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How to update your interior design skills in 2023

Learn how to update and improve your interior design and decorating skills in 7 steps.

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January 13, 2023

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Interior designers’ middle name is innovation. While the field may be archaic and old school in certain ways (and we’re doing something about that!), the creative development of interior and furniture designers is the name of the game.

Every year, new ideas, trends and tools erupt into the scene, changing everything that came before it. Sketches have been somewhat replaced by renders and 3D models, traditional showroom sourcing with marketplace browsing… And sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

In this article, we’ll be discussing your career checklist for 2023, and where we think some refreshing couldn’t hurt. Consider this our 2023 goals for interior designers everywhere. If you’d like to take on this challenge, join our community of interior designers to inspire you!

01. Learn how to let technology help you

In creative spheres, there is a founded fear of AI and technology replacing what one does. However, that possibility is far into the future, and for now technology can become more of an aid than an enemy. Here are some tools we think could benefit you:

  • Chat GPT. This online tool allows you to ask AI how to do certain things in a chat format. The model scours the web, and comes back with relevant answers. For example, you could ask Chat GPT: “Could you write an event invitation for Friday March 3rd?”. Then, you can refine the result by saying “Could you make the invite more fun?”.  This will allow you to create easy templates to do simple things and streamline your processes, or at least give you a base to work off of. 
  • Interior AI. Upload an image of a room you want to renovate or redesign, select a style, and allow Interior AI to render some images. These can be used as references, or as inspirations for more stylised renders or sketches.
  • Foyr. Go from a floor plan to a finished render in 2hrs with this technology. If you’re a bit cautious of trying out something new, don’t worry: the first 14 days are free, and there are dozens of videos to guide your progress.
  • Portaire. If you’re struggling with spreadsheets that can’t capture images and make version control difficult, Portaire’s the platform for you. In a few clicks, you can import products, source products from vetted suppliers, and create and share schedules. Also, the technology gap is bridged: all new members are personally onboarded via a Zoom call.

02. Brush up your business skills

Interior designers are not taught how to be business owners at university, yet here they are! If you have some time, improving your financial literacy skills will be a tremendous advantage as your studio and work develops. Udemy and LinkedIn have great courses at affordable prices. If you’d like us to create a course on this, don’t hesitate to let us know – it’s in our roadmap!

03. Engage with up-and-coming designers, suppliers and trends

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut being an interior designer. You end up doing similar things because they fit your existing portfolio of work, working with the same suppliers and seeing the same designers over and over again. But getting outside of your comfort zone is key to refresh and inspire us. You can do this by:

  • Checking out your favourite Instagram and Pinterest accounts’ “followed” section. 
  • Browsing AD’s Top 100.
  • Mentoring younger interior designers and asking them questions.
  • Subscribing to our newsletter for weekly fresh interiors content and trend reports.

04. Seek out different inspiration sources

Improving your designing skills normally comes out of trying new things. To do so, social media and traditional publications are all well and good, but sometimes you need something so outside your “normal” to get you into an inspired headspace. We recommend:

  • Watching new films. Scifi and historical have amazing costuming and setting that might get you in the right mood.
  • Going to museums. They’ll have artefacts and art you probably haven’t seen before.
  • Visiting public buildings. Churches, libraries, parliament buildings and old theatres are amazing sources of architectural inspiration.
  • Buying vintage publications. Looking back is a great way to look forward. If you need proof, just look at the resurgence of the conversation pit!
  • Checking out suppliers’ lifestyle images. Suppliers spend copious amounts of money photographing their products, and more often than not the results are amazing. Use them to your advantage.

05. Attend trade shows and events

If you want to be cutting edge and figure out the necessary skills for a 2023 studio, trade shows are the place to be. Not only do they have incredible up-and-coming and established suppliers; they also host events with interior designers, constructors, brand and project managers, architects, and many, many more. If you’d like to check out the best ones, click here.

06. Connect with other interior designers

Upskilling and innovation can be found in community. Whether it’s figuring out the best virtual interior design assistant, or the most optimised storage process, our community has talked about it. Via our Slack chat, you can ask all interior design and architecture-related questions to a group of people passionate about the topic, and hear from us about the latest design tech.

07. Return to your creative roots

Sometimes, skill gaps fade as we do repetitive work. To rediscover your areas of weakness, and so work on them to improve and grow your talent, try creating imaginary concepts and creating for the sake of creation. Design might be your work, but hopefully it is also your passion, so make sure to reconnect with the reasons why you set out to do this job.

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