• Jen Nickel

What I hate about interior design

Um... yes, I'm a designer

I've always been drawn to design. As a kid, I loved to try different furniture arrangements in my room to see which one worked best. I would organize and re-organize my bookshelf with all my favourite things. And I was thrilled when my mom would let me help with picking paint colours and even let me help with the painting. Seeing the transformation a simple change of colour can make was, and still it, one of my favourite things! My love for puzzles, knack for spatial visualization, and enjoyment of problem solving seemed to naturally translate to a career in interior design.

I'm drawn to the challenge of design problems, and finding smart, functional solutions to create a beautiful spaces that improve the way we live and feel when we're in them.

Throughout my schooling for interior design, I entertained lots of different ideas of jobs I would love to pursue, but one thing I never thought I would do is run my own business. I thought I wasn't the entrepreneur type, and assumed it was something that I wasn't capable of doing. It would be easier and safer to find a stable job working for someone else. But sometimes God has different plans, so here I am! Since making this jump to going on my own, I've done a lot of learning about running a business - different systems in scheduling and organizing projects, the importance of branding and defining a target market, methods of pricing services and managing finances. I've been researching, listening to podcasts, and looking to others in the design industry. And though I've taken in lots of valuable information, there's one thing I've acquired that I wasn't anticipating: a distaste for the design industry.


What I hate about the design world


The more I researched and listened to podcasts about the business of interior design and maximizing your profits by working toward larger and more luxurious projects, selling goods with the most profitable margins, and including manicures as a necessary business expense to create the best first impression, the more I began to hate the culture of interior design. I kept thinking, "this isn't me, and I don't want to be a part of this world" I hate the commercialism of the bigger and better lifestyle, the bottom line always being centered on money, and the superficiality of looking the part. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely believe good design work is valuable, that a profitable design business should diversify revenue streams, and it is important to express confidence and professionalism as a business owner. But I also believe in making better use of the resources and space we have, evaluating the bottom line in terms of social justice and sustainability, and prioritizing honesty and vulnerability. I'm not perfect, and you won't always see these values expressed in my own lifestyle or work. It's easy for me to get caught in the trap of going with the norm and feeding into commercialism and superficiality. But I want to make steps to move in a better direction, and encourage others in their journey too. I want to redefine interior design to be less about stuff and status, and more about smart, holistic solutions that improve the way we live and feel in our spaces, while creating a positive effect on the world as a whole. That's the design that I love.

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