So, You want to be an Interior designer. When it comes to interior design, there are many ways you can become a designer, or decorator. There are two avenues I would take. In this blog, I will discuss those avenues and how you can become an interior designer or decorator.
Interior Design Education
When it comes to any profession you want to pursue a career in, you need education. Whether it's self-taught or through a collegiate or university system, you need to know the basics and history behind your career. This will ultimately lead to your success in running your interior design business or working for an interior design, architecture, or engineering firm.
The first avenue I would explore is going to college. Many schools around the country offer a bachelor’s in interior design. Some even offer associates degrees as well. These will ultimately help you in the interior design business and how to operate day to day business activities. The degree will also teach you about the history of design, styles of certain houses, what to look for in certain projects, how to abide by local building codes, how to brainstorm design project ideas, and activities for planning and executing your design business. A degree is a great way to start your journey in becoming an interior designer.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking. You might not have time to go back to school because of family and life obligations. There are plenty of avenues you can use in order to become an interior designer. Well, some may argue that not obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you are simply an interior decorator. For some people, going to school for 2-4 years to get their degree isn’t an option. Honestly, I don’t really know if I can say an interior designer is better than an interior decorator. I believe if you do your research, market yourself to your best ability, anyone can make the income they wish, it just takes hustle. They both have their strengths and weaknesses and they both are incredible careers to pursue. If you don’t have time to go to school, I’d start by reading books, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and finding articles about design.
I’d also offer my services for an interior design firm or business for free. This is extremely important and overlooked option that people don’t really take nowadays. You’re only as valuable as your time and effort you put into your work. I think if you can offer time and service for free to an interior designer, you will be operating the day to day purchasing and sourcing for your boss. You’ll ultimately understand what it takes to run an interior design business through assisting an interior designer.
Build a portfolio
So, after you acquire your degree or certificate, I’d take the exact same direction as someone who didn’t have time to go to school. Try to offer your time and knowledge to an interior design firm for free. That’s right! With an education in interior design, right off the back, I think offering your services for free will get your foot in the door for an interior design firm. Some people might look at you like you’re crazy, but hard work and dedication will in time prove you know how to help their business.
Working for free on projects also helps you build your design portfolio. Yes, you won’t be the lead designer, but you can note specific activities on each project you helped with. You could have sourced the lighting on a house in the Hamptons or found a more suitable fabric that the client wasn’t aware of. The options are endless, but it takes documentation of that work for you to build your portfolio and history for the interior design trade. This documentation will help you market and sell your services to any interior design firm or business.
At a certain point, ask to be hired. You will know the right time to ask. Some designers might turn your assistance down but running the day to day for someone else’s business for some time will give you the experience to run your own interior design business, or to apply for a job elsewhere.
Post those pictures, write those blogs, make videos, and document, document, document! Nothing is more important nowadays to the documentation of the project you designed or helped design. When obtaining new clients, they want to see previous projects you’ve worked on. There is no better way to do that than familiarizing yourself with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest social media platforms, and post! Create your own blog if you are a good writer. Create your own blog if you’re a bad writer. Seriously, just write, and practice. Whatever marketing outlet you enjoy, keep doing it. Everything takes experience and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Practice, experience, and hard work pays off.
Remember that everyone starts with zero followers. The number of likes does not directly correlate to the quality of work you do. The only correlation it has is the amount of people seeing your work. “Just keep posting,” as Dori from Finding Nemo used to say. I think that’s what she said? Keep posting, keep educating yourself, forget about the likes, and design the spaces that make you happy. I think this will lead to an amazing interior design or decorator career.