How to Make Money as an Event Decorator

By Ajoke Aminu

Published:

Side Hustles

Ajoke Aminu

Ajoke Aminu

Writer & Career Coach

Having a creative flair for beautifying spaces is the perfect excuse to become an event decorator. Venturing into the decorating business is a step towards supplementing your income while indulging your passion, but first, you must learn how to become an event decorator here. What’s more, you’ll also discover how to start a decorating business and the shocking tips for making money as an event decorator.


What Does an Event Decorator Do?


As an event decorator, your primary responsibility is to create captivating and visually stunning environments for various occasions and celebrations. You’re the master of transforming ordinary spaces into immersive experiences that leave clients in awe. It’s a role filled with artistry, imagination, and the opportunity to create unforgettable memories. Your role encompasses creating visually appealing and thematic settings for various events, such as weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, and more.

Meanwhile, duties include designing decor concepts, selecting appropriate decorations and furnishings, setting up and arranging decor elements on-site, and ensuring that the event’s aesthetic vision is realized to create memorable experiences for clients and attendees. Hence, event decoration is a path that has endured the test of time and continues to thrive till date.

A Closer Look at Event Decoration Trends in 2023 and Beyond

Unbelievable, but the events industry, in general, has been projected to experience a US$1,552.9 billion increase by 2028! Quite rightfully, in recent years, the importance of event decoration has skyrocketed across various types of events. Gone are the days when decorations were merely an afterthought. The increasing importance of event decoration stems from its ability to elevate the overall event experience, create brand cohesion, set the desired ambiance, and facilitate social media engagement. As events continue to evolve and become more experiential, the role of event decoration will continue to grow in significance, making it an integral part of event planning and execution.

Today, the decorating business has gained increasing importance across various types of events for several compelling reasons:

  • Creating Memorable Experiences: Event decoration serves as a powerful tool for creating immersive and memorable experiences. Whether it’s a wedding, corporate conference, or social gathering, the right decor can transport attendees to a different world, evoking emotions and leaving a lasting impression. From elaborate backdrops to thematic props, event decoration sets the stage for unforgettable moments.
  • Enhancing Brand Identity: In corporate events and brand activations, event decoration plays a crucial role in reflecting and reinforcing brand identity. Through strategic use of colors, logos, and custom designs, decor helps to create a cohesive and branded environment. This not only leaves a strong impression on attendees but also helps to establish a connection between the event and the brand.
  • Setting the Ambiance: Event decoration sets the tone and ambiance for the entire event. From elegant and sophisticated to vibrant and energetic, decor choices such as lighting, furniture, and floral arrangements contribute to the desired atmosphere. The right ambiance can influence guest mood, engagement, and overall enjoyment, making event decoration a vital aspect of event planning.
  • Creating Photo-Worthy Moments: In the era of social media, event decoration has gained additional importance as it provides opportunities for captivating and shareable moments. Picture-perfect backdrops, creatively designed installations, and interactive elements serve as irresistible photo opportunities. Attendees are more likely to capture and share these moments on their social platforms, generating buzz and increasing event awareness.

Notably, event decorators play a vital role in creating these memorable experiences. Through creative vision, attention to detail, and the ability to evoke emotions, event decorators transform ordinary spaces into enchanting ones that captivate attendees. It’s not only the food from caterers that can make event-goers happy! By conceptualizing immersive themes, crafting captivating visuals, and incorporating interactive elements, an event decorator leaves a lasting imprint on the memories of guests, ensuring that the event is an unforgettable affair.


How to Become an Event Decorator


Becoming an event decorator requires a combination of artistic flair, organizational skills, and a keen eye for detail. Although it’s wise to continually learn, seek inspiration, and refine your craft to stay ahead in this dynamic and creative industry, you should have basic decorating business knowledge. Nevertheless, you can learn how to become an event decorator in 3 simple steps:

Build Essential Skills

Here are the essential skills you’ll need to cultivate for a successful career as an event decorator:

  • Creativity: As an event decorator, creativity is your greatest asset. The ability to think outside the box, come up with unique ideas and envision captivating designs is crucial. Develop your creativity by exploring different art forms, attending design workshops, and staying updated on the latest decor trends.
  • Design Sense: A strong design sense is essential for creating visually appealing and cohesive event decor. Familiarize yourself with principles of color theory, composition, and spatial arrangement. Understand how to create balance, focal points, and harmony within a space.
  • Attention to Detail: Event decoration requires meticulous attention to detail. From ensuring precise placement of props and decorations to coordinating color schemes and textures, being detail-oriented will elevate the quality of your work and leave a lasting impression on clients and guests.
  • Organization and Time Management: Event decorators must juggle multiple tasks and adhere to strict timelines. Develop strong organizational and time management skills to effectively plan, source materials, coordinate with vendors, and execute the decor setup efficiently.
  • Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication is key when working with clients, event planners, and vendors. You’ll need to understand the client’s vision, convey your ideas clearly, and collaborate with others to bring the decor concept to life. Develop excellent interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships within the industry.
  • Flexibility and Problem-Solving: Events can be unpredictable, and as an event decorator, you must adapt to changing circumstances and solve problems on the go. Develop a flexible mindset and the ability to think quickly and creatively when faced with challenges.
  • Knowledge of Decor Materials and Trends: Stay informed about various decor materials, their qualities, and applications. Keep up with the latest trends in event decor to offer fresh and innovative concepts to clients.
  • Project management, Business, and Marketing Skills: To succeed as an event decorator, you’ll need basic project management, business, and marketing skills. Understand pricing, contracts, and budget management. Develop your marketing skills to showcase your work, build a portfolio, and attract clients.

Obtain Relevant Training and Certifications

Training, education, and relevant certifications are the ingredients that make up the art of the decorating business. These elements become most prominent when you try to establish yourself as a professional event decorator and gain a competitive edge in the industry. To excel as an event decorator and gain industry recognition, it is essential to acquire the necessary licenses, undergo comprehensive training, obtain relevant certifications, and invest in continued education.

Here’s why training, education, and/or relevant certifications are important:

  • Building a Strong Foundation: Training and education provide you with a solid foundation in the principles and techniques of event decoration. Formal education, such as courses or a degree in design or event management, can equip you with essential knowledge, industry standards, and best practices.
  • Enhancing Skills and Techniques: Specialized training programs or workshops focused on event decoration can help you refine your skills and learn new techniques. These opportunities allow you to stay updated with the latest trends, materials, and technologies in the field, enabling you to offer innovative and cutting-edge designs.
  • Gaining Credibility: Obtaining relevant certifications demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and adds credibility to your profile. Certifications from recognized organizations or industry associations validate your expertise and can instill confidence in potential clients, leading to better opportunities and higher client trust.

Create a Portfolio

As you establish yourself as a reputable event decorator, it’s equally crucial to effectively showcase your work through a well-curated portfolio. Your portfolio is a visual representation of your creativity, attention to detail, and ability to bring events to life—setting you apart in the competitive event decoration industry.

Here are some tips for building a portfolio that captures the essence of your work:

  • Document your work by taking high-quality photographs of your completed projects to showcase your skills and style. Capture different angles, close-ups, and overall event setups to highlight the details of your work.
  • Include a diverse range of projects in your portfolio to demonstrate your versatility as an event decorator. Showcase different event types, themes, and styles to give potential clients a comprehensive view of your capabilities.
  • Focus on highlighting the key elements of your decor, such as centerpieces, backdrops, tablescapes, or unique installations. Emphasize the details that make your work stand out and create a memorable experience.
  • Include before and after photos to showcase the transformation you brought to the event space. This helps potential clients visualize the impact of your creative vision and the value you can add to their events.
  • Incorporate testimonials or feedback from satisfied clients to add credibility and trust to your portfolio. Positive reviews can reinforce your abilities and professionalism as an event decorator.
  • Create a professional website or online portfolio to showcase your work digitally. This allows potential clients to easily access your portfolio and get a sense of your style and expertise.

How to Start a Decorating Business

Launching your decorating business shouldn’t be a hassle now that you know how to become an event decorator. Whether you dream of curating stunning event decor, beautifying homes, or creating immersive experiences, the event industry is here to help you earn more. From crafting a solid business plan to building a strong client base, let’s explore the essential steps for how to start a decorating business.

Market Research

Since location plays a key role in your success as an event decorator, it is crucial to conduct thorough market research before launching your decorating business. Therefore, you’ll gain valuable insights into your target market, competition, and industry trends, helping you make informed decisions and develop a successful business strategy. With this knowledge, you can position your decorating business effectively—discover your unique selling point and develop a solid business strategy that resonates with your target audience.

Here are some essential steps to guide your market research process:

  • Identify Your Target Market: Determine the specific demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics of your ideal clients. Understand their preferences, needs, and pain points to tailor your services and marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Analyze the Competition: Research and analyze existing decorating businesses in your area. Identify their strengths, weaknesses, pricing strategies, and unique selling points. This analysis will help you differentiate your offerings and identify market gaps or underserved segments.
  • Assess Market Demand: Evaluate the demand for decorating services in your target market. Consider factors such as the frequency of events, demand for home decor, and the overall economic climate. This analysis will help you gauge the potential for growth and profitability in your chosen niche.
  • Stay Updated with Trends: Stay abreast of the latest trends in event decor, interior design, and related industries. Follow influential blogs, attend industry events, and explore social media platforms to gain insights into emerging styles, color palettes, and decor preferences. Incorporate these trends into your offerings to stay relevant and attract clients.
  • Seek Customer Feedback: Conduct surveys or interviews with potential clients or individuals in your target market to gather feedback on their preferences, pain points, and expectations. This feedback will help you tailor your services and marketing messages to meet their specific needs.

Business Plan and Financing

Once you’ve conducted market research for your decorating business, the next step is to create a comprehensive business plan and secure the necessary financing. This plan should include defining your business vision, mission, and goals, as well as identifying your target market and competitive advantage. In addition, conduct a SWOT analysis to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

With your business plan in place, the next step is to secure the necessary financing. Thus, financial projections to present to potential lenders or investors. Explore various options such as small business loans, grants, or investment partners to find the right funding solution for your business. While focusing on financing, make sure to address any legal considerations, such as business name registration, permits or licenses, and tax obligations. Stick with us, as we address the legal concerns further.

Legal Structure and Registration

When starting a decorating business, it’s important to determine the legal structure that best suits your needs and to complete the necessary registration processes. Most importantly, it helps to establish the legal identity of your decorating business.

Here are the key steps to consider:

  • Choose a Legal Structure: Common options include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has different implications for liability, taxes, and management. Research and consult with a legal professional to select the structure that aligns with your business goals and provides the desired level of protection.
  • Register Your Business Name: Select a unique and memorable name for your decorating business. Conduct a search to ensure it’s not already in use. Once you’ve confirmed its availability, register the name with the appropriate government agency in your jurisdiction. This step helps protect your brand and establishes your legal identity.
  • Obtain Permits and Licenses: Depending on your location and the type of decorating services you offer, you may need to obtain specific permits or licenses. Check with your local government offices or regulatory bodies to understand the requirements. Compliance with these regulations ensures that you can operate your business legally and avoid potential penalties.
  • Obtain Tax Identification Numbers: Register for the necessary tax identification numbers, such as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Sales Tax Permit. These numbers are essential for tax reporting and compliance with tax obligations. Consult with an accountant or tax professional to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements.
  • Comply with Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with any additional local regulations or zoning restrictions that may apply to your decorating business. Ensure that your operations, such as working from a home office or operating a physical storefront, comply with these regulations to avoid any legal issues.

Branding and Identity

Building a strong brand identity starts by defining your brand, including its values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Craft a compelling brand story that showcases your passion for decorating and the value you bring to your clients. Create a memorable logo and develop a consistent visual identity through colors, typography, and visual elements that align with your brand’s personality. This visual identity should be reflected across all marketing materials and online platforms.

Establishing an online presence is essential in today’s digital age, so build a professional website and social media accounts that showcase your services, portfolio, and client testimonials. Use these platforms to reach your target market by sharing valuable and engaging content, and interacting with your audience. Furthermore, provide exceptional customer experience by delivering outstanding customer service, exceeding expectations, and building positive relationships with your clients. Word-of-mouth recommendations and positive testimonials will contribute to your brand reputation.

Equipment and Supplies

You need the right equipment and supplies to deliver high-quality services. However, your role doesn’t stop at only buying them—you must also maintain, and evaluate your inventory to make adjustments as your decorating business evolves. Here are some key considerations for acquiring the necessary resources:

  • Assess specific equipment and supply needs for different services.
  • Research reputable suppliers for quality products at competitive prices.
  • Determine a budget and explore financing options if needed.
  • Prioritize quality and durability for long-term cost-effectiveness.
  • Stay updated with industry trends and attend relevant events for networking and insights.

Setting Your Value as an Event Decorator

It’s time to explore what “extra income” really means in the event industry! You can understand by first researching pricing standards in the event decorating industry to ensure your rates are competitive and align with the expertise you provide. While setting your value, you should also consider expenses, such as overhead costs, materials, labor, and profit margins. These factors will help you strike the right balance between affordability for clients and profitability for your business.

Nevertheless, you have to continually review and analyze your pricing based on market trends, client feedback, and changes in your business costs.

Here are other key considerations to help you establish fair and competitive pricing:

  • Pricing Strategies: You can choose from various pricing strategies based on your business goals. Common approaches include hourly rates, fixed project-based pricing, or a combination of both. Hourly rates are often used in the decorating industry, with the average hourly rate for event decorators in the US ranging from $20 to $50, depending on factors such as location, experience, complexity of the project, and client expectations. However, it’s important to consider the unique aspects of your business and adjust rates accordingly.
  • Value-Added Services: Consider offering additional services or packages to enhance your value proposition. This could include design consultations, customized mood boards, or assistance with sourcing materials. These value-added services can justify higher rates and differentiate you from competitors.

Define Your Event Decoration Agreement Terms

When it comes to creating contracts and managing client expectations for your decorating business, clear communication and comprehensive agreements are key. Develop well-written contracts that outline the scope of work, pricing, payment terms, timelines, and any specific terms and conditions. Consult with a legal professional to ensure your contracts are legally sound and protect the interests of both parties. From the initial consultation, be transparent about what your decorating services entail and what clients can expect.

Furthermore, set realistic expectations regarding the outcome of the project, taking into account factors such as budget, availability of materials, and the complexity of the design. Regularly update clients on progress, providing them with a clear understanding of the timeline and any potential challenges that may arise. By creating detailed contracts and setting realistic expectations, you can establish clear guidelines and minimize misunderstandings or disputes.

Marketing and Promotion

Consistency and creativity are key in your marketing efforts. Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies and adjust as necessary to ensure you are reaching your target audience and maximizing your promotional efforts.

Here are key strategies to effectively promote your services and attract clients.  

  • Build an online presence with a professional website and active social media presence. This will allow potential clients to easily discover your work, learn about your expertise, and contact you. Also, social media will help you engage with your target audience.
  • Utilize online advertising platforms to reach a wider audience. Paid advertising on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads can help you target specific demographics, increasing the visibility of your services and driving potential clients to your website or social media profiles.
  • Offer special promotions or packages to attract new clients. Providing discounts, complimentary add-ons, or bundle deals can incentivize potential clients to choose your services over competitors and can encourage repeat business from satisfied customers.
  • Network and build partnerships with industry professionals. It allows you to connect with other professionals in the industry, such as event planners, interior designers, and suppliers, and opens doors to collaborations, mentorships, and referrals. Attending industry events, trade shows, and joining professional organizations provides opportunities to meet potential collaborators and build a network of contacts.

Challenges and Solutions


As an event decorator, you may encounter various challenges in your line of work.

Here are some common challenges faced by event decorators and practical solutions to help you overcome them:

  • Tight Timelines: Events often have strict deadlines, leaving little time for preparation and execution. To overcome this challenge, create a detailed project timeline and schedule tasks accordingly. Prioritize tasks based on their importance and allocate resources effectively. Consider collaborating with a team or hiring additional help during peak periods to ensure timely completion of projects.
  • Limited Budgets: Working with limited budgets can be a challenge for event decorators. To overcome this, focus on maximizing the impact of your designs within the given budget. Explore cost-effective alternatives for materials and decorations. Build relationships with suppliers to negotiate better prices or seek sponsorship opportunities. Additionally, offer tiered pricing options to accommodate different budget levels and provide clients with flexible choices.
  • Client Expectations: Managing client expectations can be challenging, as each client may have different visions and preferences for their events. To address this, have detailed consultations with clients to understand their specific requirements and expectations. Clearly communicate the limitations and possibilities within their budget and timeline. Use visual aids like mood boards or design mock-ups to align expectations and ensure you’re on the same page. Regularly update clients on progress and involve them in the decision-making process to foster transparency and satisfaction.
  • Logistics and Venue Restrictions: Dealing with logistics and venue restrictions can pose challenges in executing your designs effectively. Thoroughly assess the event venue and its limitations beforehand. Take measurements, consider access points, and understand any restrictions or guidelines set by the venue. Plan your designs accordingly, ensuring they fit within the given space and comply with regulations. Collaborate with event coordinators and venue managers to find creative solutions and workarounds for any limitations.
  • Seasonal Demand and Workload: Event decorators often face peaks and valleys in demand throughout the year. To manage seasonal fluctuations, develop a diversified client base by targeting different types of events and industries. During slower periods, focus on marketing and networking to attract new clients and maintain a steady flow of projects. Consider offering off-season discounts or promotions to encourage bookings during quieter times.

Conclusion


The event decorating industry offers a fulfilling and rewarding side hustle for those with creativity, skill, and dedication. Throughout this article, we have explored various aspects of the event decorating industry, from establishing a strong brand and online presence to effectively managing client expectations and promoting your services. It is crucial to understand your target market, develop a unique brand identity, and communicate clearly with clients to build strong relationships and exceed their expectations.

Fortunately, the opportunities for growth and fulfillment in this industry are abundant. With perseverance and a commitment to delivering exceptional results, you can turn your passion into a thriving and successful business. And if you get to a point where you don’t know what to do with the extra cash lying around, we got you! Take the first step–leverage your artistic talents, and let your creativity shine in the world of event decoration.

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Ajoke Aminu

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