If your goal is to become an interior stylist, you may be wondering what your options are for generating an income.
Good news – as someone who has been in the interior styling industry for 20+ years, I know a thing or two about monetising styling skills.
Keep scrolling to learn 4 ways (non-exhaustive) that you can make money as an interior stylist, then sign up to my mailing list to receive 7 weeks of free advice on everything you can actually charge for as a self-employed creative.
4 ways to make money as an interior stylist
1. Interior styling for publications
Whilst the styling budgets quite often aren’t what they used to be, magazines do still bring on stylists for various features. These include large sets and trend features, and real home styling, where you accompany a photographer to a shoot in someone’s home and tweak the space (think: add and style accessories, hide plug sockets and wires, and help the photographer find the best angles).
To get these gigs, you’ll need contacts in magazine editorial teams (it won’t hurt to have freelance photographer and writer friends, too). You can usually find the names of team members in the magazines (or, failing that, search LinkedIn) – reach out with an introductory email and link them up to your portfolio, too.
Bear in mind that you’ll likely need sufficient experience as an assistant before you’re trusted with styling solo, so consider connecting with established interior stylists who you can assist and learn from first. Inside Stylists is a fab resource for meeting fellow stylists.
2. Interior styling for commercial content
Brands commission interior stylists to help them design and stage sets for everything from social media content to huge TV campaigns – and there’s no shortage of opportunities.
Of course, these jobs aren’t the easiest to come by – and you’ll need significant experience (so get beefing up that portfolio and assisting on as many shoots as possible), but they’re great for pushing you creatively and, not to forget, bringing in a decent income. It’s also worth noting that many big brands hire stylists on retainer, so you can have a steady stream of work.
Top tip: join Facebook groups aimed at people who work in TV and advertising to receive alerts when these opportunities are available.
3. Styling consultation for brands
Brands don’t just like to be in the loop, they like to be at the cutting edge of trends, which means that they often commission interiors professionals to consult on upcoming trends to help them conceptualise future product ranges.
As an interior stylist, you will have extensive knowledge of the industry and a unique insight into what’s to come, and that’s something you can monetise.
4. Earn money online
If you’re looking for ways to supplement your income as an interior stylist, or you’d like to work from home from time to time, there are options for earning money online (though, bear in mind that whilst these are often sold as being easy, quick-buck schemes, they do require a lot of commitment and consistency).
Blogging can still bring in cash – particularly if you are in a position to create posts sponsored by interiors brands. You can also monetise your social media platforms, if you have a significant following and decent engagement rates (think: sponsored content and affiliates, where you earn a small commission every time someone purchases something you recommend).
Alternatively, you could create your own product – a guide to interior styling for those looking to make some changes in their homes, for example, or an ebook that teaches people how to mood-board a room scheme. Get creative, and think outside of the metaphorical box.
If you found this post helpful, check out my blog on 6 places to find work as a freelance creative.