Interior Designer / Interior Decorator

How to Become an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator
Interior Designer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become an Interior Designer
Interior Designer Salaries
Influential Professional in this Field
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for Interior Designer / Interior Decorator Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator

One might think that becoming an interior designer / interior decorator is no more difficult than knowing where to place a few throw pillows. This is a misconception. Interior designers / interior decorators can be responsible for everything from helping to design the inside or even the outside of a particular space, including placement of windows, stairs and doors, along with other structural elements. Some may be called upon to decorate large commercial spaces such as banks, hotels, airports, theaters, and restaurants. Others focus primarily on residential locations and often specialize in designing specific rooms, such as living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms. There are some that also focus on specific elements such as indoor water features, elaborate fireplaces, or specific themes such as Asian or Gothic.

While postsecondary education is not required to become an interior designer / interior decorator, it is advisable to have a degree of some sort, whether it's from a traditional college or university or from an art or design school. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits nearly 250 schools with a focus on various disciplines.

An art background definitely helps to promote the skills of the Interior designer / interior decorator, particularly when it comes to creating sketches or making presentations to clients.

There is no national certification for interior designers / interior decorators, although there are currently 23 states that issue but do not require certification.

Most importantly, an interior designer / interior decorator must have a solid sense of style, color, texture, furniture, lighting, art, and fabric. Additional knowledge of building materials is also helpful. One who is colorblind would not make a good interior designer / interior decorator.

What does an Interior Designer do?

An interior designer / interior decorator is responsible for creating or renovating a space, employing the use of a series of tools, including the use of lighting, fabric, furniture, color, and texture. Jobs for interior designers / interior decorators may widely vary from residential home specialists to commercial designers to in-house or in-store consultants. Interior designers / interior decorators must be able to conceptualize and implement many different themes or ideas into a particular space, whether or not those images agreed with the designers own concepts.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Interior Designer?

In order to become an interior designer / interior decorator, one must have a variety of skills that often include proficiency in choosing styles, colors, fabrics, textures, and have knowledge of lighting, art, and structural elements including a variety of architectural details from trim and molding to load bearing beams and walls. Interior designers / interior decorators are required to work alongside a number of other professionals including architects, electricians, plumbers, and general building contractors.

As the industry changes, many designers are expected to have extensive computer training in order to conceptualize design through various software programs, including CAD. The knowledge of blueprints is also essential. As the population ages, it is becoming increasingly necessary for designers to understand accessibility issues for those with handicaps. Environmental or eco-friendly design is also becoming very popular and designers are expected to know the ins and outs and understand which elements to use and to avoid.

A great deal of an interior designer / interior decorator jobs entail communication. There must be open and clear communication on all levels, including consulting the client to purchasing items from retail stores, websites, and catalogs. It is imperative that an interior designer / interior decorator know how to develop a positive rapport with clients, co-workers, and vendors.

Another aspect of an interior designer / interior decorator job is estimating costs. One must have a solid grasp of mathematics and how to determine cost, overhead and profit margin. One must also have negotiation skills to be sure that the best materials are purchased at the best price and also to guarantee that the work will fit into the client's budget.

How much does an Interior Designer make?

Because the field varies widely depending on geographic location, employment status, and area of expertise, the annual salary of interior designers / interior decorators is somewhat difficult to pin down. Additionally nearly 26% of all interior designers / interior decorators are self-employed.

The average income of an interior designer / interior decorator was $42,260. Other average annual earnings are as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services $46,750
Architectural services 46,750
Specialized design services 43,250
Furniture stores 38,980
Building material and supplies dealers 36,650

The most secure positions for interior designers / interior decorators are with corporate organizations such as high-end construction and architectural companies. Interior designers / interior decorators that work in a retail setting are subject to irregular commission and are also expected to sell the company's products.

Employment for interior designer / interior decorator is expected to rise nearly 20% over the next eight years, which is one of the most rapid growth patterns of all industries. This is somewhat surprising considering that many people have taken on home design themselves with the aid of do-it-yourself stores, web sites, discount warehouses, and a bevy of television programs that offer both ideas and instruction.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Interior designers / interior decorators tend to be relatively anonymous outside the field. Over the past few years with the advent of reality TV, many interior designer / interior decorator have begun to receive notoriety. Many have gone from private consultation to opening their own stores and designing a broader line of products from clothing to furniture to home accessories. Television shows such as Top Design, Trading Spaces, and Changing Rooms have propelled some designers into the spotlight.

Some influential and famous designers are:

Jonathan Adler
Frank Balic
Vern Yip
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
Doug Wilson

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Society of Interior Designers, is an organization encompassing all aspects of Interior Design.

What are the top cities for Interior Designer / Interior Decorator jobs?

The top cities for Interior Design careers are:

New York City
Los Angeles
San Francisco

Demand will continue to be high in major metropolitan areas.

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