Professional Practice for Interior Designers
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Professional Practice for Interior Designers

Christine M. Piotrowski

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eBook - ePub

Professional Practice for Interior Designers

Christine M. Piotrowski

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About This Book

The leading guide to the business practice of the interior design profession, updated to reflect the latest trends

For nearly thirty years, Professional Practice for Interior Designers has been a must-have resource for aspiring designers and practicing professionals. This revised and updated Sixth Edition continues to offer authoritative guidance related to the business of the interior design profession—from the basics to the latest topics and tools essential for planning, building, and maintaining a successful commercial or residential interior design business.

Filled with business tips and best practices, illustrative scenarios, and other pedagogical tools, this revised edition contains new chapters on interior design in the global environment, building client relationships, and online marketing communications. The author also includes updated information on web and social media marketing, branding, and prospecting for global projects. Recommended by the NCIDQ for exam preparation, this Sixth Edition is an invaluable resource for early career designers or those studying to enter the profession. This important book:

  • Contains three new chapters that focus on client relationships, marketing communications, and interior design in the global marketplace.
  • Includes new or updated sections that reflect the recent trends related to social media, branding, sustainable design practice and more
  • Offers invaluable pedagogical tools in every chapter, including chapter objectives and material relevant for the NCIDQ
  • Instructors have access to an Instructor's Manual through the book's companion website
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The Profession

Interior Design asa Profession

To be involved in the interior design profession requires learning much more than the use of color and how to arrange furniture. The body of knowledge and skills needed by professionals is extensive, and the work of the interior designer—regardless of specialty—is demanding as well as exciting. The professional interior designer's solutions have to meet functional needs of the client, as well as result in a pleasing environment. Of course, there are many other design, business, and professional issues that are part of the performance of the professional interior designer.
The profession of interior design is also a business. The management and efficient operations of a business are critical to the successful, ongoing life of an interior design practice. Thus, the professional practice of interior design requires attention to the business procedures, strategies, and protocols that any business must use for the business to be successful, profitable, and long lasting.
This chapter, to use a design metaphor, is a foundation of information important to the overall study of the profession and how it functions as a business.


Clients are very savvy today. They expect the designer to be knowledgeable and have the experience to do the job right. This savvy client expects more from practitioners than those who basically have a flair for color.
Of course, creativity is important as most projects involve creative problem solving. A successful interior design practitioner must combine creativity with his or her own business knowledge to lead to or continue success within the profession.
Knowledge and application of business practice concepts are essential. A designer who is bad at business subconsciously hints to clients that they can take advantage of the designer by arguing and second‐guessing the designer's decisions. Furthermore, if the firm is not successful as a business, if it does not sustain profitability, it makes no difference how creative the practitioners might be: The poorly run business is likely to fail.
Interior design is much more than a way to express creativity. It is an endeavor that must recognize the importance of ethical conduct. It is about being socially responsible and realizing that, in today's world, the interior design profession has a global reach. It's not just about “us” in the United States, it's about all of “us” on this planet. It is not a hobby; it is not the quick, do‐it‐yourself situation portrayed on cable TV.
Studying and applying business practices to the management of the firm helps the owner have a greater chance of achieving a profit. If the business owner is to allow his company to grow to the extent that he would like it to grow, the owner must understand all the aspects of professional practice.
As an employee, you will be held accountable for the ongoing success of an interior design firm. You have a responsibility to work productively and bill those hours. You also must work professionally and effectively to complete any assigned job tasks. You need to have some awareness of the expense it takes to operate a practice so that you do not waste company resources.
Students must master a basic understanding of business practices. Although a business practices class may come late in the curriculum, that placement does not make it any less important. I believe it is one of the two most important classes in a student's curriculum, even if it's not the most important to you individually. Without an understanding of the professional practice of interior design, as a student, emerging professional, or employee, your success will be limited.
Finally, many topics in this book are topics important to curriculum accreditation, certification granting organizations, licensing regulations, and professional associations. These groups recognize that business practices knowledge is critical to the overall education and training of an interior designer.
An interior design firm owner once told me that he wants to hire individuals who want his job. That doesn't happen without knowing how to run a business.


A profession is much more than the words in a definition provided by interested groups. According to one dictionary, a profession is “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.”1 Johnson writes, “As defined by sociologists, a profession is an occupation that is based on theoretical and practical knowledge and training in a particular field. … Professions tend to be credentialed and regulated in relation to certain standards of performance and ethics, which makes them more autonomous and independent than other occupations.”2
Some argue that interior design is not really a profession. This has often occurred when discussions with state legislatures concerning regulation of interior design or use of the title “interior designer” take place. Yet, the interior design profession meets the standards set for defining a profession.
If the measure of a profession involves the criteria offered by the preceding material, then interior design is a profession that has evolved and continues to evolve. Gordon Marshall writes, “A profession includes some central regulatory body to ensure the standard of performance of individual members; a code of conduct; careful management of knowledge in relation to the expertise which constitutes the basis of the profession's activities; and lastly, control of number, selection, and training of new entrants.”3
A professional does not emerge merely as a consequence of learning the technical principles required in the profession. Becoming a professional also requires an attitude of dedicated commitment to the work one does and to the advancement of the profession. Understanding what it takes to organize and maintain an interior design practice follows an understanding of the roots and contemporary concerns of the profession. In the 21st century, having talent as a designer is not enough to survive the ups and downs of the economic roller coaster.

Table of contents

Citation styles for Professional Practice for Interior Designers
APA 6 Citation
Piotrowski, C. (2020). Professional Practice for Interior Designers (6th ed.). Wiley. Retrieved from (Original work published 2020)
Chicago Citation
Piotrowski, Christine. (2020) 2020. Professional Practice for Interior Designers. 6th ed. Wiley.
Harvard Citation
Piotrowski, C. (2020) Professional Practice for Interior Designers. 6th edn. Wiley. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Piotrowski, Christine. Professional Practice for Interior Designers. 6th ed. Wiley, 2020. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.