Want to Decorate…as a Career? Things to Consider from a Pro

published Dec 20, 2016
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

You’ve decorated your own home. You’ve helped friends and family decorate their homes. Is 2017 the year you finally take some steps toward decorating as a career? There’s a ton to learn about the field of interior design and decorating (much more than can fit in a single post), but while you might be mulling over whether you should go back to school or take out a business loan, consider a few things first. Taylor Murphy runs his own successful design firm, but didn’t take the “typical” path to his career. Consider this a little push into learning more about the design direction in 2017.

Taylor shared some thoughts about his path to his design career. You may find some of it persuasive if you’ve been considering a design leap:

It’s all about the freedom:

“I have always been interested in the spaces people set up for their life. So many frivolous things are involved, but for some reason as humans we are attracted to objects and a lot of times place sentimental value on many of them. I have always, since I can remember, loved looking at objects that bring back various memories and I like to display them in my space. That’s what attracted me to interior design.

A personal space is definitely filled with those opportunities for nostalgia. A commercial space has an even larger possibility to create a faux nostalgia, which brings in the idea of imagination — which is always exciting. The possibilities are endless when running with a concept — and plus I feel like most of the time designers are given a “go wild” pass to allow them to think beyond what most people do in a space, and I like that freedom.”

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Don’t worry if your degree’s not in interior design:

“I have always been interested in design and have made art since I was little, but wanted to somehow make it a business. I went to school for fine art. I focused on photography and sculpture and I think that direction really lead me to think about space and a human’s interaction with objects in a different way than most interior designers.”

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

But definitely seek out real-world design experience where you can:

“I did not really think about doing interior design seriously until I worked for an interior designer in San Antonio. She really changed my thoughts on what a future in design could look like. After finishing school, I went to work for a fantastic designer in Austin known for many successful commercial jobs and residential projects. It taught me so much about the commercial world and that experience led me to breaking out on my own and starting my own studio.”

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Learn about the whole business (not just the fun parts):

“In my opinion, my approach is a bit more interactive and emotional. I would say take art classes, honestly. Color theory and how to lay different mediums and textures together gave me so much insight in how to design a space. I would also work for and in as many different positions you can find that will help you learn every area of the business. It is a business after all. Learn billing, deliver stuff, break down boxes, and learn how to dress yourself. First impressions are a thing — as much as our new society tries to tell you dressing up is passé. Do it, you’ll at least look like you know what you are doing.”

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

And most of all, remember this:

“I’ve received plenty of good advice — but the one I always come back to, is to trust yourself. Now, I’m not saying just go out there and trust anything that pops in your mind — because that’s setting yourself up for failure. I’m saying, after you have been educated in your field and constantly listen to your peers and mentors, you can begin to weigh your own opinions against what you have learned. Generally the right decision is your first choice, but there is so much doubt in the world you can easily feel derailed. Stick to it; I usually feel better with my decisions when I make them myself.

Thanks Taylor!

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

See more of Taylor’s style in his house tour → “Lived In” Contemporary Style & Color in Austin