How to become an interior designer in north London: The Designer

Hazel Collins in one of her properties

Hazel Collins in one of her properties - Credit: Archant

While Hampstead-based interior designer Hazel Collins has never studied the subject, she has nurtured a natural talent for design

Hazell Collins living room

Hazell Collins living room - Credit: Archant

Hampstead-based business owner Hazel Collins has never studied interior design but she does know an awful lot about it.

“I worked in design for many years as part of a gift list company and I was always sourcing from all over the world so that gave me a really good grounding,” she says.

“My skill really was at matching the right products and materials, with the client. I was very good at putting them together and creating a whole vision.”

To become an interior designer she says that you need a combination of natural and learned skills, explaining that interior designers need to be both spatially aware and able to do drawings and layouts so that they can turn their vision into something concrete for clients.

Hazell Collins living room design

Hazell Collins living room design - Credit: Archant

“You want your clients to really visualise what you’re seeing,” she says.

While Collins admits that she lacks some technical skills (she creates design boards herself but has brought people in to do drawing work) she makes up for it in her passion for the job. When describing designing her own home this passion seeps out.

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“I love, love, love my home,” she says. “I love what I do and the only bad thing about is that I’m always seeing things that I love for myself when I’m out and about. But the best thing is that I get to give the things I love to clients and see them in beautiful homes.”

Although she wouldn’t go back to study, calling herself “a little bit too old”, she would recommend it for aspiring interior designers.

“I would definitely advise anybody starting off to have that technical knowledge, it’s very important.”

As for north London, Collins feels it’s an excellent place to begin your career, and while she does make use of social media to promote her work, she feels her success mainly comes down to word of mouth.

“Business has been very good for me in north London. There are lots of beautiful homes here and people are very busy working with their families and so they often want help to do them up, and when you’ve done a job people come in and see it and speak to their friends about it!”

Hazel’s five top tips for aspiring interior designers:

1. Keep your eyes open, there’s inspiration everywhere.

2. Work with scale. Don’t be frightened and just fill a space with tiny little things. Think big.

3. Don’t ever stop looking for new product suppliers.

4. Make use of all the resources around you. Go to exhibitions, fairs, local craft events and read all the magazines and online websites you can.

5. Keep up with trends but also make sure to look outside the box.