National Interior Design Study Reveals Sector Strength

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With the entire building industry taking a severe hit due to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), growth in any sector has been difficult to achieve.

The release of the 2011 Canadian Interior Design Benchmarking and Best Practices Study by the Canadian Interiors (CI) Magazine and Interior Designers of Canada (IDC), however, shows the Canadian design sector has in fact enjoyed just that.

The 150 plus page study, which ‘aims to provide in-depth facts on the Canadian interior design industry’, shares information submitted by over 580 respondents, all of whom are registered professionals in both interior design and architecture fields, regarding their ‘overall size, growth, compensation structure, billings and commissions.’

According to CI, the study aims to provide ‘industry decision-makers and practitioners valuable information as they establish plans for the future.’

The results of the study give insight into the trends in what is obviously a growing industry. As one might expect, larger, multi-purpose design firms handled larger numbers of projects – at a much larger scale – in 2010. Larger firms took on an average of 38 projects, with those projects averaging 400,000 square feet that year. Smaller, one-person design firms, meanwhile, took on an average of 15 projects over that averaged just over 55,000 square feet. The smaller firms were noted to have remained specialized, while the larger firms have been facing the challenge of branching into several different sectors of design.

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According to IDC executive director Susan Wiggins, the study should allow for greater transparency in the industry in hopes of encouraging a more sophisticated, educated and confident interior design sector across Canada.

“Despite the ever increasing public interest in interior design, the demographics of the profession are not widely known,” she says. “The release of this study is significant in the fact that it is the first study of its kind conducted in Canada since 1998. It is our hope that the results of this study not only increase this knowledge base but influence and ultimately better interior design practices across the country.”

The overall sector prognosis, perhaps the most positive aspect of the study, is that interior design has continued to recover since the 2009 GFC. The sector is expected to continue garnering strength with support tools, like the study, laying down a strong foundation from which to grow.

By Emily D’Alterio
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