The steady growth of the commercial interior design industry has meant that design firms are getting more opportunities to express their philosophies through their clients’ projects. Nonetheless, commercial interior designers still face a number of challenges that can get in the way of building a successful reputation. How designers handle and maneuver their way around these challenges frames their design personality and how they’re seen in the market.


Since the dawn of the art and design field, young professionals have been asked to supply their creative property at a fraction of the cost that its worth (exploitation?).

In the past, this was because it was so easy for a client to put a price tag on something that’s subjective. Often, clients didn’t understand the emotional or physical labor that went into creating a concept... unfortunately many still don’t.

Now, the harrowing tale returns in a new form that baffles even the most experienced of interior designers. As the field grows more competitive every day, design firms are struggling to keep costs down, attract new potential clients and retain existing ones. But how do they reach the desired level of budget-friendliness without compromising on the value of their creativity?


Just like accountants, teachers and doctors, creatives have a skill that they rely on for their livelihood. Some third party consumers and clients have a warped belief that creative content, whether in the form of design, graphics or artwork, holds a lower value than skills that can be measured objectively.

Designers know how much effort it takes to understand a client and create a customized product that aligns with their needs. Not to mention, all the trial and error that goes into that process.

One way young designers are tackling this is by developing proper communication techniques that help them articulate their rates, fees and requirements to clients.


No matter how much joy it brings a person, to work on a project and design a spatial masterpiece, creatives need to eat too! Just like any other profession, making money should be the basis of every venture. Yet, clients tend to demand free work as ‘part of the proposal’ e.g. provide the design for free and we’ll pay you to manage the build/fit-out or vice versa. So where does one draw the line and demand rightful compensation for their creative property?


One of the ways to introduce a fee to clients is to provide a specific service for free, after which all progressions cost a fixed fee. Make sure to deliver high quality work that convinces clients to demand more.


One of the advantages of being creative is that you’re motivated by challenges. However, monetary compensation also plays a role in keeping you motivated and productive. Working for free can impact your dedication to work and accept new challenges.

Accepting new tasks will help you build an impressive portfolio but for that, you need to feel driven towards leveraging your full potential.

Although things are changing for the better with more clients understanding that great creative work doesn’t come for free, designers have a long way to go before the value of their effort is fully understood.

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