How to Become an Interior Designer

The interior design is a relatively new and constantly evolving profession.  People are becoming busier and busier these days and they don’t have the time to design their own places.  They may also want somebody else’s creative touch.  They rely on professional interior designers to create environments that make them feel at home.

1. What does an interior designer do?

Interior design is a profession that combines creativity, technical knowledge, and business skills. It is “an art or process of designing the interior decoration of a room or building.”

Snap47Interior designers are responsible for making interior spaces attractive, safe, and functional.  They use their knowledge of colors, spatial arrangement, and textiles or materials to decorate. Interior designers also take care to follow laws, building codes, and inspection regulations.  In most cases an interior designer will either specialize in commercial or residential.  Other specializations in interior design includes work on museum and exhibition design, event design, theater design, and so on.  They usually need to stay flexible so that they can fit in their clients’ schedule and sometimes they also need to meet clients on evening and weekend hours.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a quarter of interior designers were self-employed in 2012.  Many interior designers works for a specialized design services company, architecture and engineering business, and other related services industries.  The projected rate of employment growth for interior designers is 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as the average growth for all occupations.

2. What steps need to be taken to be a professional interior designer?

a. Talent

Besides working hard, an innate flair for color, special management and style is really important to an interior designer. So before you decided to step into this career, you’d better think clearly whether you have these talents to make you a successful interior designer. If yes, follow your passion and reach to the next step.

b. Education

Snap50Other than being an interior decorator, you always need to earn a degree in interior design if you want to be an interior designer.  In fact, almost all esteemed design companies in the world require their applicants to at least obtain a bachelor’s degree in interior design or equivalent.  Interior design programs can be found in many colleges, universities, and specialized art or design institutes.  Please always remember to check accreditation before you choose a program.  Choose a college or university which is accredited by the CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation) to ensure that you learn certain principles and practice at a very high standard during your education process.

c. Experience And Exam

Although not all states require the licensure of interior designers, only licensed ones can use the title of “interior designer.”  The license can help you attract more clients and have a greater area of operation. In order to even have the opportunity to take the licensing test through NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), you must have at least 2 years of work experience.  But for new starters, it can be very difficult to be hired right off the bat.  So new interior designers should consider offering services for free in order to gain experience: They can work as a volunteer to local non-profit organizations or small business that don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer.

d. Build Your Portfolio

Quality Photographs always tell more about your ability than words.  Make sure to take photos of all your work and build your own professional portfolio. With a portfolio, not only can you show off your previous work, but you also can show your abilities with organization to your potential clients.

e. Stepping Stone Jobs

Interior design isn’t a profession that you can accomplish your aim in one move.  You may begin as a junior designer or assistant.  Combining these years of experience in a lower position with your portfolio and credentials can lead you towards  becoming a senior designer, project manager, or even a partner of a firm.

3. What is the salary range of interior designers?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interior designers was $47,600 in May 2012.  While the 90th percentile of Michigan reached more than $130,000 and the 10th percentile was less than $30,000.

4. Other things you need to know about becoming interior designers

a. Business And Computer Courses Matter!

Snap51Software like CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) are very useful to sketch your project and can help you begin your career at a higher rate. People who know how to use this software are actually in high demand these days for many kinds of job positions.

As an interior designer, you work not only with clients, but also with design team, suppliers, and engineers.  Projects are usually within a budget and a time limit.  So, you also need to have strong communication and problem solving skills, which business course help you build these skills.

b. Competition Is High

Interior design is a competitive business.  If you want to be successful in this field, a high quality professional portfolio, as mentioned above, can really help you a lot.  Extensive education is also necessary.

c. Designers Need To Know Local Laws And Codes

Snap52Laws and codes may be boring, but these are things that interior designers can’t skip over.  Learning about plumbing codes, electricity, and load bearing walls is always useful and important to help an interior designer to make a project with less kinks.  It also can protect you and the client from terrible lawsuits due to safety hazards.  You can bring your career to a swift end by not closely following building codes.

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