What happens today in interior design affects how we will live, work, and play tomorrow. Interior designers create the spaces where we spend 93% of our time, and like any industry, the way they practice their profession evolves as trends emerge and either slowly become the new normal, or fade away as irrelevant. The manifestation of these trends in design work will have a lasting effect, as the built environment’s useful life is measured in decades and centuries.
As the one voice of the interior design industry, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) seeks to understand the trends that shape both the practice and the business of interior design today, and we’re using the Interior Design 2015/2016 Outlook and State of the Industry report to share our findings for 2015, 2016, and beyond. First, we’re pleased to report that business is good and growing. Several indicators suggest that interior design has fully recovered from the recession, with the total number of employed interior designers (60,824), the total number of design firms (13,257), total sales ($8.6 billion), and the dollar value of products specified ($68.5 billion), now approaching or above pre-recession levels. Billings and inquiries are up, too, with positive expectations into next year, and that translates into a hot job market: 25% of firms of all sizes and design specialties intend to hire new employees in the next year. Many report struggling to find and retain the talent they need.
But interior design isn’t just growing, it’s evolving, too. Macro-trends that affect all of us (Health & Wellbeing, Technology, Sustainability, Urbanization, Globalization, and Resiliency) are changing the topics we consider when working on a design project. And each macro-trend has its own set of sub-trends. Holistic design thinking and higher sustainability standards are identified here as the most transformative, while designing for healthy behavior and the Internet of things are two of the fastest moving. Each of these macro and sub-trends are being adopted by designers of different disciplines at various rates. Firms that don’t adapt to the trends are at risk of getting left behind, especially as threats loom such as those posed by increased international competition and the emergence of crowdsourcing.
Through this review of the profession’s status and evolution, ASID hopes its members and the broader community of interior designers will find something new to explore in their practice, and will take advantage of the opportunities that change can bring.