You’ve decided to pursue an interior design career. It’s a very exciting time!
But now, you’re wondering how exactly to get started. After all, there are many facets to starting a career as an interior designer.
Plus, embarking on a brand-new career path of any kind can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. As a result, there are probably several questions you’re likely pondering at this very moment.
Is it necessary to get an undergraduate degree in interior design? What about certification? How do you go about getting the right work experience? And what does an interior designer do all day?
This guide helps answer some of those questions, what the career is like, and how you can prepare yourself for finding a job so you can begin your interior design career on the right foot.
What Does an Interior Designer Do?
To put it simply, an interior designer is responsible for cultivating the vision of a space. It’s their job to make a space stylish and beautiful while ensuring it’s also functional for how the client wishes to use it. Thus, interior designers bring spaces to life.
As you pursue an interior design career, you’ll discover that the job is about more than just furniture. You’re also considering the paint colors and lighting in the room, colors, and patterns used in the furniture, additional decorative pieces, and more. Plus, you’ll need to be able to read blueprints since everything purchased for the space needs to fit comfortably.
Here are some tasks you’ll find on an interior designer’s to-do list:
● Designing the Vision for a Client’s Space: While a client will have input into how the room looks and functions, the overall vision ultimately falls on you, the interior designer. It’s your job to paint a clear picture of how you envision the room, then seek approval from the client before moving forward with making purchases. To create a visual of the space, you may put your sketching skills to use or use software to design a digital version of the client’s room.
● Sourcing Items to Fill the Space: The next step (and probably the most enjoyable part of the job) is shopping for pieces to fill the room. But before you can go ordering furniture, measurements must be taken to ensure the right fit. Then, shopping is done alone or with the client for input.
● Bringing the Space to Life: The final step is to bring everything together into one stunning, functional design. Here, you may paint the walls, install new lighting fixtures, have furniture delivered, and complete all the final elements of staging the entire space.
3 Tips for Landing Your Dream Interior Design Career
If you know that an interior design career is the path for you, you’re likely wondering how to get started. There are three tips you’ll want to follow to help you land the dream job.
1. Gain Experience Studying and Working in the Field
The first thing you’ll want to decide is whether or not to pursue a degree in interior design. Some colleges offer undergraduate programs for interior design, which may be beneficial if you know this is the career path for you.
However, having a degree certainly isn’t required to land a job. Instead, you may choose to become certified in interior design to help you become more confident in your career and to impress future employers.
Take the initiative to gain the experience needed to succeed in the field. If you aren’t going to pursue a degree or a certification, find ways to start your interior design career, even if it means taking small jobs to build your resume.
2. Put Together a Thorough Portfolio Showcasing Your Work
When seeking an interior design career, you’ll likely be required to submit a portfolio along with your resume. Employers are looking for more than just a degree or a certification in interior design. They want to get a feel for your work and who you are personally, which is where a portfolio comes in.
This will allow you to showcase your skills and values to prove that you’re capable of doing the job. Even if you choose to start a business of your own, as opposed to working with another company, having a portfolio is still crucial. Use your website and social media accounts to share pictures of the interior design work you’ve done to attract new job opportunities.
If you haven’t done any interior design work professionally, use pictures of your own home or style a room at your friend’s house. Any interior styling you’ve done before is suitable for your portfolio, so find every opportunity you can to show off your skills. You can even use interior design software to create something digitally.
Our Resources Page has plenty of links to get you started. It features software you can use, as well as helpful resources on marketing and business to set you up to succeed in your interior design career. Plus, our post on making yourself more marketable shares additional resources that will be beneficial on your journey toward a new career.
3. Start Seeking Job Opportunities in Your Area
Now that you’re ready to start taking on work, you need to put yourself out there by looking at all available opportunities in your area.
Sometimes getting started in your interior design career will require you to take an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door. Not only is this great experience, but it can also lead to a paid opportunity should the company choose to hire you as an employee.
You may also need to consider whether or not you would like to pursue interior design in the current area you reside. For those located in more rural areas, you may want to relocate to a city where design provides many alleyways for you. Relocating to a new place may even inspire fresh ideas, making it the catalyst to take your career to new heights.
Ready to Jumpstart Your Interior Design Career?
As you embark on this new journey, you don’t have to go it alone. Interior Talent is an architecture and interior design recruitment firm, which means we can assist you in finding the right job. Whether you’re looking for an internship or a full-time position, our team is dedicated to finding you your dream job.
Contact us today to discuss how Interior Talent can help you start your new career.
Stay Connected and Network in the Industry.
Like many other industries, the design industry has many associations that can support you in your career by providing professional resources and guides, and be a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. Below we have provided a list of some associations that would be great to be a part of as you kick off your career or continue it in the design industry.
- AIA – The American Institute of Architects
- ASCE – American Society of Civil Engineers
- ASID – American Society of Interior Designers
- Designer Society of America
- IDEC – Interior Design Educators Council
- IDS – Interior Design Society
- IIDA – International Interior Design Association
- NEWH – The Hospitality Industry Network
- NKBA – National Kitchen and Bath Association