Mona Rand of Custom Window Decorators has always been interested in design, so a career as an interior decorator was a natural path for her to take. “Creativity has never been a stumbling block for me,” says Rand, who began designing and sewing her own clothes when she was only 10 years old. After turning down a college scholarship for interior design to pursue a career in fashion, her talents with sewing brought Rand back into home design when a decorator hired her to make window dressings.

She is pleased to have found her way back into the field. “If you like variety, it is a wonderful career,” Rand says of interior decorating. “The work is always changing and each day presents a different direction to pursue.” Rand works for both residential and commercial properties and finds she often acts as a buffer between contractors and clients.

In addition to possessing a love of variety and creativity, a decorator must be a keen observer. It is important to learn customers’ personalities and pay particular attention to other characteristics such as eye and hair color. Even from these seemingly unrelated physical details, Rand can accurately predict a customer’s style and color tastes. “Clients sometimes wonder ‘Is she really getting me?’ because I listen so much before sharing my thoughts,” explains Rand.

Most of Rand’s customers come through phone and Internet inquiries, not walk-ins. When preparing to do a house call with a new client, she asks lots of questions over the phone to narrow down the customer’s tastes. “I try to get a good feel for the client and bring samples when I go on a house call because it tends to be very overwhelming for people.”

To keep up with her clients’ varying needs, Rand stays up-to-date on trends by devouring style magazines and keeping in close contact with other professionals in related fields. Rand also belongs to the National Association for Interior Design. She tells her clients, “Whatever we can see in our mind’s eye, we can achieve,” and follows through with a combination of research and creativity.

When asked about the current obsession with home improvement and decorating shows, Rand smiles and explains that television sometimes gives viewers the wrong idea about the field. “TV makes it sound really easy, just one week and it’s done. What it doesn’t tell you about are the longer planning stages where all the contractors must be brought together. It’s kind of like an artist putting the finishing touches on a painting – the canvas must be prepped first.”

For Rand, the biggest challenges in her profession are finding ways to keep good flow and coherence in a design involving multiple windows and doors of varying sizes. But Rand enjoys the work and is “always wanting to get up and meet the next challenge.” For her, the rewards far outweigh any difficulties, and even her kids have told her she never “works” because it’s always fun.

Having found a field that fits her interests so well, Rand knows how fulfilling a career can be and advises, “When you decide what you want to do with your life, make sure it is an extension of yourself.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.