Interior designers are becoming increasingly popular in today’s world. Interior designers blend their creative minds with construction knowledge and create fabulous spaces. But how does one become an interior designer? Although a very creative and rewarding career, it can be tough to break into the industry. We highlight some of the ways to become an interior designer and how to make a successful career out of design.
Interior designing isn’t just picking the best-looking finishes and coming up with color schemes. A large portion of interior design involves researching projects, space planning, and working well with everyone involved in the project, like contractors, homeowners, and retail sources. You’ll need to have excellent planning skills in order to stick to deadlines and keep to budgets.
Do you need a degree to become an interior designer?
What kind of background in education is required to become an interior designer? Depending on the niche of interior design you’re interested in, some firms and jobs may require a bachelor’s degree in design but it is not always required. Some states require you to take an exam and acquire a license, while some states don’t require a license at all. So make sure to first look up the requirements of your state to see what is permissible. Many colleges do offer short-term interior design training and certificate programs, so if you’d like to have some sort of documentation regarding expertise check your local programs near you.
College programs often link students with internship opportunities which is a great way to get your foot in the door and start making important connections as opposed to starting out on your own and building a client base from scratch.
What does an interior designer do?
There is a distinct difference between interior design and interior decorating. Interior designers need a solid knowledge of building regulations and know how to plan out spaces. An interior decorator is someone who solely adds the furnishings to a space and has a purely aesthetic role. While interior designers also pick finishes and decorate their final spaces, they help sketch out the blueprint plans for the project, help oversee the construction and installation progress.
You’ll need a portfolio
In the creative world, your resume is physical examples of your past work, otherwise known as a portfolio. Put together a book of examples that show your past work and build a website where you can electronically send your work to potential employers and clients. Your portfolio is a great way on how to become an interior designer.
Portfolios are great if you’re looking to become part of a larger interior design firm, and especially if you’re going to strike out on your own. Your clients are going to need examples of past jobs to know your style, abilities, and range of knowledge.
Your portfolio site should be clean, clear, and to the point. Make your portfolio easily navigable with a clear contact form in order for clients to be able to easily reach you. For both digital and physical forms of your book, make sure to include a wide range of work but make sure it is your absolute best work. Your portfolio is how you’re going to sell yourself to clients and win jobs, so you need to show off the best of your abilities.
Types of interior design
Like any industry there are different types of interior design instead of a one size fits all job description.
You can choose to have multiple specialties or only a few that suit your interests and talent level.
There is the typical residential interior design that focuses on redefining the spaces of personal homeowners, anything from kitchens, bedrooms to basements and garages.
Some people specialize in commercial design which would focus on designing modern and functional office spaces, or retail stores for local businesses.
If you have a specific design style in mind that can also be your niche. Historical interior design is also int’s own category because it requires a great deal of period knowledge as well as navigating the restrictions and rules that come with restoring historical properties.
Check this site out to learn more about how different construction-related roles are managed.
How much does an interior designer make?
Interior designers can make a lot of money, especially when they’ve been in the industry for many years and have established a solid client base, although your salary will depend heavily upon where you live.
In the United States, an established professional interior designer can make up to $90,000 or more in a year, while the average salary from beginner designers is anywhere from $27,000 to the mid $50,000 range.
The salary projection was expected to increase by 2028, however, with the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, the interior design industry is expected to be affected and jobs might become more difficult to acquire and complete.
How to find jobs as an interior designer
You don’t necessarily need to be an entrepreneur as an interior designer, here are some other ways you can find solid and consistent work in your field:
- Reach out to specific firms that hire for interior designers and contract you out to help on projects for their client list.
- Reach out to showrooms
- Research construction companies in your area and see if they’re looking for extra help on their design team.
- Large companies and corporations typically have their own design teams, see if any are hiring or reach out to build your network.
Interior design can be an incredibly rewarding career field. It’s a versatile industry that allows you to choose different streams of creative work based on your preference and areas that you easily excel. There’s a lot more that goes into the interior design world than selecting throw pillows and color palettes, although that is also a component of the job. Make sure you know the expectations required of you before delving into this industry. Be prepared to manage extra responsibilities such as managing budgets, communications with contractors, clients, and homeowners, and inspecting the complete construction work to make sure it aligns with your original designs.
While education isn’t everything in this industry, who you know can greatly help you secure jobs. Start networking and putting your portfolio together to show your clients what you’re capable of and how you can help them.