There are a few things a person should consider before they begin the journey of becoming an interior designer. First of all, they should understand the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator. Anyone who has a passion for style, color and fabric can set themselves up in the interior decoration business and find clients. However, to be an interior designer, the person must have an accredited education. This usually means an associate or Bachelor’s degree. If they are ready for hard work, patience, perseverance and have the passion, then their first step is an academic degree.
The top design firms and companies require their employees to have a Bachelor’s degree in interior design or an equivalent. If the applicant has a master’s degree, they have an even better chance of getting a job with a top company.
Students can apply to the design schools or university that meets their needs. Their needs may include the fees, size of campus, facilities and other academic coursework required. Other work may include business, finance and marketing. There are also distance learning programs and short courses students can take if they are not able to attend college full-time. It is recommended to attend a college that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. This accreditation means the program has the proper curriculum and learning environment to prepare students to be successful in the industry.
Getting experience in the field is the next step. They need to learn how to handle real design projects in a professional setting. Before they graduate, they will gain experience through internships where they will learn the trade from the inside out. Students need to ask their advisors if the program offers internships. It is also possible to get guidance from the Interior Design Experience Program of the National Council of Interior Design Qualification. This program is very effective for students transitioning from education to professional work.
After they have finished their degree and participated in an internship program or other program designed to give them experience in the field, they can take an interior design examination. This exam qualifies designers who have worked in the field. It is administered by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and is held in the U.S. and Canada twice every year. The exam is always up to date with the current trends and changes in the field. Passing this exam will give any designer a huge boost in his or her career.
Some of the responsibilities a designer may have are making interior spaces, attractive, functional and safe. To do this they incorporate color, light, fabric and furniture design. They need to know the local building codes and inspection regulations and make sure their work adheres to these codes. They may work for a contractor, furniture business, architectural firm or specialized design firm. About one-fourth of interior design professionals have their own business. Designers work full-time hours and must be flexible because they often need to work at their client’s site on weekends and in the evening.
The best designers are able to mentally visualize how furnishings, fabric, textures and colors will go together. They must also have good communication skills to make their client visualize the presentation. Sometimes clients have impractical or unattractive suggestions and the designer must be able to convince the client that another way is better. Designers must also stay within the client’s budget and timeframe.
In order for designers to get the job they want, they need to have an extensive portfolio that showcases their work. Even the best communication skills won’t help as much as showing photographs of rooms that they have designed or decorated. They can start building their portfolio while they are still in college. Another way to build a portfolio is to offer their services at cost or for free. This will also give them a chance to get to know the local suppliers and merchants with whom they may be working in the future.
The business of interior design is highly competitive. It is recommended for designers who are just beginning their careers to become proficient in specialized areas. This could be designing for the elderly, environmentally-friendly design, modern design or classical design. Regularly reading design publications and talking to fellow designers is one way to keep up with the trends. With the Internet and other tools, designers can work from virtually anywhere. It’s worth taking the time to learn how to use these tools.
A person may work hard, get an education and have talent, but a designer’s job is not about their taste, it’s about their client’s taste. They may design many rooms and homes without actually liking any of the results. That doesn’t mean their work is unattractive, it just means it’s not personal.
By Andre Bradley