business begins to grow, you’ll need to get used to regularly searching your company’s name to make sure reviews and mentions are positive, and respond proactively and effectively if they are not.

You’re ready to chase down your money. When you run your own interior design firm, it’s your job to keep the money flowing steadily through the pipeline. Interior design software like Ivy will help you stay on top of client invoices and expenses and follow up on them, but you’ll need to be ready to address any persistent problems that come up with getting paid.

You have new ideas and perspective to bring to the table. If you feel confident that you’d offer a fresh, unique perspective through starting your own interior design firm, that’s the most important reason of all to go for it.


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

6 Digital Marketing Tips Every Interior Designer Should Read

Whether you live to share photos of your latest interior design project or view all things digital as a tedious-but-necessary part of running a business, one thing’s for sure: Crafting and managing your company’s online presence is a huge part of building a successful interior design firm in 2019. Here are six aspects to stay especially focused on, according digital-marketing strategist Mackenzie Maher of Power Digital Marketing, who’s done webinars with Ivy on the topic.


Develop a consistent look across all your digital content.

This might be even more important than you already know: Ensuring brand consistency across sites and platforms can increase your revenue by an average of 23 percent, according to Maher. Especially for a designer, sticking to a well-defined aesthetic is the best way to stand out in a world of nonstop digital distractions and be memorable to potential clients. You should write up brand guidelines that clearly outline each and describe how they should be applied across different online materials or platforms. “In a saturated market where users scroll at light speed, you want content to be easily identified as uniquely yours,” Maher says. There are four key visual components to focus on: your logo, your color palette, your typography and your brand imagery.

Photo courtesy of CAROLYNLEONA

Decide how and where to apply your logo.

When it comes to your logo, you want to be sure it becomes recognizable to clients, which means it shouldn’t change color or size each time it’s applied. ”Despite what some people may think, it’s about a lot more than just color—it’s about how you put it to use and where,” Maher says. In your brand guidelines, include visual examples covering logo size and location as well as color variations that may be used.

Define a color palette for your brand.

As when you’re designing interiors, sticking to a clearly defined palette goes a long way toward creating a consistent look and feel. “Most brands choose four or fewer main colors to stick to throughout their creative content and don’t really stray too far from the hues in their logo,” Maher notes.

Photography by Michael Vangraham, Design by CAROLYNLEONA

Think about typography, too.

You can stick to one main typeface to keep things simple or add supporting ones that can be used in specific ways. “One guideline is to use a font for written content that’s different from what you use in your logo,” Maher says. You’ll want to outline in your brand guidelines exactly what each font should be used for: headlines, body text, captions, etc.

Decide on a certain vibe for your imagery.

As a designer, you probably have a natural instinct for what type of images feel right for your brand, but include an image section in your brand guidelines in case you have anyone else doing your digital marketing for you—and to help you stay consistent about what you’re putting out there. Include examples of images that fit well with your brand aesthetics and/or use aspirational examples from other brands.

Photography by Catherine Nguyen, Design by CAROLYNLEONA

Fine-tune your brand’s voice and tone.

Whether you’re writing a blog post or putting together an email newsletter, you should narrow down what you want your brand’s tone to sound like. “This is an often-overlooked aspect of your online presence, but it’s really a core pillar of the customer experience,” Maher says. “Your goal is to create content that connects with people and that builds relationships, so you want to make sure your voice reflects that.” Authenticity is key—you want to avoid sounding like you’re trying to hard. So is understanding voice versus tone. “You really only have one brand voice. It should always be the same,” Maher says. Your tone, on the other hand, can change depending on what you’re saying and who your audience is. For example, you might get a bit more casual and conversational in a blog post vs. a newsletter, which veers more straightforward in order to generate clicks.

Some of Maher’s general guidelines around brand voice:

Avoid too much interior design jargon—your voice should appeal to those outside the industry as well as those within it.

Use “we” language, not “me” language. Your audience will lose interest if you’re not trying to connect with them. For example, when talking about your challenge incorporating mixed prints into a living room, ask your audience to share how they’ve managed to mix X print with Y print.

Avoid “trying too hard” terms (FTW, lit).

Let your personality shine through.

Create a guide to keep your voice and tone consistent on social.

Finally, here are some questions that can help you fine-tune your brand voice:

What adjectives personify your brand voice and tone? Pick up to 10, then narrow them down to the best four. Use those as the core of your brand voice. Examples: colorful, energetic, friendly, playful, trustworthy, inspiring, fresh, bold, professional, detailed.

What are your values as a brand?

What makes you different as a brand?

What do/don’t you want others to say you?

How are you improving people’s lives and adding value?

Who are you creating this content for and how will it benefit them?

Another expert tip sheet that’ll help your bottom line: 8 Pro Tips for Organizing Your Interior Design Studio—and Your Precious Time


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

 

Behind the Design: Kerry Green Design

Behind the Design: Kerry Green, Kerry Green Design – Los Angeles, CA


How did you get where you are today?

Kerry Green: I began my career in New York City with Alan Wanzenberg Design. I worked with Alan for ten plus years and then in-house at Tiffany and Co. designing flagship stores. After my son was born, I moved to Atlanta and worked with Suzanne Kasler. I have recently moved to LA and launched my own design studio.

You’re based in Los Angeles…what’s the design scene like? Who are your favorite vendors, suppliers, and people of the trade?

KG: LA is great! The design community is open and friendly. I love being in a town where there are so many workrooms and craftspeople and fabulous showrooms.

Una Malan is a beautiful showroom in a charming garden courtyard. Una represents some of my favorite brands like Dmitriy and Co. and Hélène Aumont as well as many unique artisan lines like Matthew Fairbank.

Harbinger – I mean everyone loves Joe Lucas. He is talented, friendly, funny, approachable, did I say funny? His showroom has fantastic lines mixed with remarkable vintage finds.

Some of my favorites include Moore and Giles leather, Katie Ridder fabric, Diane Bergson fabric, and Lief Gallery who just moved to a new location. I have loved this shop from afar for so long. It is such a pleasure to shop in person.

Kerry Green Design

Photo by Dario Diovisalvi

What’s your business model?

KG: I create interiors in a very personalized, client-centered way. I like for each project to be the best expression of how my clients live and what they love…a true reflection of who they are. My job to show them things they never knew existed and mix things in an unexpected unique way. As Diana Vreeland said, “Give ‘em what they never knew they wanted.” I travel a ton and like to source items for my clients around the world. I am off to Sydney in a few weeks and London and Paris later in the year.  

On the financial side, I charge a design fee to start the project and a purchasing fee on all goods provided. I start the project with a high-low budget that shows clients a range per room of what we will spend. This allows them to make educated choices on where they want to spend money. If they fall in love with a rug that blows master bedroom budget, we can look for bedside tables that are less expensive and still stay on track.

Why did you choose Ivy as your software of choice for your business management needs?

KG: Ivy feels very current, fresh, and well thought out. I like the resources offered and the business community. Albert Hadley and his sense of always looking forward and seeing what the younger generations were doing has always inspired me. I think this applies to design, business, and life.

Kerry Green Design

Photo by Dario Diovisalvi

How has Ivy transformed your design business?

KG: My favorite Ivy story involves the Ivy Magazine and the Christopher Kennedy Compound Show House in Palm Springs. I was at my desk one morning discovering Ivy resources and reading an interview with Christopher Kennedy. I saw he was giving an Ivy sponsored panel talk that day, in 2 hours, down the street here in LA. It was a panel with Joe Lucas and Karyn Millet on the importance of photographing projects. Well, I got up, threw on a pretty dress, and went to hear that panel! After the talk, I introduced myself to Christopher and asked if I could be in his Show House. He very graciously gave me his card and suggested we keep in touch. So, I emailed him a few times to remind him I was very interested in being involved in his Show House. Guess what, a room opened up and he called to ask if I would design the entry!  

This tale has moral that Ivy inspires. When you go out there and meet people, listen to panels, and get involved with the design community, great things start to happen.

I am also using Rebecca Orlov of Orlov Design to design my web page. She’s great and yet another recourse I found through Ivy!

Tell us about your involvement with the Palm Springs Show House…

KG: I designed the entry to the 2019 Christopher Kennedy Compound Show House. I am forever grateful to Christopher for taking the risk on a LA newcomer. Designing the space allowed me to get to know so many great LA vendors. The designers in the Show House are really top notch. It is exciting to work around talented designers and establish relationships in a new town.

Kerry Green Design

Photo by Dario Diovisalvi

What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?

KG: The product sourcing and ability to allow clients to pay NOW via credit card.

What are the big Markets that you go to? Why do you think it’s so crucial to attend?

KG: I love Maison & Objet in Paris! As I grow my own design studio, I plan to attend more U.S. markets such as High Point Market. I also find attending events like WESTWEEK at the Pacific Design Center is a great way to keep up on what’s new. Sourcing and discovering new lines and designers is an important part of the service I provide my clients.

Kerry Green Design

Photo by Dario Diovisalvi

How does designing make you feel? What’s your business mantra? 

KG: The opportunity to create spaces that enrich my clients’ lives is so rewarding. From the flash of delight in a little girl’s eyes when she walks into her new bedroom to the smile of satisfaction on a Dad’s face as he plops down on the perfectly comfortable new family room sofa. These are the rewards of a job well done.

What’s your focus for 2019?

KG: Growing my LA client base. I am currently working on some fantastic East Coast projects but I would love to design more in my new hometown.

Kerry Green Design

Photo by Dario Diovisalvi


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

 

10 Ways to Run a More Profitable Design Business

As an interior designer, it can be hard to keep your eyes on your bottom line when you’re going nonstop—piecing together creative ideas, presenting them to clients, ordering and installing everything. That’s why it pays to pause once in a while and reconsider whether you’re doing everything you can to increase your profits. Here are some factors that can help make any interior design business be as profitable as possible; do a quick review and see which ones you might want to re-focus on in the coming months.  


1. Track your time.

Even when you’re not billing hourly, all of your working hours should be accounted for, to ensure you’re planning your days as efficiently as possible and staying on-task—and so you have an accurate sense of how long different types of projects are taking you (key to your pricing as your business grows). You could do this manually in a spreadsheet or plain-old notebook, but why would you when there are plenty of apps and other tech solutions that make time tracking easier to do and review? (Ivy’s time-tracking feature, for example—which also lets you handle time billing).

2. Waste less time.

If your time tracking reveals that you’re dragging your feet during certain tasks, batch these together and set aside a block of time to complete—say, you’ll sit and reply to all those non-urgent emails at 2 p.m. each day while you have your afternoon coffee, instead of focusing on them one by one all day long. Another example: You could pre-schedule three Instagram posts for the week instead of crafting them individually, so you can get in a groove and put them together faster.

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This business looks glamorous but little do you know the blood sweat and tears that go into it everyday l!! Especially on install days !! Even the smaller of installs requires a ton of work and labor ( loading truck, driving truck, unloading and unboxing, carrying up flights of stairs, and then installing) that only the strong will survive. Today we had the sweetest install for two kids rooms. Hope you followed along in our stories to see the “ glamorous” stuff 💓💓 #sisteractwb #progress . . . . #myoklstyle #apartmenttherapy #homewithrue #theeeverygirlathome #mynesthome #showemyourstyled #philadelphia #sodomino #myscoutandnimble #mytradhome #myhousebeautiful #hbcolor #hgtvhome #mybhg #smmakelifebeautiful #mainlineinteriordesign #mydomaine #luxurydesign #yourdecorstyle #luxuryhomes #luxuryrealestate #modernart #ruedaily #elledecor #houzz #design #designer #maketimefordesign

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3. Track your expenses

Like time, smaller business expenses can easily fly under the radar and go un-tracked. Yet keeping a record of the nitty-gritty details like fuel, picture-hanging hardware, lightbulbs, batteries is important—these add up. Some might be reimbursable, some eat into your profits—tracking them all will help give you a holistic sense of where money is going and there it could be saved. Here’s exactly how to track your expenses using Ivy—you can even turn an expense into a client invoice when needed.

4. Price your services right.

Not every potential client is quite ready to sign right on for full-service design. It pays to come up with set prices for various entry-level services and packages, like a color consult, designer-for-a-day or welcome-baby package. You can pitch these during client meetings when they feel appropriate, with the goal of moving the client up the rungs to full-service design down the line. For more ideas and guidance, check out our cheat sheet and webinar on how to price interior design services.

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BEHIND THE DESIGN // Paint is often one of the first things that needs to be done on a new build but is actually one of the last things we select when working on a full project. We always have a general idea upfront but typically use the tones + color variations in the finishes we select to nail down the final paint color ✨ Project: #fdavenuefour Photo: @jacksondesignsphoto

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5. Get familiar with your balance sheet.

Scared to even look at it too closely? Don’t just leave this to your accountant: Knowing how much of the money in your business account is actually yours to spend is key, whether you’re looking to invest in some new marketing efforts or are trying to eliminate wasteful spending. Don’t stress, our recent Ivy webinar will walk you through understanding your cash position and balance sheet.

6. Get your name out there.

Even if you’re just starting out and don’t have much marketing budget, there are so many ways to get your business noticed. Upgrade your Instagram feed by committing to post on a set schedule using effective hashtags. Learn how to take better photos for your grid. Pitch completed projects to magazines. Blog about interior design on your own website or as a guest on another site, or schedule time to finally update your portfolio and showcase your latest, greatest projects. Don’t wait for clients to find you, get out there and reach them.

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TOP IT OFF • We‘ve gotten all your messages and we hear ya, styling built-ins can be a HUGE challenge! Head over to CL stories for many of our favorite finds for a guaranteed perfect #shelfie as you head into your holiday weekend✨ Photographer @michaelvangraham Builder @brianrkemp Design @carolynleonadesign

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7. Outsource and delegate.

If there’s not enough time for you to focus on your big projects, consider whether it really pays for you to be tackling certain tasks, like bookkeeping or your social-media marketing. It might be worth hiring someone who can get these or other tasks done for much less money per hour than you’re currently billing clients. If you have an assistant, consider whether you should be allowing him/her to handle more responsibilities (being a control freak isn’t going to increase your bottom line!)

8. Organize your design studio.

A cluttered studio and desk leave your brain feeling scattered, so you’re not working as efficiently as possible—which eventually can affect your profits. Here are some ways interior designers organize their studios efficiently, plus pro tips on organizing your design studio with efficiency and profitability in mind.

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One of the best things about re-doing our home office was upgrading EVERYTHING—even the printer! Our new @CanonUSA MegaTank has already been a lifesaver, since we’ve been knee-deep in tax season over here. I’ve been using it to wirelessly print documents from my phone, then I sign and return them immediately using the MegaTank’s auto document feeder to scan and send! Plus a single bottle of black ink prints 6000 pages—which basically means I’m all set to print ‘til the 2029 tax season, ha! #CanonMegaTank #MegaTank #ad 📸 @monicawangphoto

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9. Invest in industry-specific software.

With endless apps and solutions available to help you with different aspects of your work, it’s common to can up with a patchwork system—but investing in professional interior design software will make your life so much simpler. Plus, it will pay for itself over time in increased profitability, thanks to features designed to simplify the exact day-to-day tasks and challenges you juggle.

10. Set new goals.

Even if your business has been chugging along nicely—especially if it has—now’s the time to brainstorm what it’ll take to level up. To get the inspiration flowing, here are some business goals interior designers have shared with us.  


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

 

From Hedge Funder to Hotel Designer: How Saar Zafrir Keeps Making His Big Interior-Design Ideas Happen

 

First he quit his job in finance and focused on renovating an apartment into a money-making short-term rental. Then he cashed out to buy a stake in a building he thought would make a great hotel. When Saar Zafrir stumbled upon an unexpected passion for interior design, he didn’t waste any time turning that into a career. With a diverse portfolio that now includes more than 50 hotels across Europe, he recently opened up to Ivy Magazine about his unique career path, even more unique design concepts, and his top three priorities for making any space feel five-star.


To start, could you share the backstory of how you transitioned from working in finance to being an interior designer—and then into designing hotels all over Europe?

Saar Zafrir: After 12 years of working in the capital market, I wanted to take a break and a year off to travel, surf and relax a bit. I had some money saved and I decided to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv, the city I lived in. The idea was to renovate it and rent it out. Because I had quit my work (a hedge fund I was a partner in), I thought that it would be nice to renovate the apartment by myself and not hire an interior designer. The moment I started to research, I felt like I was falling in love. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the computer and I started to explore the world of design. I learned Autocad/SketchUp from YouTube and bought all the design magazines and interior design books I could find.

After I finished my first project, I rented out the apartment as a short-term rental and the success was unreal. The apartment was rented at 90-percent occupancy at an average nightly rate of $160 USD (back then, that was a lot). I kept researching design on the internet and started to design for friends and family, for free and just for fun. In 2011, I found a beautiful building for sale in the center of Tel Aviv (today it is the Poli House Hotel). I called Liran Wizman (a good friend of mine) and I told him about this building that I thought we could convert into a hotel. He liked the idea and we arranged two more partners and bought the building. Liran Wizman today is one of the best hoteliers in Europe, an owner of W Hotel Amsterdam, Sir Hotels, Max Brown Hotels and more. I had to sell my apartment to have enough money to buy my part of the property. We bought the building and I was in charge of development, and we hired Karim Rashid to design the interior design of the hotel. During that development, I got even more into design and worked with a local interior designer on three projects in Germany that were owned by Liran Wizman. After a couple of months something went wrong between them and Liran asked me to finish the design by myself. For me, it was very scary, but I understood that this was the opportunity of my life. I took it and since then I have designed more than 50 hotels across Europe for the Wizman Group and many more.

Brown Beach House Croatia, Photo by Assaf Pinchuk

Brown Beach House Croatia, Photo by Assaf Pinchuk

Is there anything that helped you make that big leap into interior design—or maybe some advice you’d give designers who are just starting out in the field?

SA: I think the fact that I started with a private development helped a lot, and then the door that Liran opened for me—I was lucky. I would tell designers starting off in the field to study, explore and experience. The best way for me to study hospitality design was to visit the places I saw in magazines. It’s not enough to look at a picture, you need to feel a space in order to understand it. The most important thing for me in design is the flow, how all the elements come together and complete each other. You can’t see that in a frame.

Provocateur Berlin, Photo by Peter Langer

Provocateur Berlin, Photo by Peter Langer

How would you define your style and your point of view as a designer?

SA: It’s very difficult to say because each hotel has a different story and style, but I can definitely say that I like warm spaces. I am not a big fan of minimalism.

Provocateur Berlin, Photo by Peter Langer

Provocateur Berlin, Photo by Peter Langer

What is it that helps make the properties you design so memorable and unique? Are there certain colors, materials, etc. that you find yourself revisiting often?

SA: I am really trying to bring something different for each project. For example, in the Provocateur Hotel in Berlin, I created “Provocateur Mode”—a switch in each room that you can flick that dims the lights and plays video art along the walls, with beautiful music. We shot the video art during the construction work in the hotel. In Sir Savigny Berlin, the ground-floor concept was based on The Butcher, a very successful burger bar from Amsterdam—in each room, I installed a vintage intercom system that guests can use to order a burger direct to their room. In the Max Brown Hotel, also in Berlin, I installed a mini basketball hoop and monogrammed stuffed basketball in each room, and a record player to add another layer in the room, something playful.

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

When you’re initially coming up with a design concept, what are some of your very first steps in the brainstorming process? Do you have any favorite ways for keeping your ideas organized?

SA: For me, the design process starts and ends with layers. Each layer follows the layer before it. For example, when I start a project I fill in a kind of survey, starting from the macro to the micro. Location is the first and most important—country, city, neighborhood, street. The style of the building is second—I’ve never had the chance to build from the ground-up, I am really looking forward to that. Then, understanding who the guests are and the requirements of the client, whether it be a business hotel, a young or luxury vibe, etc. Then we start with the sense of arrival. For me, the first thing that the guest will see in the entrance of the hotel will influence their entire stay. That arrival moment is very important.

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

You manage projects on such a large scale—is there anything you think interior designers who primarily work on residential homes could learn from what you do?

SA: Yes, a great deal. Function should come before design, and there are three elements that need to be perfect:

Lighting: You need to have enough light in the space and when you want to relax, you need to be able to adjust it properly.

Bed: The average person spends 8 to 10 hours in bed per day, therefore the bed should be perfectly designed and comfortable.

Bathroom: The shower should have sufficient water pressure and the lighting should be warm and abundant (especially for doing your makeup and grooming).

In residential projects, these elements are even more important, since people are living there full-time, not as guests for two or three nights. It’s also very important that the layout of the space is designed well. Function before design.

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

Sir Savigny Berli, Photo by Steve Herud

If you had an unlimited budget for a project, what is one thing you know you’d include?

SA: Wow, good question. I think I would put a swimming pool on each balcony. I love swimming pools!


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.

 

The Designer Guide to Selecting a Quality Receiver

As the co-owner of a modern-day receiving & delivery business and the Head of Marketing & Operations for Design Shop Interiors / The Shop by DSI, I have a deep rooted 360° view of the interior design and furniture businesses.  

After years of working with designers on a regular basis, I’ve learned that the receiving industry continues to be a pain point for the interior design community. I’m sharing this guide, a love note to designers if you will, in an effort to strengthen the relationship between receivers and designers.  

Here’s a list for any designer – just starting or veterans – that can help improve your relationship with your receiver and the product/output you receive.  This guide could validate you have a good receiver, or, maybe complacency set in and it’s time to look around.

Written by Scott Jaworski


1. Visit your receiving warehouse and meet the team

-Give them the courtesy of a 24-hour notice, you’re not trying to “catch them”.

-Meeting face-to-face goes a long way in understanding personalities. Learn how you’ll work together when the pressure rises (it will!) and can even help answer some unknowns.

-Is everything covered? Ask the receiver if they can ensure all of their product always has a protective layer. Warehouse dust is a real thing! It’s very different than your home’s dust bunnies; a fine-layer of dust and it’s everywhere, no matter how much one cleans.

Note: Yes, we have a Dyson, shop vac and leaf blower all at our warehouse.

2. Ask about their organizational systems

-When you make the visit noted above, do things appear organized?  Can they clearly articulate their systems for tracking product? What about the paperwork?

-Bill Of Ladings (BOLs) are legally binding agreements; very important documents! Producing a signed and dated BOL is required if a claim is necessary. Receivers write notes about the condition of products received on this which is equally valuable.

-If you see that racks and products are not clearly labeled, BOLs are piled up on desks and not filed, or there’s no centralized intake location for deliveries, these are signs of a receiver to stay away from.

Note: We once informed a client that one of her products was damaged.  Fast forward approximately 6 weeks and a different employee reached out stating they submitted the claim, but it was declined due to time lapse.  She asked, “When did we let them know it was damaged?” Within 60 seconds I was able to look up who and the exact time (11:42 am) the notification was sent via our systems.

3. Make certain you’re aligned on definitions and expectations

-Especially inspections – what’s inspected, what isn’t and why?

-All items may not need to be inspected; this could save you money too.

Note: We believe rugs are best left in their original packaging.  If a client requests, we’ll open and inspect. If the packaging is torn, etc. we’ll pro-actively inspect.

4. Where are they located?

-Is it easy for you to get to (if local)?

-Does their warehouse have loading docks, roll-up doors, etc.

Note: Not all are required, IF the bullet above is True AND they have a forklift. Does it allow for big rigs?

Note: This is a non-negotiable – 53’ trucks need the ability to easily arrive, park (they could be there for hours pending delivery size) and leave.

5. Pricing models and transparency

I can’t say I’ve ever seen the same pricing model, but at a minimum, you and your client should know what you’re paying for. There are various pricing models including (but not limited to) per piece pricing, per sq. ft., the percentage of cost of product purchased, per truck, and more.

Note: our invoices have dedicated line-items for each applicable cost – receiving/inspecting, delivery/installation, storage, fuel, etc.

Don’t forget what goes into the job (there are many “behind the scenes” tasks that take time & manpower).

-Off-loading freight can take hours.  It’s not uncommon to receive 50+ pieces on one truck which can take 2-3hrs.

-Tracking rightful owner.  Receiving a single product with improper or no side marks can quickly burn 30 minutes.

*Tip – include your name or project name with Receiving Business Name on mailing address – this will ensure visibility to receiver.

-Uncrating, oversized items, multiple-boxes/crates per single piece – these can require multiple people and increased time.

*Note: we created a video that shows how it took 2 guys almost 30 minutes to inspect 1 console table.

-Rewrapping – a fair amount of packaging is one-time use.  This means it requires receivers use their own packaging material; which also comes at a cost. A case of tape can run from $65 – $90. One roll of stretch wrap (plastic) cane run from $20 – $25

-Loading the truck for safe transport – a full-house install can take a team of two 6-7 hours to properly load a vehicle.

-Then there’s the install itself, but the receivers’ job isn’t done yet…

-Removal and recycling of trash.

-Post-install, trash is loaded back in the truck, returned to the warehouse, transferred to a hydraulic dump trailer, driven to the municipality (the receiver pays per ton to dispose) to return back to the warehouse.

-The entire process can take 4-5 hours and the average install produces 300-600 pounds of trash that needs to be hauled.

6. What does the receivers fleet consist of?

-Do they own or rent their trucks?

Note: If they rent their trucks and you cancel last minute or require a last minute install you could pay more or they might not be able to deliver.

-Are they branded/wrapped?

Note: You’re offering a luxury service, the partners you align yourself with should carry this through.

-Are there various sized vehicles?

Note: Cost efficiency – if you have a small job and they have one large vehicle, you could be overpaying.  Alternately, if you have a large job and they have a small truck, you could be paying to rent another one.

7. Play the “what if game”

-Issues will occur, such as damaged goods discovered at the install. Provide use cases or scenarios to see how they would handle those.

Note: If you’re new to using receivers, ask your community or make a post in the Ivy Facebook group – designers will share their stories you can propose as use cases.

8. Ask about their network and relationships

-Not only is it important to have relationships with the freight carriers, but manufacturers and their reps.

-It is a fact that a receiver will have to call upon one of the aforementioned to help solve an issue.  Do they have the relationships in place to solve what could be one of your problems?

Note: we have a fridge of beverages, snacks and a bathroom we make available to all of our delivery/freight drivers – a Monster and M&Ms go a long way. On a serious note, due to my background, I have the luxury of knowing most of the manufacturer reps in Northern California and we are a team who help each other.

9. Damage; oh, my damage.

-How will your receiver help address/minimize damage?

Note: We have a network of trade professionals who come to our warehouse, provide free estimates and will return to facilitate the work.  Product never has to leave; designer is reimbursed by manufacturer and product returns to quality condition faster than filing a claim.

10. What are the receivers preferred methods and modes of communication?

-Do these align to your expectations? From a receiver’s perspective, the following expectations are reasonable: Phone, text, and email during office hours. 48-hours prior to install after hours communication may be required. Same-day notifications regarding a change in product status (received, inspection results, etc.). Photography should be a must.

-Does the receiver have one or many contacts; should you require something promptly?

Note: If you have to file a claim, you’ll be required to provide a fair amount of information – copy of BOL, picture(s) of box/product/tags, etc.  How and how quickly will you receive this information? Claims require a timely response.

Want to have some fun?  Here’s a bonus:

If you visit your receivers’ warehouse, open the fridge.  

-Are the drinks grouped and all labels facing forward?  

Note: Per Justin (my business partner) – “that’s when you know you have a real case of OCD on your hands”.  I plead guilty.

In summary, receiving is about accuracy. It’s about knowing (at all times) where a product is and its condition. The means by which this happens is what you’re seeking in all of your receiving partner assessments.

I hope you found this helpful & informational.  If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to email me directly at: scott@rightwayreceiving.com or follow us @RightWayReceiving


Ivy is the leading business management platform and community helping home professionals streamline their businesses by providing the technology, resources, and support they need to thrive. To learn more about Ivy, schedule a demo with an Ivy Guru who can show you how designers use Ivy to streamline their workflow and make more time for what they love, design.