How to Become an Interior Designer

Becoming an interior designer can be a great career choice if you’re into aesthetics and enjoy making people’s lives more comfortable and stylish through design. But if you’ve never been in this line of work before, it can seem like an overwhelming decision to start this type of career from scratch. Even if you know some people who are already designers or have heard about what interior designers do, it can still be hard to figure out how to get started on your own in this career path.

What Does the Role Involve

Interior designers work closely with clients to discover their wants and needs for particular spaces and will bring their vision to life. Interior designers will liaise with clients to get a sense of their style and preferences, which they then consider when outlining a plan they hope will satisfy their desires without compromising on the practicality of the space. They are responsible for planning all details of a room’s final features; everything from flooring type to soft furnishing lies in the hands of the designer.

What Skills are Required

As with any profession, there are various skills that you will need if you want to become an interior designer. Skills required to be successful include;
  • Creativity - you will need to produce a wide range of unique ideas throughout your career as an interior designer
  • Strong attention to detail - so you can provide the perfect finish to your designs and leave clients loving your work
  • Clear communication - successful communication with clients, suppliers, and team members will allow for the smooth running of projects
  • Knowledge of general color theory as well as design techniques
  • Able to accept criticism - not everyone will see the same potential as you do in your designs
  • Able to use computers and design software
  • A solid understanding of building and construction policy and practice

Interior Designer Salary

Interior designer salaries can vary widely based on experience, the number of jobs you do throughout the year, and which state you work in, although the current national average salary is around $50,000. The average salary for an architectural and engineering interior designer is approximately $90,000, the highest in the industry. It's important to note that no two projects will be the same, and each one will be billed at a different rate, meaning there may be fluctuations between your consecutive annual earnings.

How to Become an Interior Designer

Earn a degree
A degree isn’t always necessary in all states when wanting a career in interior design. However, candidates with a degree tend to be sought after more than those without, as they will have a higher understanding of the fundamentals of the role and have pivotal experience in digital design tools.
Enroll in an accredited graduate-level design course and complete at least two years of postgraduate study in the field, which can be done in person or online - although, check the course's accreditation before enrolling.
Gain some practical experience
Ask a local interior design firm to see if you can work with them as an intern or on an entry-level position to gain experience in the field.
Examination
Check your state's interior design practice requirements. Some states require you to complete the National Interior Design Council qualifying exam.
Portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of information that showcases your skills and expertise. Include high-quality images and videos of projects you have completed and are most proud of, so potential clients can sample your design style.
Go your own way
If you wish to work as an individual and not for a larger company, start the process at this point. Make sure your portfolio is up to date and contains all of your best projects that will wow your clients. Also, if clients are satisfied with your work, be sure to market yourself by having them recommend your services to friends and family.
Keep educating yourself
It is important not to stagnate in your role. Remember, the world is constantly evolving, and so are design practices. Keep up to date with relevant courses, so you are always at the top of your game, offering sought-after work using up-to-date tools & techniques.

Conclusion

So, is interior design the right profession for you? If you thrive on creative and hands-on work, interior design may be your ideal role. With the ever-increasing demand for experts in this field, now is the perfect time to get your act together and start on your career path. Gaining qualifications is not always essential for this role. If you do not want to participate in formal education, you could complete an internship to start your portfolio and jumpstart your career (as long as your state allows this).

FAQ

What qualifications do you need to be an interior designer?
Qualifications aren’t always needed for interior design; depending on your state, you may be able to start your career with no relevant qualifications. However, some states will require you to have completed a bachelor's degree. Other areas may also call for you to accomplish further examinations, for example, the NCIDQ exam.
Is it hard to become an interior designer?
Interior design isn’t always an easy field to break into, and although demand is on the rise, it can be hard to secure a job in this field without relevant experience under your belt. Although, for those willing to put in the hard work, a career in interior design can be very rewarding.
Is a degree in interior design worth it?
There are perks to having a degree, even though you do not always specifically need one. It can give you the upper hand in the competitive field, as you will study the role before entering the working world and it will teach you about the vital fundamentals of the trade.
Some degrees will also require you to do an internship, enabling you to get hands-on experience of the job and allowing you to start building a portfolio and gain helpful industry contacts.
While you can certainly succeed as an interior designer without a university degree, a degree can give you the education and experience needed to get ahead.