1. Start young and see what excites you
I had a dolls’ house as a child. I decorated it, furnished it and even put wallpaper up, so I sort of started interior design at quite a young age for some small, inanimate clients!
We moved home when I was about eight years old. My parents bought a dilapidated old school and then spent the next few years doing it up. We basically lived on a building site, and I got to see the whole thing stripped back to the bare bones. I found it really exciting and I think that experience probably sparked my initial interest in interior design.
2.Believe in yourself
I left school after my O-levels, and then I did a year of retakes because I did so badly. It is so important to believe in yourself, and tell yourself that it is going to be ok.
I failed at school and not going to university meant that I wasn’t particularly confident when I started out and I didn’t feel great about myself then. I was quite badly dyslexic and everything was a bit of a struggle, apart from the arts. Reading, writing and spelling were all a bit tricky.
I always loved designing things. With anything in life that you want to do, if it interests you and you spend enough time doing it, you will learn it. You just have to care enough about it to try.
3. Practise your maths, it’s not all choosing lovely curtains
I think it is very competitive now. I would always encourage people to stay in education for as long as they can, really. I think it shows staying power, demonstrates a certain seriousness about things and allows you to get your thoughts in order. Even though I didn’t do it, I do think it’s a good thing.
Getting some sort of grounding in architectural interior design is a very good thing to do. You need to learn to do things like scale drawings and maths is very important too. It’s not all choosing lovely curtains and fabrics!
4. Consider an internship
When I left school, I became an apprentice milliner – I really wanted to make hats at the time. Looking back, it was a great thing to do because it is so important to learn a skill, to work with a team and to understand seasonality.
I would totally encourage people to go for internships. They give you an experience of the industry that you want to be in and allow you to find out if it is the right one for you. It means that you start from the bottom and you get access to amazing talent in the real world.
I’m very lucky to work in a field that I really enjoy, but I wouldn’t take on a job that I felt was going to be unpleasant or difficult. I think it’s important to work with people that you get on with and that you can see eye to eye with.
5. Don’t blow the budget
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a room look and feel good. Time frames and budget constraints are probably the most difficult thing to manage about the job. People don’t want to spend too much money and if you go over budget, then people understandably get upset.
I’ll make suggestions and put together a mood board using images from books and magazines. Try and get all your ideas in one place visually, from bits of fabric to tiles to floor finishes, put all the bits you might want to use together and see if they work together on paper, that is always a good place to start.