How To Start a Green Interior Design Company at Home


The green building industry is growing fast thanks to a wide variety of government incentives and a growing awareness of the importance of energy-efficient, sustainable building practices among the general public.

A growing niche within the green building industry is green interior design and decorating. In addition to rising awareness of the general benefits of sustainability, a growing number of clients need eco-friendly, non-toxic, and low VOC paints, carpets, furnishings and other home decor due to allergies and other chemical sensitivities exacerbated by conventional home decor. Green interior design focuses on using earth-friendly materials and sustainable design to create a beautiful space that meets the needs of the client.

This includes materials that are:

* vintage, salvaged, or recycled
* durable and low maintenance
* sustainably harvested or produced
* locally sourced
* non-toxic and low VOC

If you love both good design and the planet, starting a green interior design business may be a great choice for you. Interior design businesses are relatively low cost to start and can be easily operated from a home office.

Interior Designer or Interior Decorator?

Although many people use the terms interior designer and interior decorator interchangeably, they are not actually the same.

In most states, interior decorators can work without a license or other qualifications. Interior designers, on the other hand, usually need a state-issued license to operate. Many firms and clients also require certification by the American Society of Interior Design (ASID), which is gained by passing an exam issued by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification.

Qualifying to take the exam requires a combination of six years of interior design education and full-time work experience. The exam includes 300 multiple choice questions on codes, building systems, construction standards, project management, and professional practice, as well as a seven part interior design practicum.

These rigorous standards qualify certified interior designers for a wide variety of residential and commercial design services. Most interior decorators offer residential services only, and are typically lower paid.

Three Green Interior Designers For Beautiful, Eco-Conscious Spaces

ecointeriorsEco Interiors is a full service green interior design firm based in Durham, NC. The experienced professionals at Eco Interiors offer both residential and design services for both new projects and renovations. In addition to creating beautiful spaces with eco and health conscious finishes, Eco Interiors also offers assistance with energy auditing, air and water purification, waste management, and LEED certification.

ecodecorEcoDecor, located in North Palm Beach, FL, is a green interior design company that puts special emphasis on materials that are non-toxic, allergy-free, and organic. Co-founder Bernadette Upton served on the American Lung Association Southeast Board for almost a decade and is a member of the National Environmental Health Association. In addition to designing numerous “Health Houses,” she is also the author of “A Baby’s Breath,” an ALA program that educates parents about non-toxic home and nursery design for infants. EcoDecor offers a full range of interior design and decorating services, LEED assistance, and a variety of educational seminars for both interior design professionals and the general public.

jessica-helgerson-interior-designJessica Helgerson Interior Design, based in Portland, OR, specializes in luxury residential and commercial design that meets the aesthetic, functional, and financial needs of clients while respecting the environment. Jessica has been a pioneer in the field of green interior design for more than 15 years and her designs are influenced by her travels in Italy, France, Switzerland, India, and Morocco. Her designs typically incorporate a variety of natural and sustainable materials, including hemp, bamboo, milk paint, reclaimed wood, and recycled tiles.

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Main Image Credit: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

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