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What Do You Need To Become An Interior Decorator

Learn Interior Design By Doing

How To Become A (Self-Taught) Interior Designer / Decorator / Creative Professional

Working at an internship while still in school is imperative for ascertaining real-life practical experience, and helps position you for success post-graduation. For those still in college and trying to figure out what kind of career they want to pursue, I would 100% recommend looking for internships at design firms. Internships allow you to not only get experience and build your resume, but also to figure out if this is where you can see yourself in the future, Ames Noble says.

Headley echoes a similar sentiment: Paid internships are extremely valuable for students to be able to take what theyve learned in the classroom and apply it in a practical way. Making that connection from what youve done in a studio project to how it applies in a real-world application is something that will fully prepare you for a full-time job after graduation.

The designer adds: Another aspect of internships is simply learning how to navigate an office environment. Everything from how to write an articulate, efficient email to tracking your time on multiple projects is key to being successful. Firms are more likely to hire you if they know youve already been exposed to these areas of development prior to graduating.

Interior Design And Interior Decorating Courses

Technical training will include classes on form, space planning and ergonomics, using sophisticated computer-aided drafting tools such as AutoCAD. These will teach you the fundamentals of preparing drawings, layouts and presentations that you can take to your clients.

On the creative end, classes like global influence, environmental awareness and the relationship between people and their spaces can help you recognize or create interior design trends. Theyll help you explore your own unique creativity as well as identify historical design patterns that can be applied to modern or contemporary interior design. These classes will vary from college to college.

Essential Skills Every Interior Designer Needs

Those who want to go into a creative field might first consider getting a degree in motion graphics or decide they want to take an online fashion designing course. But an interior design career can be highly rewarding and will allow you to follow your passions in a creative way. Also, the industry is huge and on the rise. By 2018, revenues of interior design services in the United States are projected to reach approximately 12 billion U.S. dollars!

However, individuals who pursue interior design careers do need a specific skill set in order to be successful. If you’re wondering just how to become an interior designer, pursuing a degree at interior decorating schools — like our program here at FIDM — will give you the tools and experience required. Whether you have a natural aptitude or need to work hard to acquire this skill set, you’ll need the following for a fruitful interior design career:

A creative eye and attention to detail

First and foremost, you’ll need to be highly creative. You’ll be expected to design spaces for all sorts of clients. Although having a point of view can be an asset, you’ll also need to be very adaptable. You’ll also have to focus on both the little details and the big picture simultaneously to craft cohesive spaces. While creativity is not the sole requirement for this job, it’s certainly a prerequisite.

Trend identification

Knowledge of sustainable practices

Superior communication

Sketching ability and computer knowledge


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Am I Too Young To Become An Interior Decorator

When it comes to learning basic interior decorating techniques and building a good foundation for professional training, you are never too young!

Any person with a passion for coordinating details and celebrating style and expression should begin practicing whenever they can. In fact, the younger you start decorating your own spaces , the more time you have to improve and explore your skills.

Its true that many interior decorating programs or colleges require you to be at least 18 to enroll. There are some, however, that understand how the passion for décor can start at a younger age. Some programs accept students as young as 16, as long as a parent or legal guardian is willing to sign a consent form giving them permission to enroll.

In most places, interior decorating is an unregulated profession. If you wish to branch out into interior design and actually change the physical structure of a room, however, youll be required to complete additional training and become legally licensed. This doesnt mean you cant train as an interior decorator or begin developing your décor skills earlier to gain experience until youre old enough to train and consider licensing.

Associate Degree Or Bachelors Degree

Do You Have What it Takes To Become an Interior Designer?

Most design firms require designers to hold at least an undergraduate degree. Students wishing to enter the field should verify that the program they are considering is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

These 10 U.S. schools are renowned worldwide for their interior design programs:

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury University of California, Berkeley Extension University of California, Los Angeles University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Architecture Florida International University The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida International Academy of Design & Technology, Tampa, Florida West Valley College, Saratoga, California Interior Designers Institute, Newport Beach, California

Here is a summary of the curricula covered by most associate and bachelors degree programs in interior design:

Two-year Associate Degree Programs

The first year of associate level programs generally covers the fundamentals of design and basic skills in both hand drawing and digital drawing. The focus of the second year is typically on more specialized topics such as architectural lighting, color theory, furniture history, and introductory business and marketing concepts.

Common coursework includes the following:

Four-year Bachelors Degrees

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Upon Graduation Pass The National Council For Interior Design Qualification Exam And Get An Interior Design License

While not all states require interior designers to be licensed, you need to make sure, because several states will prohibit unlicensed designers from doing any interior design work. Some other states allow both to work, but will only allow licensed professionals to use the interior designer title.

To become a licensed interior designer, you will need to pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. This is a state-approved exam that you must qualify for with a combination of education and experience, typically a minimum of a bachelors degree and two years of on-the-job training.

As we mentioned, the requirements do vary by state, so make sure to look into your state requirements. For example, California residents must take the California Council for Interior Design Certification exam.

There are also some voluntary certifications you can get if you have a business that focuses on one specialty of interior design. These are commonly available through professional and trade associations and are a good way to make your business look better with a certified seal of approval from a trusted organization.

Creative And Technical Skills

Every interior designer is responsible for visualizing a clients needs and transforming those abstract ideas into functional and attractive interiors. This process requires both creative and technical work:

  • Applying the concepts of color theory
  • Balancing sensory elements with visceral and visual experiences in an interior
  • Creating two and three-dimensional design techniques

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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.

Prepare Relevant Skills For Interior Designer

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

1. Creative and Technical

Visualizing the clients goals and transforming them into an attractive and functional interior environment is necessary for every interior designer. This is creative and technical work. They apply concepts of color theory, two and three-dimensional design techniques, and the addition of sensory elements to balance the visual and visceral experience of a room.

2. Communication skill

An interior designer must be extremely comfortable with meeting new people and collaborating with a wide variety of different personalities. Exceptional verbal, visual, and written communication skills to work with collaborators and clients are crucial.

3. Project Management

Superior project and time management skills are pivotal in interior designers daily work. Since youll likely be working on more than one project simultaneously under strict deadlines, its crucial that you develop the ability to multitask well and stay organized.

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How Long Does It Take To Become An Interior Decorator

The amount of time it takes to become an interior decorator will depend on a few factors. If youre planning to receive a formal education, this can take anywhere from a few weeks to years, depending on the program. Other time constraints include whether youre planning to be self-employed or search for a firm. If choosing a firm, then it may take time for the interview process and to locate a well-qualified one in your area.

In the end, becoming an interior decorator can take as little as a month and as much as years, depending on the route you take.

Quickest Method: If youre looking to get started immediately, you will want to forgo the formal education and try to locate your first client immediately. Building a portfolio that shines will be the key to acquiring new business.

Medium-Length Method: Obtaining a certificate is a nice medium option that promises the shortest amount of time spent on education while establishing credibility with clients. Certificates are usually obtained via short programs and will give a brief overview of everything you need to know without spending years doing so.

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Reach Out To Other Decorators

This is a competitive field, but it’s rare to meet a designer who isn’t willing to share information, advice, and tools of the trade. Overall, it’s a friendly bunch and people want to help others in the field as much as possible. Of course, always be willing to pay forward or back any kindness shown to you.

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Tips For Entering The Wonderful World Of Design

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The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

If you are interested in becoming an interior decorator, it’s important to know what the career path entails. You’re probably wondering how to get started as well.

A successful decorator does much more than pick out pretty fabrics and rearrange furniture. In a typical day, they may deal with cabinet spacing, steer a homeowner away from a budget-blowing item, track down a missing tile installer, work on a seasonal installation for a business storefront, make a presentation in front of an architectural review boardand the list goes on.

But how does a decorator or a person get to this point? There are a few key points that can help you understand how to become a decorator and what it takes to be a successful one. However, good decorators know that decorating is a wonderful journey and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge!

First of all, it’s good to understand that an interior decorator is not an interior designer. These are two different fields requiring different degrees and certifications.

Think Before You Do: Whether Is It Worth To Be An Interior Decorator

Why You Need an Interior Designer

Becoming an interior decorator is a smart career choice for creative types with a clever color sense, smart space planning skills and an appreciation for chic design styles. Here are the perks of being an interior decorator.

Besides, one of the most dominant discrepancies between interior decorators and interior designers are the latter need to deal with interiors during the construction or remodeling process and must battle to keep builders on schedule. But interior decorators are mainly hired to decorate existing spaces without hassling with construction crews.

Conversely, interior decorators are restricted to just decorating and they can’t make any architectural changes.

When choosing a career, you must consider pros and cons. If you think pros outweigh cons, it is sensible to take it.

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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.

How To Become An Interior Decorator: Skills Education Salaries And Outlook

Interior decorators have an eye for color and can improve the aesthetics and functionality of interior spaces. These professionals play a vital role in the home construction and remodeling industry, where they use their creative skills to improve living and working spaces.

In this article, we discuss how you can become an interior decorator and provide information on both the skills and education required by the job as well as salaries and the job outlook in the field of interior design.

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How To Become A Certified Professional Interior Decorator


If you are interested in becoming a certified interior decorator , there are specific career goals that you can set to become licensed in interior design. Key steps include finding an accredited university degree program, and arranging to work under a certified designer for at least two years.

Interior Design Job Growth Prospects And Outlook


Those considering interior design as a career can take heart knowing the industry is robust, with projections of 13 percent growth between 2012 and 2022. Those specializing in environmental design will be on the forefront of this growth, with interest in sustainability expected to lead the charge towards further developing the field. Another important area will be accessibility design, a field emphasizing the importance of creating spaces that can be easily navigated.

Top 10 states projected to grow the most between 2012 and 2022 :

Curious about growth in your state for this career? Select a state below for more information about employment and job growth for interior designers.

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Interior Decorating Program Faqs

What are the top qualities of a good interior decorator?

A good interior decorator is someone who has an eye for color and design, strong communication and customer services skills, and the ability to take charge of a project. Most interior decorators are also creative, able to imagine and implement a variety of design concepts to suit various client needs.

Where can I work as an interior decorator?

Interior decorators can work for licensed interior designers, building and construction companies, retail stores, or even start their own businesses. Many decorators will work in a variety of environments depending on the project they’re working on, from decorating a residential home to playing a part in designing a retail space.

How long does it take to become an interior decorator?

You can train to become an interior decorator in as little as 9 months with Penn Foster’s online Interior Decorating classes. Depending on your experience and career goals, you may choose to pursue on-the-job training or certifications to strengthen your decorator resume.

Is interior decorating a good career?

Interior decorators play an important role in making the spaces we see and use every day comfortable and welcoming. Entry-level interior decorators can earn an average starting salary of $39,107 per year, according to national data from Payscale.1

What’s the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer?


Who Is An Interior Designer

An interior designer works on the architecture and design of interior space to create aesthetically pleasing, cohesive, and functional designs. Their work encompasses businesses, home interiors, and other built spaces. Some interior designers specialize in specific areas of design, such as:

  • Corporate office spaces
  • Focused rooms designs
  • Commercial interiors

Interior designers enhance the look of an interior space as well as address the functionality and safety of rooms. Furniture, textures, colors, and lighting make up the style factors in interior design. These professionals also plot the location of light switches, electrical outlets, doors, and windows. Interior designers find many employment opportunities in public and private spaces such as shopping malls, offices, residences, schools, and hospitals.

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Education & Training For An Interior Decorator

You can work as an interior decorator without formal qualifications, but employers usually require Year 10. You will probably get some informal training on the job.Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Will You Be A Good Decorator

How to Become an Interior Designer in 4 Simple Steps «

If you think you have some design sense, but little experience, you might be wondering if there’s a way to tell if you’ll be a good interior decorator. The great news is that there is! Just ask yourself a few questions:

  • When you walk into a home or a business, do you visualize or imagine what would make the space better?
  • Do you have a good eye for color and/or a strong color memory?
  • Do you like working with people?
  • Have you decorated your own home extensively or had other hands-on experience? Did you enjoy it?

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