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How Can I Become An Interior Decorator

Academic Paths For Interior Designers


Those in the field must possess creativity, technical proficiency, and business acumen to be truly successful. Thankfully, myriad interior design programs exist and instill these skills at every degree level. Interior design programs are offered at the associate to doctoral level and professional certificates are also available for continuing education. Many degree programs provide an array of concentrations, allowing students to hone their skills on a specific area, such as kitchen design or environmentally sustainable materials.

The chart below can help potential students understand which degree best matches their career goals.

Is Interior Decorating The Better Path For You

So, now that you know the difference between these two career paths, which one is right for you?

If youre interested in both the aesthetic and functional aspects of design, then interior design is the right path for you. However, if youre only interested in the aesthetic aspects of design, then interior decorating is the right path for your career goals.

Whats more, interior decorating is the better option if you dont want to spend 2 to 4 years in school or if youre unable to take the NCIDQ exam.

On that note, lets take a closer look at how the educational requirements for interior decorators varies from interior designers

Do You Need A Degree To Work In Interior Decorating

Generally, interior decorating does not require a formal education resulting in a college degree.

You can get an associates or bachelors degree in interior design, but this is more specialized and suited for those who want to learn design software as well. However, a degree can help you set yourself ahead of the job competition by giving you the skills and knowledge to work for a professional decorating service or at a design or architecture firm.

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Establish Your Brand Identity

Defining your own brand is vital to positioning yourself as a proficient interior designer. Recognize how you see yourself as a designer, and think about how others view you or how you want others to perceive you. Whats your unique value proposition that distinguishes you from competitors? What are your goals as a designer? Who is your target audience? Pondering these questions can help you to clearly delineate your personal brand.

Next is translating it visually into a website, social media profiles, and your portfolio. Make sure your brand accurately reflects your style and sensibility as a designer. For example, where applicable, employ colors, typography, and imagery thats true to your aesthetic. Focus on the details and be consistent with your brand message across all channels of communicationbe it online, in person, via email, or phone. How you dress, act, speak, and write all should align with your personal brand. Visitors to your website should have an immediate sense of who you are as a designer, and your skills and accomplishments should speak loud and clear. This is no time to be humble. Show off who you are and put your best foot forward.

According to Headley, Networking is definitely the key to advancing your career in an industry such as interior design. And LinkedIn can be a valuable tool. She offers a few tips when using the professional networking site:

How To Become An Interior Designer

How do I become an interior designer? This post answers whether it is ...

If you are considering a career as an interior designer, you are in for a fulfilling and exciting journey!

Interior designers play an important role in the lives of their clients, helping them to create attractive and practical spaces that meet their needs. But how to become an interior designer? What skills and training do you need to become successful in this field?

Well, in this in-depth article, I will answer these questions and more. So, get ready to learn more about this fascinating profession!

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Components Of A Successful Interior Design Career: Skills Credentials Tools And Technology

Interior Design Skills

In addition to an innate sense of style and creativity when selecting design elements for clients, the most important skill interior designers can possess is the ability to communicate and listen well. At the core of their role, designers must be able to understand their clients’ desires and translate those to design teams, engineers and other professionals working on the project. Designers should be able to look at any space and visualize how different components will come together. The free flow of ideas is essential, as they may need to pitch numerous designs before landing on the winner. Strong problem-solving skills go a long way when keeping projects within the stated budget and timeline.

Interior Design Credentials

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification is the most recognized certification of interior designers. Operating in a similar fashion as the legal profession’s bar exam, in many states this qualification is required before students can begin practicing interior design. Students considering this career should research their state’s regulations fully.

Other bodies offering designation include the American Society of Interior Designers and Certified Interior Designers . While prestigious, these do not meet the same regulatory requirements as the NCIDQ.

Many organizations also offer specialty designations in areas such as healthcare, residential kitchen and bath, remodeling and green building.

  • Adobe Illustrator

Learn From A Professional

Like many other jobs, the best way to start a career is to learn from someone with years of experience. You can take either a paid or unpaid internship or search for a full-time position as a beginner.

When you learn from and work under a professional interior decorator, you will immediately start learning the real ins and outs of the interior decorating world. You will do everything that is needed to bring a decorating project to life from its ideas and inception to the complete finished product for the client. Furthermore, when you learn from a professional interior decorator, you will be given a jump start into the interior decorating industry.

Learning from a professional will also give you real-world experience that you can use later in your career to get other interior decorating jobs, grow your client base, and add to your portfolio of work.

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Creativity And Unique Style

Creativity in the interior design industry is a vital skill to have. Although different designers have distinct styles, you can integrate your unique style into your work to express your creativity. Common interior design trends and templates eventually expire, but you can remain relevant by developing your individual style. Ensure you allow your personality and passion to be expressed in your designs. Dedicate time and energy to your creative process to ensure you consistently deliver the best ideas.

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Bachelors Degree In Fine Arts Or Visual Art

How To Become An Interior Designer [Without a Degree or Going Back to School]

Interior design schools and programs prepare students primarily for work specific to the interior design career. For students who arent completely sold on this path, a broader field of study can be appealing.

Students who major in fine arts or in visual art still study the design theory and art history aspects found in interior design, even though they may not delve into wall and flooring finishes, textile selection and decorative accessories specifically. They also put together a portfolio of their artistic creations which, while they may not pertain to commercial and residential spaces directly, still serve to express the students artistic flair.

The interior design subject matter that is primarily missing from an art degree involves the technical aspects of space planning, drawing with computer-aided design software and learning building codes and processes. Still, fine arts subjects are common choices of study for many new interior designers, according to the BLS.

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Understand Interior Designer Descriptions And Responsibilities

Interior designers design and create living and working spaces for a variety of clients, either as freelancers or as part of a design firm. They usually have their sense of decorating rooms and arranging furniture and have an innate flair for color, spatial arrangements, architecture and textiles.

Interior designers are in charge of space planning and product research, coordinating with project stakeholders and establishing timelines, and finally overseeing construction and executing the design.

Develop The Right Skills

You dont necessarily need a degree to become an interior decorator. With the right skills and an attractive portfolio, you can land many clients in this career. Some of the many important skills you should develop include:

  • Organizational skills Quite a bit of organization will go into a project like this. As an interior decorator, you will need to stay very organized or it will look like total chaos for your clients.
  • Creative skills This is a career for a creative person. You will want to develop your knowledge with texture, color, using light, and other creative skills that apply to decorating.
  • Communicationskills Working with people requires excellent communication skills. You will need to communicate with clients and with vendors. Its important to know how to clearly communicate with those you work with and for.

Develop these skills and youll be in a better place to become an interior decorator.

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What Is The Job Outlook For Interior Decorators

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics is the definitive source for occupational information in the United States. Because the BLS lacks a separate entry for interior decorators, it isn’t possible to cite official statistics relating to job growth. Instead we’ll look at the job outlook for interior design, as the BLS description of the field strongly overlaps with the job description for interior decorating.

The BLS estimates the interior design sector will experience a 5% decline between 2019-2029. The trend is likely to affect interior decoration and other related professions. In fact, the art and design field is expected to decline by 4%, according to the BLS. Improving your skills will increase your prospects of securing interior decoration jobs. Your ability to network and sell yourself will matter as the industry becomes increasingly competitive.

Learn As Much As You Can Because Competition Is Tough

Can I become an Interior designer in 3 months?

Some careers have little competition, but interior decoration isnt one of them. Its why taking a course and learning from a professional with experience should be two of your top priorities. Most professionals have years of experience with a long, elegant portfolio, and this is your competition.

Your competition is what will take clients from you. Your education will give you an advantage over them since these courses teach you many of the tricks of the trade that cant be taught by self-learning. In every career, there is an essence of trial and error, so be ready to make mistakes. However, the right course and experience will help you avoid many of the common mistakes that new interior decorators make.

Once you get over those first-year hurdles, you can start to make a rewarding career. Interior decorators can enjoy years in the industry, and the good news is that fashion changes seasonally, which means you get to learn new techniques and decorating ideas every year. Your clients will appreciate your hard work and effort, and before long youll have a beautiful portfolio that beats the competition.

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The Differences Between Interior Design And Interior Decorating

People often use the terms interior decorator and interior designer interchangeably, but these terms dont mean exactly the same thing. Before you resolve to become an interior designer or an interior decorator, you need to know the distinctions between these career goals and figure out which path is right for you.

Tips On How To Become An Interior Decorator

If you happen to receive constant stream of compliments regarding the way you design your own home and how good your taste is when it comes to shaping up interiors, then a career as an interior designer might just be waiting for you. Though its not an easy task, becoming a professional interior decorator only requires you have an eye for fashion, an intuitive sense of style and the ability to adapt and create/recreate. Here are some simple and easy tips that could help you start your journey towards a whole new career

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What Is An Interior Decorator

An interior decorator is a professional in the housing industry who helps improve the aesthetics of rooms and other interior spaces. Unlike interior designers, who need to be skilled in architecture, interior decorators focus solely on beautifying and enhancing the function of living and work spaces.

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Certification For Interior Designers


The first step in becoming a certified interior designer is researching the rules and regulations in the state you intend to work. Once you ascertain what is required by your state, you can list your potential employers and look into any additional requirements that they may have. Most states that offer licensing, certification, and registration for interior designing require passing the National Council of Interior Design Qualification examination. You need to meet specific educational and work experience criteria before taking it.

Certification can:

  • Teach you essential design principles and elements
  • Provide industry tips and tricks
  • Introduce you to the latest technology used in interior design

Certification holders are also more likely to qualify for better job opportunities as they stand out from other job seekers. Interior design certification programs typically take a year or less to complete. Factors that influence this timeline include:

  • The flexibility of your schedule
  • Your skillset
  • Amount of time you have to devote to the program
  • When the courses are available

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Be The Best Designer You Can Be

But thats not all we also have The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox: Checklists and Best Practices to Manage Your Workflow, the Universal Principles of Interior Design: 100 Ways to Develop Innovative Ideas, Enhance Usability, and Design effectively and The Interior Design Handbook: Furnish, Decorate, and Style Your Space all available online in 2022.

How To Become An Interior Designer: All You Need To Know

Becoming an interior designer is a good option if you are fascinated by beautiful things and full of creativity. You can associate imagination with real things and create delicate products. With the industry projected to continue growing, the time is right to consider a career as an interior designer.

Before you choose your career as an interior designer, you need to consider it. Below are some important steps for you to follow.

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What Types Of Careers Can I Work Towards As An Interior Decorator

While you can certainly remain working as an interior decorator, you can also use these same skills for a few other careers. Home staging is a popular option. You will work with real estate agents and firms to make their homes look better for listing pictures in this career.

You can also go into professional organizing. This type of career allows you to help people with decluttering and re-organizing. You might also help with decorating the space once the organizing has been done.

Another career you can go into is one as a color consultant. This type of career will allow you to help clients choose the right paint colors. You will likely work in the commercial sector helping businesses choose the right colors for their interior areas.

If you want to become an interior decorator, you will want to use the steps above. There isnt a clear-cut path for this career. You might need a degree or you may enter into this field without any formal education.

As an interior decorator, there are so many things you can do to help your clients. You can work for yourself or you can work for an agency. This type of career can be very rewarding. Make sure you understand how to become an interior decorator if you think this is the right career for you.

Jordan Fabel

Where Does An Interior Designer Work

What Do I Need To Become An Interior Designer

Interior designers work in a variety of settings. Most work in real estate, architecture, furnishing, or infrastructure. They may also work for retail stores, design firms, or design departments of significant institutions and industries. Their typical work environment is an office setting.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , most interior designers work for large firms in well-lit and comfortable office-based environments. However, they may also meet with clients in their homes or places of business.

Often, interior designers have their own business, whereas others specialize in hospitals, hotel rooms, houses, banks, or other specific domains. In the infrastructure industry, they may be in charge of:

  • Developing the interiors of a building using software such as CAD
  • Modeling interiors of buildings
  • Checking for compliance to building and structural codes
  • Rooting out safety issues

When working with architecture firms, they are responsible for designing buildings according to a clients request or collaborating with other designers to materialize a clients vision.

Interior designers can also find employment in real estate. For example, they advise customers on decorating their newly-bought houses to make them a home. Another way interior designers work with realtors is by staging an empty home with furniture and décor. Staged homes help potential buyers visualize living in that home.

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Establishing Yourself In Your Career

  • 1Expect to work with people. You must be a people person and a people pleaser. Practice patience and a non-stop willingness to help. Be prepared to work with dream clients, as well as ones who are indecisive or demanding.XResearch source
  • 2Join a professional association. Check out groups like the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Interior Design Association. Join the Designer Society of America to be entered into a searchable database that matches you with potential clients, and receive a free online portfolio.XResearch source These organizations help you to network and continue your professional development throughout your career.
  • 3Expect to work as an apprentice at first. Before you can get licensed, the National Council of Interior Design Qualification requires you to work for 1,760 hours after you receive your degree. To fulfill this requirement, seek out experienced designers to work with. Get recommendations from your professors or campus career center. If you’re not in school, make connections through a professional association.
  • 4Get licensed. States’ licensing standards vary but usually include sitting for a certification examination from the NCIDQ. Take advantage of any test prep workshops your school offers. The NCIDQ website provides information on testing and how to become an interior designer in the United States.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
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