Join newsletter
Learn

How to Find an Interior Design Mentor

interior design

An interior design mentor: your fast-track ticket to success!

Words by 

Sophia Angel Lou Quiachon

Published on 

October 10, 2023

right interior design mentor, interior design mentor, interior design mentorship programmes, what is an interior design mentor, responsibilities of an interior design mentor, benefits of an interior design mentorship, why you should get an interior design mentor, factors to consider when choosing a mentor, finding the perfect mentor, one-on-one interior design mentoring, one-on-one mentorship programme, private mentorship, private interior design mentors.

Whether you're new to the world of interior design, or are looking to take your career to the next level, an interior design mentor can help make your dreams a reality. Interior design mentors are established industry experts, who are willing to share their expertise to help early-career interior designers to navigate the complexities of the interior design industry.

It is important that interior design mentees and mentors are a good match. You will want to work with a mentor who is passionate, experienced in your areas of interest, and who you connect with on a personal level.

To help you in your quest for the perfect interior design mentor, we have created this guide to finding a mentor that suits your needs and compiled list of digital platforms pairing aspiring interior designer with skilled industry professionals.

What is an interior design mentor?

Interior design mentors are experienced interior designers who help budding designer start their career or take the next step in their interior design journey.

The responsibilities of an interior design mentor vary depending on your needs. They can help you find a job, start your interior design firm, connect with other professionals, or solve re-occurring issues in your business.  In addition, interior design mentors can also serve as your sounding board and advisor to discuss your ideas, problems, and frustrations.

Benefits of an interior design mentorship

Having a mentor will help you become the best interior designer you can be. An interior design mentor is not there to tell you what to do and dictate your business, but rather to support you in your own journey and steer you and your business in the right direction. Here are out top three reasons to partner with an interior design mentor:

Develop your skills

A mentor can help fill the gaps in your existing design knowledge and develop your soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and time management. Your mentor will provide you with honest feedback to ensure you are always developing.

Stay on track

An interior design mentor can help you stay motivated in achieving your goals. They're a source of guidance and support during times of difficulty, especially when you're experiencing creative block or other challenges.

Expand your network

A mentor can connect you to other professionals in the interior design industry, help you build relationships, and explore new opportunities. They can also recommend networking events that you can attend to further expand your network.

What to consider when choosing an interior design mentor

There are an abundance of qualified interior design mentors, but not all of them will be a perfect fit for you. Choosing a mentor is an important decision, here are four things to consider:

Specialisation and expertise

If you're looking to specialise in a certain area of interior design, it makes sense for your interior design mentor to also have experience in this niche. A mentor can provide you with invaluable information that can only be gained through experience. They'll also know what type of risks you may face and will help mitigate those circumstances before any real damage is caused.

Reputation

A good mentor will have a proven track record with positive feedback from previous mentees. This will help you determine whether you should invest your time in them or not. Ask yourself the following questions while running a quick background check:

  • Have they mentored a now-established interior designer?
  • Have they maintained a positive relationship with previous mentees?
  • Do they have a positive reputation in the interior design industry?

Availability

If both expertise and reputation get the green flag, then it's time to check their availability. You and your mentor need to work to the same schedule, otherwise it will affect the frequency of your interactions.

Set an ideal schedule that works for both of you - could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. This way, you can maintain consistency and make the most out of the mentorship.

Compatibility

To foster a healthy mentor-mentee relationship, you need to make sure that you enjoy the interactions with your mentor. You shouldn't feel intimidated, scared, and above all, discouraged. Rather, it should be a positive learning experience where you can confidently share your interior design work, ask questions, and remain motivated.

Top interior design mentorship platforms

Interior design mentors can be found anywhere. It is always good idea to reach out to interior designers you admire directly and ask them if this is a service they have considered providing. However, there are also specific platforms and programmes set up to make it easier to find your dream interior design mentor.

Built by Us

Built by Us is on a mission to increase the diverse hiring rate of the interior design industry. They support underrepresented groups in building their early-stage design careers. Built by Us have mentorships available for different career levels:

  • BUILD. A mentorship programme for budding interior designers who want to look for a new job, start an apprenticeship, or gain field experience.
  • FLUID. A flexible mentorship programme for existing designers looking to scale their business and enhance skills.

Explore mentorships with Built by Us.

Creative Mentor Network

The goal of the Creative Mentor Network is to create a more accessible future for creatives from lower socio-economic backgrounds. They support struggling new designers with one-to-one interior design mentoring with trained field experts who know exactly what you need.

Explore mentorships with the Creative Mentor Network.

SBID Mentoring

If you're a student member of the Society of British & International Interior Design (SBID), you can't miss the SBID Mentorship program. SBID Mentoring is a treasure trove of opportunities for interior design students who want to get ahead of their peers. Here, you can join design training, earn university recognitions, and explore student competitions to help construct a solid reputation.

Explore mentorships with SBID.

IIDA Student Mentoring Program

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) also offers an exclusive and dynamic mentorship program for IIDA students. In this program, you 'shadow' a professional for one day and experience what it's like to officially become an interior designer. You're given all the tools you need to get started. Plus, you get to connect with established firms and professionals as well as receive feedback from your mentor.

Explore mentorships with IIDA Student Mentorship Programme.

Private Interior Design Mentors

There are a huge number of established interior designers who offer private mentoring for early-career interior designers.  Unlike the prior programmes, private mentors offer more tailored solutions and spend more time and effort working towards your goals.

Renowned interior designers who offer private mentorship:

  • Melissa Lunardon. Learn how to transition from full-time employee to self-employed.
  • Jo Chrobak. Discover how to start your own interior design business unconventionally.
  • Veronica Solomon. Navigate the everyday challenges of being an interior designer effectively.

The takeaway

An interior design mentorship is a great way to enhance your skillset, learn the ropes of the interior design business and build your professional network.

When looking for an interior design mentor, be sure to consider how you align both professional and personally. An interior design mentorship can be a mutually beneficial partnership for mentee and mentor when the pairing is right.

Visualist is a software empowering creative professionals to work, earn and scale their businesses. Learn more here.

Up next in your reading list

How to Build an Interior Design Portfolio From Scratch

Megan Hill

July 17, 2024

interior design

Do I Need a Degree to Become an Interior Designer?

Lyden Claire Killip

July 17, 2024

interior design

Short Courses for Interior Design Entrepreneurs

Sophia Angel Lou Quiachon

July 17, 2024

business admin

marketing

client communication

interior design