How to Get an Interior Design Career off the Ground

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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You might have thought that pursuing your passion might be a risk, but, as we all know now, life in general is a thing of frailty. We’re seeing more people than ever taking a break from the everyday grind due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which are excitedly exploring a new career in something that they actually care about.

Interior Designer is one career that is likely on many individuals’ dream job lists. However, achieving such a task is easier said than done… and you better have a few more skills than simply being able to decorate a room real cute.

Below, we go over a few ways to get an interior design career off the ground.

Do You Need to Go to School for Interior Design?

You might be wondering what sort of schoolling or accreditation is required to become an interior designer. Luckily, you won’t have to complete a 4-year degree. You will need to have some amount of schooling in order to become a licensed interior designer in many states -- for instance, in states like California. A 2-year associate’s degree in interior design is all you need -- which you can get at a junior or community college in lieu from a pricer state or private university. Lastly, you will generally need something like four years of experience in the field, working under/with a licensed interior designer or architect.

Essential Skills

As an aspiring interior designer, you will want to be highly proficient with a variety of the latest and greatest design tools. You likely won’t have to do many hand drawings, since computers can now achieve this end. Having some amount of artistic inclination will help you sketch out your plans for a potential client.

You will want to start to build your own sense of aesthetics, color, and texture. Study great interior designers of the past, visit cool buildings and museums. Pay attention to well-decorated houses that you visit, especially if you’re at an upscale party.

You’ll want to learn how to work with builders and clients -- which will greatly expand your interpersonal skills. You will definitely have to express yourself differently to a construction worker in comparison to an uppity client who is worried about whether or not you’re coming in under budget.

Pro Tip:

Learn how to provide your services for a variety of budgets. Learn where to go for premium decor and supplies and where to go for discounted materials -- apply these resources accordingly.

Lastly, keep in mind current restrictions that are in place and make sure that you have an answer to any future restrictions that may happen. An interior designer will want to perhaps take advantage of VR technology in order to show work and ideas virtually.

Building your own website will help you attract clients as well. There are resources online that can provide you with excellent content, including stock image websites. But, remember, as a designer, if you’re going to discourage sports posters and the run-of-the-mill car picture in someone else’s living room, make sure that you don’t end up with something similar in one of your own rooms. You have to show your potential clients that you also have taste, after all.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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