Interior Design Sector in UK Construction

(Subscribers, please scroll down to the bottom for details of the '850+ Interior Design Practices' database.   If you are not logged in, you will see below only those companies who have enhanced their entries - you will need to log in to download the full list.   Non-subscribers can purchase a copy from our shop.)

Although unregulated and formally undefined, the role of the interior designer is an important one in the construction specification process, with practitioners undertaking the planning and design of commercial and domestic building interiors, for both new build and redevelopment projects.   On larger projects, the interior designer is likely to work alongside the architect and other consultants, and, in addition to preparing detailed designs, his/her responsibilities will frequently include specifying materials, products and components, preparing budgets, obtaining planning permissions and building regulation approvals, etc.   In some countries, the professional interior designer might describe him/herself as an Interior Architect, but, in the UK, this would be illegal unless s/he was also a qualified architect and registered with the Architects Registration Board (see Marketing to Architects).

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There is a very small number of large interior design practices in the UK, since a characteristic of the sector is that many professionals are sole practitioners or often work on a freelance basis for developers, architectural and multi-disciplinary practices.   The Society of British and International Design (SBID) says, “77% of interior design businesses have a turnover of less than £100,000 per year.   These are mainly small businesses with one to three members of staff but they make up 80% percent of the sector in the UK.”

The UK Market
Because it is an unregulated market, anyone can call himself, and practice as, an interior designer.   However, many practitioners will be registered with one or more of the sector’s professional bodies, such as the Society of British and International Design (SBID)  or the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID).

The SBID is a professional accrediting organisation for the interior design industry and its members must demonstrate that they meet the Society's minimum professional standards in order to maintain membership:  the Society also provides an accredited CPD qualification.   Similarly, the British Institute of Interior Design requires its members to demonstrate that they meet the Institute's minimum standards and they must also undertake CPD throughout their careers “ ensure their continued expertise in design process, practice and regulatory matters”.   The BIID describes itself as the only professional organisation for interior designers which has been granted the accolade of 'Institute' status.

Like architects in the UK, the geographical spread of interior designers is uneven, with a disproportionate number based in London (particularly) and the South East.   In 2000 the Design Council produced a survey  of the design industry (not just interior design) and found that some 40% of all designers were based in London and the South East.   According to Reed, the recruitment agency, the average salary in the UK for an interior designer is £31,402 per year.   However, specialist recruiters the Adrem Group have published a table giving the average range of salaries depending on seniority and experience, and this shows that graduates earn £21,000 at one end of the scale and Design Directors earn £75,000 at the other.

Marketing and Promotion
Successful marketing to interior designers (one of the creative specification roles) will parallel that to architects and therefore the approach is likely to be the same, i.e. focusing as much on a given product's technical and performance attributes as the aesthetic ones.   The UK Interior Design Bureau - a marketing agency dedicated to helping product manufacturers access the interior design specification sub-sector – says, “An emotive message, being a more consumer-orientated approach, will not match the interior designer’s professional mindset when sourcing products or the urgency of the task.   If the properties of the product have not been successfully communicated, the sale can quite easily fall through when exposed to long project lead times.   Further challenges to a successful purchase will come from other influencers and the intense pressures that the fit-out and construction team will impose.”

There are numerous and varied trade show opportunities for manufacturers and service providers to target the sector.   In order to research those offering the most targeted exposure to interior designers, log on to consult our calendar of 280+ UK Construction Exhibitions, which also provides previous attendance data and approximate space-only exhibiting rates.   Many events will target specific sub-sectors of the industry and, thereby, attract interior designers.   For example, the organisers of the 2015 edition of 100% Design stated that 26,211 visitors attended and included 29% Architects and 42% Interior Designers.   

Decorex includes many floorcoverings, wallcoverings, surface materials, door and window fittings, lighting, etc.   Many shows focus on specific sub-sectors, such as the Flooring Show, the new Restaurant Design Show, and the more established Surface Design Show, which welcomed 5,669 visitors to the 2016 edition, of whom 33% were described as being from interior design practices.

Similarly, many of the industry's 300+ journals reach interior designers.   In order to identify the most appropriate journal for your campaign, log in to browse our index of 300+ UK Construction Industry Journals, which includes contact data, together with circulation and advertising data (when given) and a short profile of the target audience for each title.   In specific sub-sectors, publications include titles such as DARC (lighting in architecture), Healthcare Design & Management, and Hospitality Interiors.   More broadly, interior designers can be reached through titles such as Interiors Monthly, Interior Design Today and Society (digital only) the house journal of the Society of British and International Design.   Dezeen is an online architecture and design magazine which the publishers claim receives 2.3 million unique visitors per month.

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For circulation of press releases, a separate database of named editorial contacts (and email addresses) is provided, covering each of the 300+ journals (non-subscribers may purchase this database separately from our shop).

Other Resources and Channels
Log in to browse our indices of directories and online portals, which provide details of resources used by construction professionals, including interior designers, such as The Interior Directory, The Interior Design Index,  and The Interior Design Yearbook, as well as a wide range of sector-specific directories covering areas such as housing, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, blinds and shutters, flooring, etc.

Promotional Opportunities via Trade Bodies
The British Institute of Interior Design provides an online 'Supplier Directory' to which suppliers of products and services to the interior design industry may submit their details for inclusion.   Further opportunities are available to product suppliers via membership and becoming a 'BIID Industry Partner', which provides the “opportunity for suppliers to gain commercial advantage.   Companies are encouraged to engage fully with the (BIID) membership by undertaking sponsored events and provide Continued Professional Development (CPD)”.   (See also Construction CPD and Marketing).

Similarly, the Society of British and International Design (SBID) runs a programme of CPD events, which can be supported by relevant product manufacturers.

Sales Support
Construction project lead generators, Crannull Consulting, maintain details of leading interior designers and offer product manufacturers and suppliers a dedicated sales support service whereby they will make contact to introduce product(s) and canvass potential interest / arrange appointments, etc.   Visit the Crannull website for more details.

The Database
Supporting this feature we have undertaken extensive research to produce a comprehensive index of over 850 interior design practices, with named contacts, in the UK.   The database has been compiled with a focus on identifying prominent practitioners in the country who are active in the broad design of building interiors, both commercial and residential.   Consequently, specialist designers who focus primarily on designing particular environments such as kitchens or bathrooms, or those focused on designing furniture components, have been omitted.  

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In addition we have included (and indicated on the database) most of the (relevant) practices featured in the latest edition of the triennial 'Top 100 Interior Designers', a league table published by House and Garden*.

In addition to named contacts, addresses and telephone numbers, the database includes email addresses for each entry.   Whilst many of these are generic addresses, such as design@, info@, etc., it should be remembered that the majority of the entries represent sole practitioners or practices with just two or three staff members.   If you are logged in, you may now download the database from the Downloads page.   Non-subscribers may purchase the database separately for £75 + VAT by clicking here or by contacting us.

* Whilst primarily a domestically focused consumer magazine, the House and Garden index of interior designers includes practitioners working in all sectors of the industry, including commercial and new build.   Every three years, the journal undertakes extensive research into the sector, interviewing leading experts, and the resultant Top 100 list represents their view of the leading interior designers.

If you are not logged in, you will see below only those companies who have enhanced their entries - you will need to log in to download the full list. 

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Ana Englehorn Interior Design  

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