Blog Challenge, Festival of Words 2017 by Write Tribe

| Day-4 | A day in the life of an Interior Designer #writebravely | WriteTribe – Festival of Words 2017 |

“Wow! You are an interior designer!”I have lost count of the number of times I have had this reaction when I reveal what I do for a living. People generally assume that mine is a glamorous vocation and I am really living it up, making endless moolah.

Time for a reality check peeps, so lets start with a peek into a typical day in my life!

The Glamour Quotient

It’s hard to maintain a designer wardrobe when my day consists of traipsing through muck and rubble at construction sites. Inhaling paint fumes, breathing in POP dust and (don’t get me started on the ripe overripe body odour emanating  from the workers) treading around man and material – all make for the quintessential work conditions in my line of work.

My day can quickly transform from a site day to a client meeting day; how much do I yearn for a magic wand or to be a metamorphmagus like Tonks to be able to do a quick wardrobe change & clean up. Perhaps travel in a makeup van like the film stars!!

The Moolah

A typical client will start the conversation by saying “we don’t have too much to spend / our budget is not much / hope your fee is not very high”. Can you imagine the hard bargain I need to do to ensure a decent fee? On top of which, (almost always) I get scrooged over my final / last payment as the client decides to get into a last-minute bargain over it.

If working in some designer/architects office, the pay checks don’t get that great till maybe about 20-25 odd years of experience (that also if you have worked with a huge brand or have overseas experience)

Working hours

My typical working day begins at 11 a.m. but can stretch into the late hours as all my designing work gets done in the wee hours when there are no phone calls /door bells to disturb the creative genius. On top of the long hours, the residential project clients insist on meeting over the weekends as they have an off; so my treasured sunday snooze is inevitably always compromised.


I work with site labourers / carpenters / masons/painters who are almost always men. They hate taking orders from a woman, are not shy of using profanities or touching themselves in their nether-ends and generally giving me grief over everything. Patronising male clients are the icing on the cake; especially during fee negotiations.

And if all of this is not enough to convince you, then do consider the low levels of professionalism in my field where the hoard to take credit outdoes anything else. Not to forget, everyone runs on the notorious Indian Stretchable Time – from client to contractor!


This is not a rant/complaint about my profession. My work as an Interior Designer has been very rewarding for me in the guise of some amazing projects and clients over the last 20 years.

 I hope now you will see the glamour is just a mirage while actually its all blood, sweat and tears!!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6


Catch my other posts here:

Treasure to be Cherished

Biggest resource of mine

The moonland of Ladakh


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46 thoughts on “| Day-4 | A day in the life of an Interior Designer #writebravely | WriteTribe – Festival of Words 2017 |

  1. Wow… That was insightful… Even I imagined the work of interior decorator to be glamorous. But it requires so much hard work… Specially when dealing with rogue clients. I don’t think I would have survived this field. Kudos to you 🙂

    1. Thank you Raj thats a very generous compliment! Its pretty hard and yes the male-ness of this job is hardest pill to swallow at times. 😉

  2. Liked to see the true picture in the life of an interior decorator- what lies beneath the glamor and glossy surface. It’snlt easy surviving and thriving in a male bastion. More power to you Shalz!

  3. I had no idea it could be so hard on the other side of being an interior designer:)
    I almost always imagined a cabin, with glass doors

  4. are an interior designer! That was my first thought too. As part of the unorganized work culture, this would be more common I assume. The men are difficult to handle. All the best Shalz.

  5. I hear you girl! Been there, done that. I voluntarily took a sabbatical after my last project which had the most dreadful clients and even worse contractor. And now my sabbatical seems too good to get out of! Indeed the life of an architect/interior designer is not all glitz and glamor.

    1. Ohhh I hear you there. I am on a sort of a sabbatical too since a few months.I had the worst client in my 20 years recently and just broke my back to go out there at it again!!

  6. Hey Shalz there’s no gain without pain …. and yes interior designer sounds more glamorous than what it is . So when I was a PTA mom, I styled myself as a Home Management Consultant but still remained a Houswwife !

  7. I think, you must have cringed when you told us that day that you are an Interior Designer and I said ‘Wow!” 😀 I knew that Interior Designing involves a lot of creative thinking and late hours but was unaware of the other side. It’s wonderful that you have done well in your chosen field despite the challenges. Proud of you, girl and more power to you ♥

    1. Ha ha ha – not cringed – no, not at all! You are such a warm gracious person Shilpz, I could never take offense with you. I merely smiled to myself at that reaction – its been 20 years in this line and am so so so very used to it!!! Its second nature and I am shocked when it doesnt come through 😉
      Thank you for your uber kind words my lady!!!

  8. It didn’t come across as cribbing, instead it gave us a real view of an Interior Designer’s work conditions and I must say, I had no idea it was such a rough/tough one. I always had this preconceived notion that an interior designer would just sit and plan spaces… thank you for sharing the realities of this work and making me understand how much hardwork lies in it.

    1. Thanks for saying so Venice. Planning spaces on the desk is very ardous too as we are always chasing submissions till the last minute. We do as much white collar stuff as much blue collar!!! Its a big mix of both kinds and sometimes, I am bullied for being a woman to be able to do this. Thats when it gets tougher!!! 🙂

    1. Oh thanks a tonne for the “successful” blogger part Apeksha! I am blown away that you think so of me!!! Thank you for making my day! 🙂

  9. Definitely doesn’t sound easy, though I must say, I hadn’t thought an interior designer’s work was easy 🙂 Nice to know more of the behind the scenes work. 😀

    1. Thanks Vinay – I think working is always full of hard work! Everyones slogs at their chosen field of work – mine just seemed too easy to most peeps!! 😉

  10. I could never imagine the life of a fashion designer since I don’t have anyone in my family or friends circle who is a desigber. Your post gives me a glimpse that it surely isn’t easy to be one. Keep going with your hard work.

    1. Thanks Charu – I guess hard work is there in every profession. Its just that some professions seem far too glamourous and easy! 😉

  11. I have worked in a factory and can understand what you mean when workers keep swearing without respect for anyone. Tell me about the clients who want freebies. Thanks for sharing your work as an interior designer and it makes for quite an interesting work. It’s toiling hard to be able to fetch that fee home. It’s not an easy world, I know for I got friends who tell how they go on dust, braving dust and dealing with difficult clients.

  12. Thanks for showing us the hidden side of your profession…gives me some perspective. Next time I’m interacting with an interior designer I’ll certainly keep in mind all the challenges he is facing at the back to transform my house into a hearty home.

  13. You make light of your challenges but they do exist and are difficult to deal with. Your breezy, easy writing makes for a great read. Love your enthusiasm for your work. Happy designing:)

    1. Thanks Sulekha – have to hand it out to you, you have a way wth words and say the nicest things possible! Thank you universe for connecting me with someone so gracious and warm! 🙂

  14. Well said shalini. No profession is actually easy. Its people who has a fixation that some professions do not require hard work. One of my friends elder sister is into Interior designing; Its no easy job! I have seen her for day in and day out to get the work done. Keep up the good work…People rant a lot don’t mind them..More power to you!

    1. Thanks so much Keerthi. Yes no profession has it easy, every where hard work is required way over skills and talent.

  15. I just realised I didn’t know what your profession was…for some reason, in my head you were a journalist! Go figure. I wish you lived locally so I could hire your interior designing services!

  16. Interesting insight. I always go wow on the photographs of the final outcome and never really thought about the hours and efforts gone into it! Even t.v. Shows show it as so glamorous that we overlook the actual work! I liked the bit about the genius at work

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