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How to become an Interior Designer: Salary, Soft Skills & 12 Specializations

How to become an Interior Designer in Easy Steps 

More goes into interior design than just picking the appropriate fabrics and creating clever color combinations. To assist people and organizations in developing design solutions that are both practical and appealing, interior designers and decorators collaborate closely with clients and other specialists in the field. A place can be changed with the correct design to satisfy particular, functional needs or to convey the appearance and feel that the customer is going for. The topics you can choose to focus on as an interior designer range from accessibility to aesthetics to environmental sustainability.

Whatever path you choose, you may learn to take a client’s vision, blend it with your knowledge, and create a visually appealing result.

How to become an Interior Designer

Reasons you should Consider a Career in Interior Design

Making a space appear appealing is only one aspect of being an interior designer. The task of interior designers is to come up with original, imaginative solutions for interior spaces. This can entail changing a room’s layout for the typical homeowner in order to support a person’s health and safety. For a company client, this can entail creating design concepts that maximize the utilization of compact areas and promote both the productivity and well-being of personnel.

1. Each day is a fresh start:

The variety of work performed is arguably the perk that interior designers enjoy the most. Since no two clients will have the identical interior design requirements, you will always be beginning from scratch whenever you work with a new client. To establish a design plan that effectively completes each client’s particular project, you must conduct research and understand their needs.

2. Wide Range of Uses:

It is not just necessary to create functional rooms in houses and office buildings to practice interior design. There are many options for you to work in various situations that will keep you on your toes.

The following are some of the most popular interior design careers:

  • Aircraft Interior Designer
  • Chef de cuisine
  • Project Manager
  • Retail Spaces Planner

These job possibilities each present a unique challenge in a unique environment.

For instance, sustainable interior design is becoming more significant and well-liked. Sustainable design is a major component of many interior design programs. Consequently, you have the chance to benefit the environment and earn a solid income.

3. Good Pay:

For their work enhancing the physical spaces in residences and office buildings across Canada, interior designers are compensated highly. The median annual salary for an interior designer is $48,000, and with experience and skill, salaries can reach as high as $90,000. This information comes from Job Bank.

4. Sustainable Design: Creating Eco-Friendly Environments

Eco-friendly methods are emerging in a variety of career categories as public awareness of the environment rises, and interior design is no exception. In order to teach you how to incorporate eco-friendly techniques into the art of interior design, several interior design schools now offer whole programs (or at least several courses within their interior design programs).

What does Sustainable Interior Design Entail?

Designing, designing, and building indoor spaces using ecologically friendly methods and materials is known as sustainable interior design. An interior design school can teach you numerous strategies to lessen the environmental effect of houses and businesses, such as utilizing paint that is free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), choosing recycled, repurposed, and low-emitting materials, and more.

You can learn how to take into account these five crucial variables during the design process by enrolling in a sustainable design program at an interior design school.

  • Inner Air Quality
  • Sustainable Resources
  • Water Conservation
  • Power Savings
  • Lowering CO2 emissions

Also Read: Journeyman Electrician Salary in Colorado & 28 Benefits

Salary and Job Outlook of Interior Design Jobs

Interior Designer Pay Information:

The median annual salary for interior designers nationwide in 2014 was $48,400, according to the BLS. The average salary for professionals in the 90th percentile is just under $90,000. Similar to other sectors, interior design is influenced by experience, geography, and the sort of work being done. The median pay for interior designers is higher in the architecture and engineering sector.

Job Growth, Prospects, and Outlook in Interior Design:

Those who are thinking about a profession in interior design might feel encouraged by the industry’s predicted 13 percent increase between 2012 and 2022. Environmental designers will be at the forefront of this expansion as interest in sustainability is anticipated to drive the field’s continued advancement. Accessibility design, a discipline that emphasizes the significance of making spaces simple to navigate, will be another significant subject.

How to become an Interior Designer

You may be Interested: 10 Cheapest Online MBA Programs in South Carolina

How to become an Interior Designer

Step 1: Obtain an Interior Design degree.

Even though it is not a requirement, the majority of interior design firms demand that designers have a bachelor’s degree or above. Although a degree in the relevant topic is desired, degrees from other fields are normally accepted as long as they are combined with interior design coursework, such as sketching and computer-aided design (CAD). There are also degrees at the associate, master’s, and doctorate levels.
Numerous prestigious schools and universities, as well as specialized art and design institutes, offer interior design programs.

Step 2: Achieve qualification with the National Council for Interior Design.

The licensing of interior designers is not mandated by all states. However, there are a number of laws that forbid unlicensed designers from working as interior designers. Others only allow licensed professionals to use the title “interior designer,” but they allow both licensed and unlicensed designers to practice design.
A state-approved exam, often the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, must be passed in order to obtain a license. Students must possess a mix of education and experience, often a bachelor’s degree plus two years of on-the-job training, in order to be eligible to take the NCIDQ exam.

Step 3: Participate in some free work

Without prior professional experience, it may be challenging for interior designers—especially those just starting out—to secure employment. Of course, the issue is that experience can only be acquired through labor. Many aspiring interior designers begin by learning their trade for nothing. Designers can volunteer their time to assist local non-profit services or organizations, as well as small businesses that cannot afford to hire a professional designer. They can also offer their services to friends and family. Even their own residences are open to new designers. The most crucial thing is to acquire the skills necessary when genuine paying employment appear.

Step 4: Build a Portfolio

Make sure to document all of your efforts with a professional portfolio by taking high-quality pictures. The most important tool for interior designers looking for clients is a top-notch, thorough portfolio. It will not only enable potential clients to see your greatest work, but it will also demonstrate your capacity for making a polished, well-organized first impression. Include some of your drawings and sketches along with the images, and don’t be hesitant to include examples from a variety of projects. There are also a lot of interior designers who keep online versions of their portfolios today.

Step 5: Search for Opportunities FOR continuing education

Designers can pursue a variety of professional qualifications in addition to attending conferences on interior design to stay current on trends and advancements. Specialization certifications are offered by a number of universities, including those in sustainable design, spatial theory, corporate interior design, and designing historic settings. In addition, other organizations offer numerous conferences, workshops, and summits throughout the year.

Also Read: 10 Cheapest Online MBA Programs in South Carolina

How to become an Interior Designer

Interior Design Specializations (Types)

Interior design degrees frequently give students a variety of options for focusing their knowledge. Given the size of the sector, students might use this chance to specialize in a particular field to set themselves apart from the competition while applying for jobs. The next section talks about a few well-known speciality areas and jobs in those fields.

Residential Interior Designer

Interior designers that focus on residential projects work with a variety of clients to enhance their homes at the most fundamental level. Residential designers are knowledgeable about interior house design theories and are aware of the particular needs and requirements of creating safe, warm, and welcoming domestic spaces, whether they are rebuilding a bathroom or modernizing a kitchen.

Kitchen Designer

Those that specialize in kitchen design build contemporary, functional cooking and dining spaces that make the most of available space and make use of the right appliances, working with both new construction and renovations. In order to make the spaces appealing and functional, special care is paid to providing the appropriate lighting and color.

Toilet Designer

The newest ecologically friendly fixtures used by these designers could provide modern appeal while using less energy. Clients seek the advice of designers when making important choices regarding color, lighting, fabrics, and hardware.

Accessibility Designer

When it comes to furnishing their own living spaces for clients who have special needs, these designers stay up to date on the most recent trends in making homes accessible without sacrificing comfort or aesthetic.

Maintenance and Restoration Designer

Designers with expertise in this area have the chance to deal with a variety of historic spaces. It might be a museum one day and a historic house or other significant location the next. The integrity of historic designations requires anyone working in this profession to be cognizant of preservation protocols and specific measures.

Landmark Designs Preservationist

Designers who specialize in historic interior preservation frequently collaborate with governmental or nonprofit groups, either internally or as consultants. They must be familiar with the rules and legislation governing the use of materials, zoning, and the measures required to preserve historical accuracy.

Historic Residences/Buildings Designer

Designers that deal with homeowners on their historic homes frequently have their own businesses or are experts in this field within larger organizations. Designers must be aware of rules and observe them while satisfying the needs of their clients, even if these projects may not have as strict laws as sites administered by preservation organizations.


Museum Interior Advisor

Designers can give museums advice on how to keep the interior rooms that are displayed to the public historically accurate. They are able to impart important information about historical residential settings because to their expertise. These consultants offer recommendations on the use during a certain time period, whether for collections of household items or vintage textiles.

Commercial Designer

There are numerous career options for professionals in commercial design, including those in corporate buildings, eateries, hotels, banks, and libraries. People working in this sector need to be knowledgeable about themes including ergonomics, spatial development, and accessibility laws in addition to design theories.

Healthcare Facilities Designer

Healthcare-related structures and environments are constantly expanding, and designers are in high demand. Hospitals, long-term care institutions, hospices, waiting areas, and other comparable settings could be included in projects. The focus is on designing cozy, inviting rooms that allow for the coexistence of aesthetic elements with the necessary medical fittings.

Corporate Offices Designer

Office designers are tasked with designing environments that not only make workers look forward to going to work, but also support productivity growth through creative ergonomic layouts. They have control over every part of the workplace, including the offices, break rooms, conference rooms, common areas, and lobbies.

Governmental Buildings Designer

Designers in this industry work on a range of structures that are related to local, state, or federal government. Libraries, schools, courtrooms, fire stations, police stations, and vestibules for public transportation could all be included in projects.

Skills in Interior Design

The most crucial talent interior designers can have is the capacity for effective communication and listening, in addition to having an innate sense of style and inventiveness when choosing design components for clients. Designers’ primary responsibility is to comprehend the needs of their clients and communicate those needs to the design teams, engineers, and other experts involved in the project.

Any environment should allow designers to envision how various elements will work together. The ability to freely exchange ideas is crucial because they might need to pitch several designs before selecting the best one. When maintaining projects inside the allotted budget and timetable, strong problem-solving abilities are extremely helpful.

Technologies and Tools for Interior Design

Many of the tools used regularly by architects, such as drafting scales, triangles, measuring tools, and other drawing equipment, are also used frequently by interior designers. A good camera is also a useful tool for designers because it allows them to document their designs for a portfolio as well as take pictures of the original area.

How to become an Interior Designer

Technology is becoming more and more important in the creation and design process. Anyone who is serious about pursuing interior design should have access to a computer that can run numerous design software programs. Several uses include:

Other software helps manage projects and the business side of design. These include:

  • Design Manager
  • DesignSmart
  • Mpengo Designer app

FAQs about Interior Design Career

How long does Interior Design education take?

In general, certificate programs can be finished in about a year, whereas degree programs can require between two and four years of study to complete.

Is interior design school challenging?

It is challenging to study interior design. To properly learn interior design, a lot of time and commitment are required. It's not surprising that the field has so many openings for persons with such credentials.

Is Math required for Interior Design?

Mathematical skills are frequently required of interior designers. To make precise floor designs, they need to know how to compute measurements and fundamental geometry.

Without a degree, can I work as an interior designer?

Therefore, to answer your question, you can work as an interior designer without earning a degree in design. More important than just having a degree is having the necessary skills and knowledge to land projects.



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