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Choosing a Specialism

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Have you decided on your interior design specialism? We explore the possibilities.

Interior design is a varied sector, and many designers find that after working for a while they fall into certain specialisms. Other designers may have a clear idea from the outset of their career of the area they would like to concentrate on, and others use their backgrounds to inform their practices areas of expertise. Designers develop skills and interests along the way through further education or the requirements of a project, and some pivot mid-career.

The world of interior design incorporates all the spaces that humans inhabit and all the accoutrements that fill those spaces. The major areas can be defined as ‘residential’ and ‘commercial’ but there are a myriad of other sub-sectors and areas of knowledge too, with some designers specialising in more than one.

Having a specialism can help a designer to attract a certain clientele and assist their practice in standing out from the crowd in the tender process.

Here are some of the areas a designer can market themselves as having expert knowledge in:

  • Art expert
  • Antiques expert
  • Designing for Sustainability
  • Retrofit Design
  • Designing for Wellness and Wellbeing (gymnasium, Health Spa, Swimming Pool)
  • Designing with Ethical Sourcing
  • Designing for Healthcare (Mental Health, Care homes, Dementia, Disability)
  • Designing for Entertainment (Theatre, Night Clubs)
  • Designing for Transportation (Yacht, Air Craft)
  • Designing for Public Buildings (School, Library, Court room)
  • Designing for Exhibition (Trade show, Museum)
  • Designing for Leisure (Cinema, Bowling Alley)
  • Designing for the Workplace (office, Shared space, Meeting room)
  • Designing for Hospitality (Hotel, Restaurant, Bar)
  • Designing for Places of Worship
  • Designing for Retail
  • Biophilic Design
  • Designing for Children's Bedrooms
  • Designing for Air BnB
  • Designing for Heritage/Historical Buildings
  • Kitchen Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Project management
  • Smart home / Integrated Techonology
  • Textiles
  • Upcycling/Repurposing Furniture
  • Vegan Design
  • Wallpaper
  • Bathroom Design
  • Colour expert
  • Garden Design

It might be useful to read our article on Setting up on your own vs Working for a practice to help guide you in your future plans. 

If you are currently working in a specialism and would like to raise your profile in the industry, please contact us at, and remember to include a headshot and biography.