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

PUBLISHED: 11:59 17 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:59 17 July 2015

Emma Rees

Emma Rees


Emma Rees graduated from The Interior Design School last year and is already making a name for herself in the design world

Emma Rees kitchen designEmma Rees kitchen design

Emma Rees had been working as a creative director for years when she decided to retrain and become an interior designer. She studied for a Professional Diploma at The Interior Design School in Queen’s Park, graduating last year.

When asked why she chose the course, she laughs, and answers “serendipity”, explaining that while she had originally planned to do evening classes, she attended an open day at the school and immediately changed her mind.

Rees happened to be the oldest person in her graduating class, but said that there were people from a variety of backgrounds on the course, although only one man to a collection of women.

“They came from all over the world, to be honest. The only thing we had in common is that we had all had working life experience. It’s a course targeted at career changes and there was everybody from business people to a nurse and a fashion designer.”

Emma Rees living room designEmma Rees living room design

Although Rees is aware that not all interior designers decide to study before they start practicing, she is a huge advocate of the course, and makes it clear that it was worth the several thousand pound expense. She did up her own home at the very beginning of it and quickly regretted the decision after realising how much she’d learnt.

“There are so many elements to it,” she says. “It’s such a big job. It’s not just about creating pretty interiors, you also learn about budgetary skills, organisational skills, and time and people management. I would say that creativity is only five per cent of it.”

“It was one of the best years of my life, I felt like I was really doing something for myself,” she adds. “I decided to set up my own company because I wanted to work for myself and be more flexible with my own time.”

Since graduating and interning at three companies, Rees has set up her own successful interior design business. She lives near Queen’s Park and has taken on jobs in the area, but is candid about the fact that, while the idealised notion for an interior designer is working in their locality, if they’re serious about their job they will take everything they can get when starting out. Since setting up her business she has worked as far away as France and New York.

“I think if you’re going to niche yourself to only a certain area then it might take a bit long longer to get into it, but it is true that everything you do is word of mouth. You’re only as good as your last job.”


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