Do people always compliment you for your decorating skills? They wish their space looked like yours, or they even ask you to design their apartments as well? That might be a good sign that an interior design career is the right choice for you.
However, there’s so much more to it than friends complimenting the space you live in. You have to acquire a lot of knowledge before you can actually call yourself an interior designer.
People usually think that this job is a breeze. Clients invite you into your space, and you do your magic with it. But it’s not all about you. You have to forget about your own taste and adapt to whatever your client wants you to create. That isn’t always an easy task.
We have compiled a list of things you need to know if you’re considering this career path, so let’s get straight into it.
Interior Designer vs. Decorator
If you’ve always loved playing with colors, patterns, or textiles, congratulations — you are an interior decorator. There’s an actual vast difference between interior designers and decorators. In short, it comes down to education.
You might think that education isn’t necessary to begin designing, and you’re kind of right. As a space decorator, you can just start working and looking for clients without a bachelor’s degree, as an amateur. All you need is a certificate. Sometimes not even that.
To be a licensed interior designer, however, you need proper accreditation and education. If you’re not interested in putting yourself through years of school and really love designing, don’t fret — you can always be a decorator instead. The jobs are similar enough for you to get the satisfaction from doing what you love.
However, there’s much more that you need to know about becoming an interior designer. You need more than just a piece of paper from a university.
You Must Have a Passion for It
Thinking that art and design are all fun and games is, unfortunately, very wrong. To go down any career path, you must have a passion for it. Not only that, but you need to be naturally good at it.
If you’ve helped your parents or friends design their living room and they absolutely loved it, that’s a good sign that interior design might be a good career option for you. However, do you love it enough to learn about its history, psychology, ethics, color theory, ergonomics, and more? Those are the things you need to think about.
As with all things artsy, you kind of have to have a talent for it. Not many people can recognize which patterns and colors fit well, let alone put all of their knowledge into practice. That’s why formal education and training is needed. You have to hone your skills before using them.
You Are Not the Market
Another thing that makes this job difficult at times is that you have to put your personal taste aside. Sometimes it’s tough to be objective, which is something you have to do.
You might be the professional here, but what you say won’t always go. Your clients are the ones who decide what style fits them best, depending on what kind of space you’re designing. You can always suggest something you think would fit well, based on your expertise. However, the clients have the last say.
Besides, you won’t always be designing houses and apartments. There are many other things to design, such as buildings and office spaces, and some people might even ask you to create a sex room for them. You can always decline a job that makes you uncomfortable, but you can’t deny that designing a spicy sex dungeon would be so much fun.
It’s Not a High-Paying Job
The interior design career isn’t always putting a lot of money on the table. Of course, the amount of money you earn will depend on you alone. That means you can ensure you make more by keeping a few things in mind.
Entry-level interior designers in the U.S. make approximately $42.000 per year. Still, that number can be much higher. The company you work for matters more than you think. Being well-versed in all things architecture, as well as building law and codes, will ensure your salary skyrockets.
That might be boring to some, which is perfectly fine. There are other ways to go about earning more money. You need to have a lot of experience and build a large clientele to be successful. Where you’re located and how you market yourself make a lot of difference too. Living in a rural area, for example, might not be as profitable as living in a city would.
Having a Portfolio Is Important
When you’re fresh out of school, you want to start working immediately. However, it’s not as easy as you might think. Having no experience can hinder your success. That’s why having a portfolio matters.
When you start working as an interior designer, you have to build from the ground up. You might have to work for free or reduce your fee so that potential clients will hire you. What that does is enable you to create a portfolio. Flexing your knowledge is always impressive, but you need something to show for it too.
Clients will want to take a look at your previous projects. That’s how they’ll decide if they’re going to hire you or not. That’s why you need to go above and beyond to make up for the lack of experience and snap some quality pictures. Besides, a picture says more than a thousand words.
The Competition Is Tight
The interior design field is definitely competitive. With so many people on the planet, it’s natural that you won’t be the only one with the same skills. That’s why you need to make it your mission to stand out and be noticed.
That might be especially hard because of the rise of the internet and all that it brings. Design software and online communications make it easy for people to hire designers from another part of the world. That means you need to figure out how to beat the competition both locally and worldwide.
Having an excellent portfolio will always help, but so will marketing yourself in the right way. You need to be well-versed in multiple areas of design, as well as think about what the future of design might look like. It pays off to be one step ahead. Plus, keeping up with the current trends helps too.
An interior designer’s job isn’t easy, but neither is anything you have to build from the ground up. Starting from the bottom and competition might intimidate you, but don’t let it. There’s enough space in this field for everyone. You just need to make yourself known.
Again, that isn’t so easy with the internet making things happen so fast. One day you can be famous, and the next you’re a nobody because someone else got people’s attention. Being consistent and always working on something will do you right.
That’s why education matters. Not a lot of people will take the risk and hire somebody who has talent but no actual knowledge of what they’re doing. Working hard — but also smart — is what gets you places. So, it’s time to start from the very beginning and immerse yourself in the world of interior design.