So You Want to Be an Interior Designer

Interior design seems to be all the rage these days. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the television. Designers tackling small spaces, kitchen remodels and even designer reality shows. Have you watched one of these programs and thought you could do that? It takes more preparation and work than you see in a hour or half hour show.

Interior designers have stiff competition from each other. Homeowners will shop around until they find the designer that fits their needs. Licensing is required in 23 states. And, three out of ten designers are self employed.

Designer’s work consists of enhancing function, safety and aesthetics of a space. They deal with choosing colors, fixtures, furniture, lighting and art. A designer may specialize in commercial or residential design but it isn’t a requirement to limit your clientele.

A designer must be able to read blueprints, and know fire and building codes. She must be able to work with contractors, architects and electricians to name a few. Most designers work with computer programs when putting together a presentation.

Often, to break into this field, a bachelor’s degree is recommended. After school, you will work as an apprentice for one to three years and then take the national exam to become licensed. Even in states that don’t require a license, you may still take the exam. In this instance, six years total education and experience is required, at least two of those in a post secondary education program in design. A designer must also continue their education to retain their license.

A designer must be creative, imaginative and persistent. He must be able to communicate clearly with contractors and clients in writing, visually and verbally. She must be open to new ideas and changing trends. Problem solving and working under pressure of deadlines is a must. Other qualities include self discipline, budgeting of time and money, business sense and sales ability.

An idea of all that interior design entails is in order. First, you will meet with your client to discuss how the space is to be used, the client’s preferences and budget. You will visit the space and take an inventory of existing furniture and fixtures, any design problems and positive attributes of the room. Next you will work on a design plan and estimate costs. Computer aided design is used widely, it is more detailed and it’s easier to correct any problems. Now you will present your design to your client and discuss any revisions. This step will be repeated until the client approves the final design. Once this is finalized, your job turns to searching for materials, furniture, lighting, floor and wall coverings and accent pieces. Choosing contractors that you need is next. Develop a timeline and work hard to complete the project on time. Be sure your client is satisfied. Make any revisions that they want.

Although interior design is a creative career, it does take a great deal of work on your part. If you are up to the challenge it can be very rewarding!

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