A quick Google search or a glance at a growing number of shows on television will show that do-it-yourself interior design is booming. From blogs to Pinterest, Youtube to commercial TV stars, the realm of DIY designers is exploding.
In years gone by, avid DIYers would invite neighbours into their homes to show off their latest installation or family project. Now, people around the world invite cameras into their homes, splashing their ideas and projects across computer and television screens around the world, creating an innovative niche community. Beyond that, this growing group shares everything from trade secrets to new trends to bargain shopping ideas. DIYers are often generous folk who aim to get the best bang for their buck in any way they can and are not shy about sharing their knowledge.
While this may make for a very pleasant community, little light has been shed on the effects this increase in untrained design gurus is having on the professional interior design sector.
In a post-GFC era, when the interior design industry is already extremely competitive, it may appear that cutting into an already tight circle of designers would have a huge negative impact on industry professionals. There also the perception that if the untrained designers can meet their own design needs, then professional interior designers will become obsolete or, at the very least, see demand for their services substantially decreased.
At present, however, this is largely proving not to be the case.
While DIY decorators and designers are expanding the horizons for untrained practices, they face distinct limitations. From a functional standpoint, untrained amateurs often cannot achieve the same results as professionals. More importantly, from a legal standpoint, there are certain tasks that must, by law, be undertaken by a registered professional.
At a time when interior designers have shed the at-times dismissive ‘decorator’ label, a new batch of up-and-comers is willing to bear the title. While there may be a savvy few who enter into the realm of interior architecture and gain an understanding of the psychology behind design, this sector remains monopolised by trained professionals, leaving DIYers to stick to more aesthetically-based pursuits.
That is in not to downgrade the talent of these unregistered and formally untrained designers, but certainly in the trades, there are still many tasks that need to be performed with a strong basis of training, understanding and education.
In fact, instead of causing major conflict between interior designers and their DIY counterparts, the boom in DIY design has brought interior design into constant public focus. With this increased exposure, consumers are being encouraged more than ever to follow interior design trends and seek out ways to develop interior spaces to reflect themselves. With this being the case, a positive result can even act as a very modern form of free advertisement for interior designers.
With interior design in such focus now, professionals are actually able to further develop the industry and their understanding thereof in a communal environment that is receptive to ideas, new trends and innovation.