Interior Decorator Skills And Qualifications
Interior decorators work closely with clients to choose decorative elements for rooms or entire houses. Most professionals possess the following skills:
- Design skills – interior decorators are well-versed in the principles and practices of design, and know how to balance color, flow, and unity to ensure that all decorative elements work cohesively
- Creativity – this role requires a high level of creativity, as interior decorators need to come up with creative ways to reinvent spaces, which can include selecting new furniture or updating finishes
- Client service – interior decorators need excellent client service skills and the ability to make changes to ideas and rooms to accommodate the client’s wishes throughout the decoration process
- Financial management – interior decorators must keep their projects within the client’s budget while also maintaining profitability for their own business
- Communication skills – effective communication is key in this role, as interior decorators work with clients and direct the activities of contractors
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
Masters Degrees For Interior Designers
Interior design programs are also offered at the masters degree level. Like post-baccalaureate certificates, masters degrees in interior design may be used to prepare job changers for a successful career in the field or to advance and refine the skills interior designers already have.
Graduate School Specializations in Interior Design
Some masters degrees in this field are intended to advance a designers knowledge in a specialized area. Examples of specialized masters degree options in interior design include architectural lighting design, healthcare interior design and sustainable interior environments.
Professional-focused interior design masters degrees are often non-thesis programs, while Master of Fine Arts programs are more likely to require students to prepare a thesis of some sort.
Business-Focused Masters Degrees for Interior Designers
Some interior designers go to graduate school with a slightly different focus. The business side of interior design work is important, particularly for self-employed designers who, the BLS reported, comprise nearly a third of the occupation. An undergraduate degree in the arts or in design may not equip you with the skills to run and manage your own interior design business. Designers who want to strike out on their own or who have started a company but arent sure how to grow it successfully may decide to go back to school to better understand business.
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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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Creativity And Artistic Ability
Design is, above all, a creative venture. If you want to be an interior designer or decorator, you need a good eye for visual aesthetics and what design elements, colors, and finishes go well together. You may also need to draw on creativity in thinking about other ways to use or adjust the space itself.
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Three: Practice Those Decorating Skills
Although your professional training will teach you how to be an interior decorator and run your very own business, its practice that will truly make you perfect! So, we recommend getting as much of that as possible especially before you jump head-first into booking paying clients.
After all, paying clients will expect nothing short of the very best from you. In order to achieve those desired results, youll want to have some experience under your belt first.
Why not start by offering complimentary interior decorating services to your closest friends and family? You can also use your own home to try out different techniques and styles youve mastered during your schooling. Another possible option is to take part in a stylized photoshoot, or lend your expertise to some sort of charitable cause.
Keep in mind, you likely wont be getting paid for the above services. However, the knowledge and skills youll acquire will more than make up for any amount of money you wouldve made. Trust me when I tell you: in the world of interior decorating, hands-on experience is just as valuable as money especially in the beginning of your career!
Build A Great Portfolio
With a creative career like this, a portfolio will do more for you than a degree, in most cases. Your degree can help with your portfolio, however, as you will have projects to add from your college years.
Its necessary to work on projects you can show off to potential clients. Creating your portfolio online and showcases samples of your work can go a very long way. You can also use social media platforms to help find new clients with your portfolio.
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Did You Go To School
I always get a little panicky when I receive the DM’s that say “you’ve inspired me to switch my major to interior design” because I’m not a designer and I did not go to school for decorating . Interior decorating, unlike design, does not require a license or degree. I just really love to decorate.
Fun fact: I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Develop Skills And Keep Up With Trends
There’s more to becoming an interior decorator than getting certified. A good interior decorator should constantly work to improve their skills , and they should also be knowledgeable about the trends in their industry. A solid skill-set makes you better able to visualize a client’s goals, and having up-to-date knowledge of trends in interior decorating means you’ll be able to present your clients with the best options for their space. Attending trade shows, reading industry magazines, and following industry leaders are all good ways of staying current.
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Research The Profession Thoroughly
Before deciding this is the career path for you, be sure to research it thoroughly. As detailed in this post, interior decorating and interior designing are two different things. Ask yourself if you know the difference and which is the path for you. Also, make sure you understand that there are different pathways to start.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- What is an interior designer? What is an interior decorator?
- Am I okay with not being a part of the design process as an interior decorator?
- Do I want to go to school for this? Earn a certificate?
- How will I develop a portfolio?
- Who do I know that I can network with?
- Who do I know that will let me decorate their space?
- Are there any firms near me looking for interior decorators?
- Will this career choice fund the lifestyle I want?
While some of these questions are not specific to the interior decorating career path, they are important to research and understand before moving forward with any career.
Obtain A Business License
Every business requires a business license. It is important to get a business license from the place you want to operate your decorating business. If you decide to work from home, it is important to check on business license requirements to ensure you run your business legally.
When you get the proper licenses for your business, you can get discounts on materials and gain credibility as a formal business. Most interior decorator businesses have an occupational license. This is a license that your local government issues, which permits individuals to operate a business after ensuring they meet all the standards. You can get the license from your township and city.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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Why Interior Decorating Is It Your Career
I’ve always been artistic anything that gives me the freedom to be creative makes me feel most like myself. I took interest in decorating when my husband and I bought our first home in 2017. I felt like my walls were a giant blank canvas and I could paint anything I wanted. Even 2 years and a fully decorated house later, I still constantly switch out decor, colors, and furniture whenever I think of something new to do. I love the feeling of coming home to a cozy space that makes me happy and I love being able to help other people experience that feeling in their homes. Interior decorating is my career–kind of. It more so just plays a major part of my “main” career on social media as a content creator and influencer.
Get A Bachelors Degree
You dont need a degree to work as an interior decorator. However, it can be helpful to give you the skills you need, along with the credentials.
There are many things you can learn by getting a degree before working at an interior decorator. Some of the types of courses you can take include:
- Graphic communication You can learn the way visual materials work together through photographs, drawings, sketches, and more.
- Space planning With this type of course, you will learn how to organize space and work within the space given to you.
- Computer-aided drafting A great choice for interior decorators, computer-aided drafting can help you learn the right computer software for this job. You will be able to analyze, modify, create, and optimize designs within the program.
- Color theory Learning about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors can help you with the creative side of interior decorating.
- Ethics Learn all about the moral principles of business and how to make sure your clients welfare comes first.
You will also study things like interior construction, the history of interior design, and more. Getting a bachelors degree in interior design should be certified by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It can also be certified by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
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Where Are Interior Designers Most Needed
After crunching the numbers, the data revealed that Washington, D.C. is the top city for interior designers. Rounding out the top ten were four Southern cities: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami and other cities scattered across the US: Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, and Boston.
How To Become An Interior Decorator: All You Need To Know
Becoming an interior decorator is a difficult process. You need to learn many skills. You may mix the position of interior decorator and interior designer easily. But interior decorators generally don’t have the same background in architectural design that interior designers are required to have. These are two different fields requiring different degrees and certifications. Before you make decisions, you can read this article carefully as a reference.
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Salaries And Job Growth
The median salary for Interior designers is $51,500 per year. The job outlook for this profession is good, with an expected growth rate of 4% between 2022 and 2028. This means that there will be plenty of opportunities for those looking to enter the field. Depending on the clients budget and the scope of the project, designers may work on a freelance basis or as part of a design firm.
Find Relevant Interior Designer Jobs And Apply It
An NCIDQ Certification and an excellent portfolio are indispensable when applying for jobs. The portfolio may involve an internship component that will give you some experience and help you start making contacts in the industry.
Most colleges can offer a lot of support when it comes to finding jobs. That support can make it much easier to launch your interior design career once you finish school.
Anyway, interior design is a competitive business. If you fail many times, this is normal, just keep trying and don’t give up.
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Install And Arrange Decorations
The interior decorator determines where to place the selected furniture and fixtures. In this aspect of the role, the interior decorator considers both aesthetic and practical considerations, with particular emphasis on unity and flow. After initially placing decorative elements, the interior decorator may fine-tune and rearrange the room on their own or with client input.
Start As A Contractor
Consider starting out as a contractor to learn the business side of the industry. From there, you can build clientele and start adding projects to your portfolio. Many new interior designers start as private contractors, and while new contractors may lack the networking opportunities of an established design firm, they have the advantage of starting from the beginning. You can build your client base around people you enjoy working for, take only projects you like and determine your salary.
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Interior Decorator Salary And Career Path
The career outlook for Interior Decorators is expected to grow at a fast pace through the year 2026.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be a 19% increase in employment opportunities.
However, competition will be intense as there are many creative people who want to go into this field.
Some candidates will benefit from specializing in one aspect of interior decorating, for example, a candidate can specialize in the bathroom or kitchen design.
Many professionals in the industry do this in order to stand out to potential clients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports wages and salaries for Interior Decorators.
The national median wage for these professionals in 2019 was approximately $60,990 per year.
Wages can depend on the niche an Interior Decorator works in, whether they are self-employed and the industry they work in.
In 2019, the salary range for all Interior Decorators was between $31k and $96k.
The below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.
How To Become An Interior Decorator With No Prior Experience
Want to know how to become an interior decorator if you dont have any prior experience? In the beginning, you might be overwhelmed on where to start. You know you have an eye for design, and you cant wait to put your creativity to the test. But you dont have any professional experience yet. So, how do you turn your passion into paid work?
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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.
Continue To Enhance Your Design Learning
Once you graduate from design school and take the NCIDQ exam , your education should not stop there. Keep your design knowledge fresh and maintain your competitive edge by seeking out continuing education opportunities. Sign up for design or business courses online through sites like AEC Daily. Audit a class that helps you with practical application of design theory. Take the LEED exam and become a LEED accredited professional for Interior Design and Construction. Learning the ins and outs of environmentally sustainable design, building, and construction practices likely will make you a more attractive job applicant at a design firm over a candidate who lacks this knowledge.
Be conscientious to constantly evolve yourself as a designer by staying current with interior design trends. Subscribe to design mags like AD and Interior Design or specialized trade publications like Hospitality Design. Read designer and design association blogs. Follow tastemakers on social media. Download design apps, such as Houzz, which provides a vast marketplace of interior design products Hutch, which offers a daily design challenge and allows you to complete the design for a hypothetical client scenario and 1stDibs, Incollect, or Chairish, which are valuable resources for highly coveted vintage and rare artisan finds.
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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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