How To Create Your Interior Design Portfolio

Need to create your interior design portfolio to get clients to hire you, but you don’t have any real client work to show off yet?

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What can you do then to create your interior design portfolio?

Interior Design Portfolio Idea #1: Use Your School Projects

If you went to school, you can show off your projects that you're proud of and would appeal to your ideal clients.

Interior Design Portfolio Idea #2: Create Fake Clients

Make up a client, call him Dylan McKay and do work for him. Dylan McKay needs a bedroom decorated so he can rekindle his romance with Brenda.  Maybe you're a fan of "Mad Men" so you create a swinging bachelor pad for Don Draper. 

Creating fake clients and also placing importance on your signature design process will make your life easier. You'll know what you need every step of the way, be able to work out the kinks and have something to show for it, too. If you want to run through a project with me, check out my course "Create eDesign Presentations + Packages".

Interior Design Portfolio Idea #3: Incentivize Past Clients

On the other side of the coin and you're working as an online interior designer I would have to say the biggest problem I had with my design business was getting images of completed rooms to add to my interior design portfolio. And this is the biggest problem with any design service. People procrastinate. So, when you have given them their finished design, paint color palette or whatever it may be, know that they aren’t going to finish their project tomorrow.

People have busy lives and sometimes their budgets for the room design trickle in. So finishing the room will take your clients some time. With that, you will have to incentivize them to get them moving to sending you pictures that you can add to your portfolio.

To get them to send you finished pictures of the space, offer them a discount off a future design or a free small gift. Don’t go crazy like offer them a $100 lamp, but make it something they would like. It’s just like the testimonials when I offer a Starbucks gift card, the testimonial comes in short order. Be creative and put yourself in their shoes.

Interior Design Portfolio Idea #4: Show Off The Design Presentations

ou can present the designs you have created for your clients. Remember to leave off the pertinent info of where to buy items (as it would be unfair to your client). Remember these designs are also great to create blog posts about what problem your client had and how you solved it.

Interior Design Portfolio Idea #5: Only Showcase The Kind Of Work You Want To Do

Finally, put the work YOU WANT TO BE DOING into your portfolio. I did a project called "Devils Den" which was a murder mystery B&B. I didn't foresee working with clients who were into the creepy vibe, so I didn't feature that on my portfolio.

If you designed something in the modern style, but you actually hate modern, don't show it in your portfolio. Prospects will see that and want it. If you don't want to offer it, don't show it. 

Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.