Do you have a love for textiles and patterns and all things beautiful? Do your friends and family always want your input when it comes to their decorating projects? Is interior decorating the one job that seems like the perfect job that would always be enjoyable to you? Then, put that talent to work in the career world as an interior decorator. If you obtain a bachelor's degree in interior decorating you will spend the majority of your work days designing and coordinating the design and layout of a room, a space, or even an entire home. What's more, there are a number of schools that you can choose from to work on your bachelor's degree in this field of educational study.
Once you have completed your coursework to obtain a bachelor's degree in interior decorating you will also be required to earn a passing score on a state licensing exam. Keep in mind, to be prepared and eligible to sit for this exam you must have six years of education and experience combined in this field. However, this experience along with the passing score grants you the title of being a registered or certified licensed interior designer. Depending on which state you reside in, you may be required to complete continuing education hours to maintain your state certification.
An individual who possesses a degree in the field of interior decorating would be considered qualified for an apprenticeship in a design program. Typically, apprenticeship positions are granted in furniture stores or architecture companies. An apprentice works directly under a supervisor who has extensive experience in the field and who can benefit their future career through mentoring. Generally speaking, apprenticeships last from one to three years. Within your bachelor's degree program you will study perspective, drawing, fabrics and colors, ergonomics, ethics, psychology, furniture design, spatial planning, and computer aided designs. Find a college campus near you or choose any of the online school options listed.
Along with your educational training and preparatory courses, to be a successful interior decorator you will need to be imaginative and creative. You will also need to be capable of keeping up with current decorating trends, as well as be able to communicate your design ideas verbally and visually to ensure they are accurately portrayed. Of course, some decorating styles never go out of style so it is imperative that a designer can use timeless decorating styles while still incorporating fresh, new hints of style.
Interior decorators help individuals who are not capable of budgeting their decorating time or money or a person who does not think they are capable of beginning or finishing a project on their own. Good interior decorators also need a strong sense of how business is handled as well as an ability to thrive in the sales world. It is crucial for an interior decorator to learn how to work under the pressure of a deadline as well as how to work independently and with a team. This will prepare an interior designer for a career with a design firm or for a career as a self-employed interior decorator.
Students will take courses in interior decorating as part of their degree program. Their core course requires students to take 60 credit hours of their 120 total credit hours needed to graduate. Learn about flooring, furnishings and more during your training including:
- Interior Decorating
- CAD Designs
- Window Coverings
- Interior Decorating Styles
- Furniture Design
- Understanding Fabrics
- History of Interior Design
If you started your Bachelor’s degree in interior decorating so that in the future you can start your own business then follow the below steps and advice from Sarah Janson who owns her own interior design business.
Get a Good Educating – I would say the #1 thing you need is a good education in interior design before ever attempting to start your own business. Often my clients want to know where I attended school. They are looking for something besides all of my awards and certifications that prove to them that I’m qualified to decorate their house. I think a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree would be necessary including any additional courses you can take.
Financing – One of the hardest things when starting your own business is financing everything. Because you are paid from your client you can go through big periods of time where you might not be getting paid. Buying the proper supplies, renting an office and marketing are the three areas you’ll spend most of your budget. I would start small and try not to take out a loan. Spend all of your time and budget on finding clients. You also during the early years of your business work out of your home or even share an office building with another company. When I first started my business I actually paid to have an office at a flooring company. This allowed me to get referrals since the clients came in looking for flooring I could often get work doing other parts of their home.
Incorporate – Because you’ll be dealing with 3rd party vendors and doing the hiring for the jobs you were contracted to do I would make sure that the first thing you do is incorporate your business as an LLC to avoid any potential legal liabilities. Interior decorating could involve projects where someone could get injured and you want to limit your liabilities.
Find a Niche – Start small and be really good in a particular niche in interior design. I first started with window coverings and paint which were often where most clients start. I then moved into custom furniture and now I do basically entire houses including remodeling and construction.
Proper Marketing – A hard part about opening up your own interior decorating business is finding new clients. As mentioned I got lots of contracts early on by referrals. I know spend most of my time networking at trade shows and have a marketing company that purchases leads off the internet of people looking for decorating companies. I also contribute monthly to several online blogs where I write about the latest trends I interior decorating and design. This is free advertising and has really worked well over the last year.
Salary and Job Outlook
The median salary for an interior designer is $48,400 and the top 10% of designers are paid $89,700. The industry is expected to grow 4% over the next 8 years. As the housing market continues to grow so does the need for interior designers.