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How to become an Interior Designer

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Interior design is truly an art form today, one that not many people can administer successfully without assistance. It’s the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building, home, or apartment, requiring extensive understanding of everything from special awareness, to the materials available at hand. As a result, there’s an extensive 5-step process to becoming a successful interior designer today.


Not to be confused with an interior decorator, strictly utilized in the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable and beautiful things. Decorators cannot be designers, whereas interior designers can still decorate. Interior designers, at the end of the day, have the wherewithal to maximize and master a space, no matter how large or how small.


So how does one become an interior designer? Here is a general 5-step check-list to making it happen:

Complete the Necessary Education 

Since interior design is in essence, a study of science, the designer needs to complete the necessary education to make it a reality. Most commonly, this can take the shape of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design, as most licensing boards require an undergraduate degree for certification. Many designers will go on to complete some kind of Master’s program, related to design, interior design, or the study of spatial science, etc. An ASID certification is an example of one of the recommended forms of education.

Pass the Big-Time Exam 

Much like pursuing law or a medical career, there is a catch-all test that can help weed out the best and brightest interior designers. Known as the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Exam, this equalizer helps people understand what kind of interior designer they are working with. After completing the necessary degrees, studying for this test – and passing it – is paramount to your success. Do note: you have to have 6-years of experience before you are allowed to sit for the exam.

Locate an Apprenticeship 

Reading about interior design in textbooks is one thing; actually performing it, hands-on, in a real setting is an entirely different beast. That’s why many interior designers will locate an apprenticeship, which can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years. During this time, designers will study under the hands of a professional, as well as take on pro bono projects to boost up their portfolio.

Building a Portfolio 

When it comes to interior design, clients want to see what you can do. They don’t want to hear about it. They want to open a portfolio that totally wows them. In an apprenticeship, you will automatically build that portfolio. If you opt to skip the apprenticeship, you will have to take on some projects for free to start adding versatility to your presentation.

Land the Job 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that interior design career openings are expected to increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024. That means there are openings if you look hard enough. Check out furniture stores, engineering or architectural firms, developers, and so forth, all in need of someone that understands how to perfectly establish the space at hand.


Now that you have the necessary education, experience, and employment, it’s time for you to start your own design business! Check out our video here.


Are you a new interior designer or decorator and need 5 tips for starting your business? Read our blog here 

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