How to get into Interior Design: Simple Edition
If you’ve got an eye for color and a sense of style, you might have what it takes to become an interior designer. But, when deciding to embark on a design career, getting started can feel like an overwhelming task.
So, before you dive in at the deep end and start printing off business cards, you’ll need to get the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. From the tools of the trade to the many opportunities available in the interior design industry today, here’s everything you need to know if you want to work at an interior design firm or start your own interior design business.
What education is needed to become an interior designer?
There is a lot to know about the world of interior design. So, to kickstart your interior design career, it’s important that you do the appropriate research and start studying up.
One of the best ways to get into the industry is through short courses, such as this Certificate in Interior Design course. Designed to help those who want to run their own business, it offers an intensive introduction to interior design. An online-only, English language course, this 12-module educational design program will give you an insight into the interior design industry and its current opportunities. It will also help you in developing the technical skills that will be necessary for your success.
At the end of the six-week course, you will receive a design accreditation in the form of a certificate. The certificate can then be displayed with your portfolio to show potential clients and employers that you have all the tools you need to design quality interiors.
If you’d prefer to start out working with interior design firms, then you may need more qualifications. This could include Bachelor’s degrees from art schools or a school of design. Or, if you want to work in regulated jurisdictions, you may need an NCIDQ certification, which you receive upon passing the NCIDQ examination.
When you opt to attend an interior design program at one of many interior design schools, you will likely gain a more in-depth knowledge of the essential concepts and skills needed to make it as an interior designer. You will also be given more opportunity to sharpen your planning skills and learn about building codes, inspection regulations, and accessibility requirements.
What can I do with an interior design qualification?
Whether you want to work for yourself from the comfort of your home office or you’d rather start in a studio, you’ll need to consider exactly what design fields most interest you. As with other design industries, such as fashion design and graphic design, there are various different niches in interior design that you will need to familiarize yourself with.
So, to get a better idea of what your job outlook might be like, it’s important to decide what area of interior decoration you’d most like to focus on. That way, you can figure out what career opportunities might be available to you and the associated interior designing salary.
The two broadest categories in the field are residential and commercial interior design. Residential interior design is all about home renovation, while commercial interior design will see you designing restaurants, stores, and other businesses. Both areas have their own extensive set of branches. So, start by thinking about the general direction you’d like to go in and then focus on finding your specialism.
The world of interior design
There are always new trends evolving in every area of interior design, so there is a constant sense of change about the industry. As such, there will almost definitely be an area that appeals to you.
Just remember that any type of interior design that piques your interest might have its own eligibility requirements.
With a comprehensive interior design course, you can find out more about the various paths available to budding designers. So, if you’re interested in designing cozy living rooms and modern kitchens, setting out the shopfronts of exclusive boutique stores, or designing stages, exhibits, and more, then a course is the best place to start.
What soft skills are required to enter the interior design trade?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you artistic?
- Are you a problem solver?
- Are you detail-oriented?
- Do you have good visualization skills?
- Can you communicate and collaborate well?
If the answer to the above questions is a resounding “yes,” then the chances are you’ll have what it takes to design top notch interiors.
However, becoming an interior designer isn’t something that happens overnight, even if you do have a knack for it. To do well in this competitive industry, you have to acquire certain design skills that are equal parts creative and technical.
What hard skills are needed to become an interior designer?
For starters, all interior design projects start with three-dimensional architectural drawings. Including floor plans, elevations, sections, and details, you will need to have the right drawing skills to effectively communicate your vision to clients and collaborators.
Getting these sorts of drawings absolutely right requires specialized drawing tools and an understanding of important rules and standards. Then, using computer aided design (also known as CAD), the idea will be modelled, modified, and analyzed on CAD software, which you will also need to be proficient in.
These key skills will be taught to you whether you’re attending interior design school, a college of arts, or completing an intensive interior design short course.
Interior design theory and fundamentals
While you don’t necessarily need a formal education to get into interior design, you’ll need a good grasp of the fundamentals. For example, you will have to know what colors pair well together and how this impacts effective lighting design. In fact, in order to get a designer job and make a success of it, this sort of knowledge is absolutely crucial.
Theory is not just for textbooks. When it comes to arts and design, it is essential. If you don’t take the time to learn the theory, it’s all too easy to make an avoidable mistake.
Take color theory as an example. While you might have an excellent eye for what shades go well together, you probably won’t yet understand the psychology of color, or what unexpected optical illusions can occur when you pair the wrong colors in the wrong space. That sort of knowledge comes only from dedicated study.
Mastering the various types of textiles you’ll likely have to use is also important, as is learning all about light. All of these elements together will help you set the tone of your designs and create attractive, harmonious interior spaces. It’s exciting to build a foundation with the theory you learn, because with it, you can start to develop your own unique interior style.
With an interior design accreditation, you can prove that you have been taught all there is to know about the basics of interior design theory. This will help to inspire confidence in potential employers and your first clients, showing them that you have the home decorating skills to create a space that is both cohesive and distinctive.
Any more in-depth knowledge of theory will come from continuing education or experience in the field.
How to build an interior design portfolio?
Now that you’ve made your first steps towards becoming an interior designer, it’s time to start putting together a designer portfolio. A portfolio is basically a folder or online space where all examples of your design work go, so that you can show potential clients and employers what your style is like. It helps people to get a better idea of what you’re all about as a designer, so that they feel more confident in taking you on.
Most established designers will use their portfolio to showcase past design projects. But, don’t worry if you’re brand new to designing interiors, because there are other things that can go in there instead.
A beginner’s interior designer portfolio, whether it’s an online portfolio or a physical one, should include design ideas, mood boards, and any mockups the designer might have done during the course of their education. It should also link out to relevant social media accounts and make reference to any interior design degree or design qualification the individual might have.
Create a great design portfolio
Take your time putting together your portfolio, even if you don’t have much to fill it out with. Remember that your portfolio is your opportunity to wow people with your creative eye and technical flair, and to prove to everyone that you have what it takes to be a designer, even if you don’t yet have the experience.
Your portfolio could well start you out on your dream career path by helping you find the perfect interior designers’ job, whether that be freelance or with an established company. So, don’t forget to keep it updated as you learn.
Enroll in an interior design course today
The right course will teach you how to complete all aspects of an interior design project, from how to find initial inspiration to add the final touches. The Courses for Success Interior Design Online Certificate Course is a great introduction into interior design, and will help you to kickstart your interior design career, right from the comfort of your own home. Check out the course units of study and enroll today.