Student Success - Nancy Miller

By Sarah Van Arsdale on January 10th, 2005

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 NYIAD, we know there are many ways that a student can turn a NYIAD certificate into an exciting, well-paying profession. Of course, many students go on to work in design firms, or to open their own companies. Some students focus on one aspect of design, and go on to design furniture, or to open a custom drapery store.

Student Success - Nancy Miller
Student Success - Nancy Miller

Nancy Miller, of Denver, Colorado, concentrates her work on staging homes for real estate. In this line of work, a designer is hired — usually by the realtor, sometimes by the homeowner — to fix up the interior of a home before it goes on the market.

This work involves much more than just applying a new coat of paint or adding some flowerboxes to the front windows; to be a great stager, one has to look at the home and discern exactly what changes in the interior decorating will help move it from blah to ta-dah! Sold!

"I enjoy real estate staging because the home owner is open to my ideas to help them sell their home faster and for more money," she said. "They are not as particular as they would be if we were designing their home to live in."

Student Success - Nancy Miller
Student Success - Nancy Miller

Part of Nancy's work involves simply explaining to the client how this kind of interior is different from other kinds.

"I explain that they need to live differently in their home when it is for sale," she said. "Basically this means no clutter, and arranging their home to highlight the architectural features and views. Their house should look like a ‘model home.'"

Nancy started her business in May 2004, after reading an article in the Denver Post about home staging. After doing some research on the Internet, she found a course on home staging, and through that course she heard about NYIAD and realized there was still more to learn. She's still a NYIAD student, but her career is already taking off.

Student Success - Nancy Miller
Student Success - Nancy Miller

"I meet with realtors to inform them about how staging a home would lead to faster sales, more money for them and their sellers, and lead to more referral business," she says.

Her favorite thing about doing this work is her ability to help people make changes in their lives.

"I like being able to help someone transform their house to a more saleable property and allow them to move on to their next home," she said.

Student Success - Nancy Miller
Student Success - Nancy Miller

One of the big challenges in this kind of work is that whereas people who hire a designer usually are happy to spend the money it takes — as long as it's within their budget — people hiring a designer for staging are looking to spend as little as possible, Nancy said.

Nancy also finds the competition among designers keep her on her toes at all times. "Interior design is very competitive and you have to differentiate yourself from other designers," she said.

"People selling their home do not want spend much money or time in preparing their home," she said. "Whereas someone designing a home to live in is excited to do more to create a beautiful surrounding."

Student Success - Nancy Miller
Student Success - Nancy Miller

For Nancy, the NYIAD Course has been helpful in finding her new business and keeping it growing, "especially the lesson on furniture placement," she said. "I plan to complete the Course and incorporate the design work in peoples' new homes."

Come learn at our interior decorating school and become a success just like Nancy!


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