Where to Look for Great Interior Design Clients

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Whether you’re seeing a slow-down in interior design clients lately, looking for more of your best clients, or starting a new design studio, the tips we have for you today will help. Though we don’t claim to be “business coaches,” part of effective copywriting is understanding the industry and advising our designer clients on smart marketing strategies.

This month, we’re happy to share several tips we’ve gleaned from hundreds of conversations and many years of working directly with interior designers and their teams. Come take a look…

First, Consider Lead Type

A “lead” is a potential client, and not all are created equal. It’s best to break leads down into several distinct categories, because the way you target each will differ. The categories are:

  • Hot Leads
  • Warm Leads
  • Cold Leads
  • New Leads

Hot Leads are the people you know are interested in your services, are the right interior design clients for your business, and have engaged with you in some way. 

Warm Leads are one degree below hot leads. They are people who have shown some interest in your services but may have done so in a non-committal or incomplete way.

Cold Leads are exactly what they sound like — people who have some connection to your business but have “gone cold,” meaning no action taken.

New Leads fall under the category of lead generation, which essentially means finding new potential clients from ground zero. If this method sounds harder, that’s because it is.

The Biggest Mistake We See Designers Making

The biggest mistake we see designers make is turning to social media to find new interior design clients. Why is this a mistake? A couple reasons.

First, because trying to find new leads is always harder than leveraging the hot, warm, and cold leads you already have. You’re trading known entities for the unknown.

Second, instead of focusing on where to find just a few big projects, turning to social media casts a wide net in a veritable ocean of mystery. (P.S. Of the hundreds of designers we’ve spoken with, less than 10% get new, big projects from social media.)

Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t have a social media presence, but it is a far more effective marketing strategy to leverage your hot, warm, and even cold leads FIRST.

So, what would leveraging those leads look like? Here are some ideas, and fortunately, there is some overlap between groups, which allows for efficiency!

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Getting New Design Clients from Your Hot Leads

Who are your hot leads?

  • Past clients who would hire you again
  • Potential clients with whom you’ve had an initial consultation
  • Referral sources who continue to send you high-quality clients

Ideas for engaging this group:

  • Deliver a top-notch client experience
  • Have a structured off-boarding sequence that inspires repeat business and referrals
  • Reach out directly and ask them if they need anything or can pass you along!
  • Stay in touch via high-quality, non-salesy monthly newsletters
  • Consider a “leave-behind,” such as a high-quality printed magazine or one-pager to leave with referral partners

Getting New Design Clients from Your Warm Leads

Who are your warm leads?

  • Potential clients you’ve had a discovery call with
  • Potential referral partners you’ve spoken to
  • The subscribers on your mailing list (assuming they are your ideal clients)

Ideas for engaging this group:

  • Have a process for nurturing prospects from discovery call to consultation (I.e. Don’t go quiet! What info do you send them and when? How long do you wait to follow-up?)
  • Stay in touch via high-quality, useful, and non-salesy monthly newsletters
  • Consider a “leave-behind,” such as a printed magazine or one-pager to leave with referral partners

Getting New Design Clients from Your Cold Leads

Who are your cold leads?

  • Potential clients you’ve had a discovery call with who then went silent
  • Mailing list subscribers who do not regularly engage with your content

Ideas for engaging this group:

  • Move “cold” potential clients to your mailing list or a nurture sequence
  • Stay in touch via high-quality, useful, and non-salesy monthly newsletters

Generating New Leads for Your Design Studio

  • Create a highly specific, tailored lead magnet (tip: can do double-duty as your leave-behind!)
  • Add an accompanying nurture sequence after lead magnet delivery
  • Erect yard signs with your business name and URL at your existing project sites
  • Share 1 monthly blog post via social media and in your monthly newsletters
  • Place advertisements in community-specific magazines
  • Tactfully connect with new potential referral sources in parallel industries (builders, GCs, fine art galleries, real estate agents, etc.)
  • Attend events/activities where your ideal clients or referral partners are likely to be found
celebrating new clients interior designer firm studio

Doing all of this already?

If you’re doing all of these things already and not seeing results, it may be worth considering the message you are putting out into the world. Maybe you’re not speaking to the right client. Maybe it doesn’t stand out enough in your area. Or maybe your website itself is dated and hard to navigate.

If you think any of these may be the case, we recommend reaching out to us for a complimentary discovery call. We’d be happy to weigh in on your goals and what your digital presence is currently communicating to see if new website copy and messaging could change things for you.

In the meantime, we hope these tips help you look at your marketing in a new, more strategic way. You got this!

Team O&B






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