My whole life I had wanted to be an interior decorator. I love to draw and paint and rearrange my room. I excelled in art and design classes in high school, and of course studied design and art in college. My degree in fine arts included courses in photography, digital design, and so on, but my true passion had always been interior design. I loved picking out color schemes, making mock up boards of the colors and furniture I liked for any given room, and providing advice to friends and family about what kinds of furniture, paint, and other decor they should put in their homes.
Right out of college I was hired as a junior designer at a firm where I had interned the previous summer. While before I had been getting coffee and answering phones, and only occasionally getting to sketch or put together design boards, now I was designing full time. One of our regular clients was a real estate firm who used our designers to help stage homes for selling, and most of the designers at the firm hated doing that particular work so they rotated off and on that job. As a brand new designer, that was my first job, and I actually ended up loving it. Part of what made it challenging was most of the time I had to work with what people already had in their homes. Additionally, if they did agree they needed something like new window treatments, they did not want to spend much money on it since they were on their way out of the house.
I grew to love that job and worked on it almost full time. I would advise on paint colors, helped pick out Hunter Douglas shutters, and counseled clients on whether they should refinish their hardwood floors or leave them for the next person to buy the home. Frequently the choice came down to whether or not the house would sell without them taking any of my recommendations. Some clients, particularly those who still lived in the house while showing it, absolutely refused to change the layout, the paint, or get new window treatments. Those clients inevitably had a harder time showing their homes, and they sat on the market for considerably longer than those that let me have free reign over moving their furniture or suggesting new paint colors.
Nearly every client balked at major renovations, such as upgrading tile or adding hardwood floors, and most of them could get away without doing those things. I provided suggestions for both how to get your home to sell, and how to get your home to sell for more, and those upgrades tended to inform the latter of the two. Nothing sells a home quite like a brand new kitchen floor and counters, or appliances, but not everyone can afford those changes either. So for those who wanted my help but could not afford big changes, we stuck with paint, blinds, and rearranging furniture and lighting. It still can go a long way without too much money being spent.