Student Success - Layla Palmer

By Sarah Van Arsdale on January 27th, 2010

NYIAD students are out there in droves decorating clients' homes, serving as consultants in department stores, and re-designing everything from metropolitan penthouses to lakeshore cottages. If you've started your own business, if you've been hired by a decorating firm, or if you've achieved success in some other way in the field of interior design, we want to hear from you! Click here to let us know about the waves you're making!

If you missed earlier installments of this series, here's your chance to read more about the accomplishments of NYIAD students. Just visit our NYIAD Student Success page.

Here at the NYIAD School, we get a lot of calls and messages from our students and grads telling us about how NYIAD has helped them launch a new career. One of our favorites at the close of 2009 came from Layla Palmer, who wrote to tell us that her interior design business in Prattville, Alabama is booming.

Student Success - Layla Palmer

Most recently, she was featured on two design-related TV shows, and her own home will be featured in the winter issue of The Nest magazine and in the premier issue of Flea Market Style magazine.

"I attribute much of my success as a designer to the NYIAD Complete Course in Interior Design, so I just wanted to send a big, friendly 'thank you'!" she wrote to us. "The NYIAD School definitely gave me the confidence to follow my dreams and equipped me with the skills to do so!"

We investigated further, and found that in addition to running her own design consultation business, Layla maintains a terrific design blog called "The Lettered Cottage."

One look at the blog, and we wanted to move right in. Not only does she post tips on how to have great design without breaking the bank, but she also provides us with unique, interesting finds. Palmer is generous with sharing her readers with other designers — she often posts links to other design blogs, so you can get a look at several designers' work at once.

It's not surprising, looking at her blog, to learn she also writes for and Coastal Living magazine, which just proves that you don't have to live in New York City or LA to make it big in design.

Student Success - Layla Palmer
Student Success - Layla Palmer

In fact, it was her blog that led Palmer into her first design job. After hearing another blogger's plea for help with a troublesome hallway, Palmer dummied up some virtual renderings of the changes she would make and posted them on her blog.

"So many readers responded so positively to my post that I thought I'd try creating a online consultation service to see if people would be interested in hiring me to help them with their design dilemmas," she said. "Within a matter of minutes I had my first client, and I've had the pleasure of virtually designing over four hundred rooms during the past year and a half."

Like many NYIAD students, Palmer was drawn to the Interior Design Course in part due to its flexibility, as she was working full-time at a photography studio. She also liked the description of what she would learn from the program, and the fact that she could take it at her own pace.

Now, design is her life. "I spend every waking moment thinking about, talking about and writing about interior design," she said.

"And because I'm making my living doing things I'm passionate about, it doesn't feel like work at all! "

Most of all, Palmer enjoys helping clients make their homes into places they love to be.

"I believe that home is the most important place in the world, and creating surroundings that inspire, encourage and reflect the personalities of the people who live there is an important part in living a happy and fulfilling life."

We're proud to say that NYIAD played a role in Palmer's developing her interest in design into a career that she's so passionate about. "The knowledge I gained through the course completely changed how I approach the design of a room and it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a career in design," she told us.

Student Success - Layla Palmer
Student Success - Layla Palmer

She advises others interested in design to tend to the relationships that get formed in the business. "Put as much energy into psychology side of design as you put into the aesthetic side of it," she said. "Invest extra time forming positive and lasting relationships with your clients and all of the people you come in contact with in your industry."

It's great advice, because design consultation involves so many people, from shop owners to other designers to carpenters, upholsterers, plumbers, electricians "they will all play a part in your level of success," she said.

Currently, Palmer is writing her first e-book, which is about creating an inspired home, and which she hopes to release through her blog this month.

"Writing is definitely a passion of mine, so it would be a dream come true to have one or more of my books published and sold in book stores someday," she said.

We at NYIAD are pleased to start off the new year with a profile of this terrific NYIAD graduate — and wish all of you a successful, well-designed 2010!