Interior Design Niche – how to pick one and why it’s important

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Is it just me or does anyone else also feel like the word niche has been used a looooot lately on the Web? As much as you might be tired of hearing about it again and again, there is a good reason behind it being everywhere. Picking an interior design niche for your business helps to grow it faster, and being crystal clear about who you serve can benefit both you and your clients. Especially in the world we live in right now, where there are quite a lot of interior designers out there. You definitely want to stand out from that crowd!

You might be thinking ‘ok, Aleksandra, but if I pick a niche, am I not throwing away lots of other potential clients? Isn’t it better to do many different things so that there’s a higher chance of someone coming to me?’ Well, my dear, it might sound like you’re right. But you’re not a supermarket. You’re not a tomato soup so that everyone likes you. No, instead, you want to specialize in something specific. Think about it for a second. If you have a particular, let’s say, medical problem - you need to have your heart operated on. Who do you go to? A general practitioner? A brain surgeon? No, you go to someone who specializes in heart surgeries, right? And better still, to someone who already has past experience in performing such operations. 

Your clients think the same way. They have a specific problem they need resolving. And they need someone specifically experienced in solving their kind of problem.

You also want to pick a design niche to be able to do exactly what you like doing and what you are and feel good at. If you don’t like to design in the industrial style but love everything glamour, why deprive yourself of doing only this and instead forcing yourself to serve an industrial-loving client just because they came to you? If you choose one particular part of the vast subject that is interior design, you will not only get specific clients that want exactly what you give but you will also get to do your job gladly and with ease.

Have I convinced you that picking a niche for your interior design business is both important and beneficial? Great! Now let’s see how to actually pick one!

1. Think about your passions than can become your interior design niche.

I already mentioned it above but let me say it again. If there is something that you’re really passionate about - any particular style (glamour, mid-century, rustic…), or perhaps a certain type of industry (bakeries, cafes, coworking spaces…). If there is something that you can talk about for ages, scrolling down Pinterest, wiping the saliva from the corner of your mouth while looking for inspiration in that specific style… That can definitely be your niche! 

And it doesn’t stop there. Your marketing strategy can become better focused on what you do. Let’s say your niche is the 50s. Think of aaaalll the vintage fonts you might use on your website and social media. The colors in style with that era. You can even inspire yourself with movies, pictures, heck, why not music from that time? Doesn’t it already feel a lot easier than trying to do it all?

japandi style as an example of interior design niche
my japandi inspired interior

2. Who’s your ideal client?

You probably heard the word avatar. And I don’t mean the movie or the little picture we used to put on forums next to our posts (anyone still remembers forums? are they still a thing?). The latter is actually not far from what I mean. Your client avatar, or in other words, your ideal client persona is a ‘complete picture’ of them. To decide what your ideal client avatar is, you need to answer several questions, some of them being their age, gender, profession, interest, etc, etc.

Let’s say your ideal client is a woman in her forties:

  • What does she do for a living?
  • What is her style?
  • Does she seek luxury or coziness?
  • Does she have a family?
  • Is she a pet lover?

I could go on and on but I guess you got the gist. The more specific you are about the person you want to serve, the easier it will be to prepare an offer that would be an immediate sale for them. It can also help with your marketing, as you’d talk differently to a girl in her twenties who’s looking for some arrangement tips for her rental, than to a 50-year-old lawyer who needs to redesign his office. 

If this overwhelms you, don’t worry. If you can’t decide too specifically yet, just narrow it down as much as you can. Then, as you go further, you can review the avatar and specify it even more.

3. What you’re good at might be your interior design niche.

Do you make great 3D renderings? Or are your cardboard models glass-cabinet-worthy? If your hand-drawn sketches could hang in the Louvre but you feel like you should master 3ds max because people nowadays only want to see photorealistic images - stop. Use your skills to your advantage. You might be surprised how many people actually prefer one over the other. Showcase what you’re good at, and make it your earmark (not literally, though).

collage as an example of interior design niche
my collage as an alternative to 3D visualizations

4. What do you have experience in?

If you’re not a beginner, you probably already have a few projects in your portfolio. Looking at them and figuring out what worked well and what was problematic can help you decide on what kind of projects you’d like to work on in the future. Also, showing your potential clients that you already have some experience in solving their particular problem, might work to your advantage in gaining their trust.

Don’t worry if you’re only starting. As a part of starting your business, try to prepare a few, even simple, projects that you can put in your folder. It could also serve as a great exercise and prepare you for the real deal. Just be specific about what your forte could be and what you’d like to work on with your future clients. This way you will determine your interior design niche.

5. Find gaps in the market to pick the perfect niche.

If there are already several interior designers in your area, look at what they do and try to determine what’s missing in their offer. Or think about what could your community benefit from when it comes to design. Perhaps all the hairdressers' salons might do with a little makeover? Are there any flower shops that could definitely do better with their design? Do you know any new parents that might love to create a beautiful nursery for their kids?

You don’t have to necessarily think locally, but that could be a great start. If you’re ready to go further, what kind of services could you provide for a wider audience? What can be done online that you don’t really see done much yet? It might take some time to determine a niche based on the gap in the market, but a proper benchmark might do wonders for your business.

6. Take your time.

Unless you’re desperate, don’t rush anything. Don’t throw yourself at just anyone that comes your way. It might be tempting, especially in the beginning or if you’re going through a ‘dry season’. But doing a random project just because might have some consequences. If you do a great job, and I’m sure you will, your client might refer you to their friends or people with similar needs and you might end up being known for types of projects you don’t really want to do. Or the budget that you don’t really want to work with. So always think twice while responding to an inquiry.

After a while, your interior design niche might clarify itself in the projects you make.

Still feeling lost or unsure? Don’t worry, it will get clearer. Try to figure out as much as you can and go with it. It’s always possible to shift, pivot, or change along the way. Your niche doesn’t have to be forever so don’t pressure yourself to find ‘the perfect one’ for your business. Plus, you don’t have to strictly follow the suggestions I wrote about. If you can figure out something unique for yourself - all the better! In the end, it’s all about standing out from the crowd and being able to work the way you want to work. After all, that’s why you decided to become your own boss, am I right? 

If you would like to get some more specific ideas on what your niche could be, go ahead and grab this free list, where you will find several examples of the suggestions in the article.

or click here

hi there!

I'm Aleksandra, an interior architect with multinational experience, on a mission to help beginning or self-taught designers gain confidence and create systems that will help them bring their businesses to the next level.

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hi, I'm Aleksandra!

I will help you create an organized interior design business with systems and processes, and to gain confidence to bring your career to the next level.

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