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How to become an interior designer

Do you have a creative flair and a keen eye for detail? Then a career in interior design might be for you. Read on to find out how to become an interior designer and turn your creative prowess into a fulfilling career!

'Do you have a creative flair and a keen eye for detail? Then a career in interior design might be for you!'

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What is an interior designer?

If you have ever watched a home makeover show, then the finished result would have been down to the handy work of an interior designer. An interior designer’s job is to plan and decorate the inside of a room or building according to a brief. This could include anything from designing the inside of a shop, restaurant, hotel or office space, to designing a residential home. In order to become an interior designer, you will need to have a creative mind and have an understanding of how different components in a space can work together to achieve the desired look. For example, you will need to consider individual elements such as colour and texture, fabric, lighting, space and functionality.  

As an interior designer, you could be working for a design studio, or as a freelance designer on a self-employed basis. Some of an interior designer’s typical duties will include:

  • Meeting with clients to fully understand their needs
  • Creating initial sketches and mood boards
  • Sourcing suppliers
  • Ensuring that each project is completed on time and on budget
  • Keeping up to date with trends in the industry
Image of a design sketch
Having a portfolio of your work is useful for interviews.

What qualifications do I need?

In order to get into interior design, you will need to have a relevant degree, foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) design qualification. For employers, some preferred courses include interior design, art and design, interior architecture, spatial design or 3D design. However, other subjects such as fine art, product design or textile design are useful too. Although it is possible to get into the industry without a degree, it may be much more difficult to get your foot in the door, as you will need a larger amount of work experience in the industry. 

One important thing to note is that you will need to have a portfolio of examples of your best work to showcase at interviews. As you become more established and your portfolio begins to grow, you will also be able to show this to clients so that they are able to get an idea of your style and skill set. However, as you will need to have actually completed some projects to start building a portfolio, it is a good idea to try and get some work experience or an internship alongside completing your studies. Be warned though that competition in the industry is high, so it is important to be proactive in your search. 

If you are having trouble finding opportunities, it can be useful to join the Chartered Society of Designers who are an industry recognised body for designers of different disciplines. Through their website you can search for qualified designers in your area and try reaching out to them. Student membership is also free if you are studying a CSD endorsed course

Image of people having a meeting
Being an interior designer requires lots of other skills too.

What other skills do I need for a career in interior design?

While interior design is a very creative profession, it isn’t just about making things look good. You will also need to have other skills such as project management skills, to make sure that things run smoothly and on budget and problem-solving skills, to solve design challenges and come up with alternative solutions when things don’t go to plan. This is not to mention exceptional communication and listening skills, as you will need to listen to clients’ needs and regularly keep them updated along the way.

Interested in how to become an interior designer but want to explore other creative careers? Why not check out these creative jobs you may never have heard of!