If you love decorating and have a knack for arranging furniture and choosing décor, a career as an interior decorator may be perfect for you.A good eye and passion for the job are all you need to become a “decorator”.Depending on which state you are in, you will need to take specialized courses to get the proper license for interior design.
Step 1: Evaluate your skills, strengths, and weaknesses.
If people compliment your decorating skills and then turn to you for advice, that’s a good sign that you have the talent to be an interior designer.You will be exposed to a variety of different tastes and styles when working for others.You will need to have an extensive knowledge of space planning, fabrics, and materials, as well as be able to work with different people.Start working on areas that may be challenging.You will need good organizational and business skills to handle jobs.
Step 2: Get some training.
You don’t have to have a degree to work as an interior decorator, but some classes or certifications can give you more credibility.Many community colleges offer associate’s degrees and certification programs in interior design.Online classes in home staging can be helpful.You can begin teaching yourself immediately.The basics of decorating include types of materials, decorating history and popular decorating styles.
Step 3: You can practice interior decorating.
You can help friends and family with decorating projects.There are volunteer projects with local organizations.Habitat for Humanity and local shelters are good places to look for service organizations.It’s a good experience to decorate spaces for special events.
Step 4: You should put together a portfolio.
Take pictures of the projects you complete.Showing off your work online can be done with hard copies.You can show off your work, network with others who share your interest, and get more information about how to become an interior designer if you join a group on a design site.If you want to expand your portfolio, you may need to take on jobs for free.It’s important to make sure you translate your portfolio to an electronic form.If you want to get the most out of your portfolio, you need to create a website that highlights your work and keep an active blog.You can use any and all popular social media sites.You can engage in discussions with other people interested in interior decoration on these sites.
Step 5: You can find a job.
Look for a job in merchandising or interior decorating.It can be hard to find a high paying, professional job.You can start by working in a furniture store, design center, or local department store.A job that offers a chance to do some decorating and visual merchandising–arranging items that attract buyers’ attention and are pleasing to the eye, will add to your experience and portfolio.
Step 6: A business plan should be drafted.
A usable business plan is the first step in starting a business.There is help for this process here.There are many things in a good business plan.You are trying to figure out how your business will make money, how much it will cost to operate, and how you want to grow it.It is helpful to meet with your local Small Business Development Center.During all of the stages of a business’ life cycle, the SBDC’s can help you put a plan together.You should address your customer base.Identifying how you will drum up business will be part of your business plan.Word of mouth and local advertising are effective ways of building a customer base.You should address your financial situation in your business plan.Depending on the size of your business, you may need to rally investors to support it.In order to get others to invest in your business, you need to know how much money you will need and how you’ll pay back any investors.Discuss hiring tactics and what they will cost you in your business plan if you think you need employees.
Step 7: You need a business license.
Even if you plan to keep your business small and the overhead costs low, you will need a business license from the township, city or municipality where you intend to operate the business.Getting the proper licenses can help you get discounts on materials and increase your legitimacy in the eyes of potential customers.Most interior decoration businesses need a Business Occupancy License.These licenses are inexpensive and do not require site inspections.
Step 8: Acquire startup capital.
You will need some money to start, mostly to cover the cost of materials.Your startup costs for an interior design business can be low, but you will need a business license.Depending on the size of your business, you may need to rent office or storage space.
Step 9: Get things.
There are sources for materials and supplies.You may not be entitled to designer discounts if you don’t have a license.If you are buying in bulk, you can negotiate with suppliers.Inexpensive sources for materials can be found in thrift shops and overstock stores.
Step 10: Get the word out.
Potential customers will want to hear about your services.Local television or the local newspaper can be used for paid advertising.A majority of people who need interior design help will turn to the internet to find someone, so make sure you take the necessary steps to promote your business online.Finally, your business will rely on word of mouth.People who see your work will seek you out.You need a business card in this line of work.Hand your cards out liberally to make them look professional.You should leave cards with every client.
Step 11: Hire someone to help.
You may not be able to handle all of the work yourself if your business expands to a point.You will need some help if this happens.The person or people you hire should have the same attitude towards decorating as you do.Your interior design company should have its own style.
Step 12: Think about virtual decorating.
You can work from home.People take pictures of the space they need to be decorated, send them to you, and you can draft a decorating plan for the client without ever stepping foot in their home or business.It is possible to work in interior decorating without a brick and mortar business.
Step 13: Know the difference.
An interior designer does not do interior decorating.There are two different jobs that have different educational and certification requirements.Interior designers are more employable and tend to make more money than interior designers.
Step 14: Take courses.
Education is the main difference between a designer and a decorator.To become an interior designer, you need to enroll in courses at a university, community college, or design school.The courses help you learn about interior design in order to pass licensing and certification exams, as well as learning the technical aspects of design, such as working within the guidelines laid out in local and municipal building ordinances.
Step 15: Get your license.
Depending on where you live, the licensing requirements and guidelines are different.Some states don’t require a license for interior designers while others do.You need a license to be seen as a legitimate and employable interior designer in your state.You need to pass the NCIDQ exam to get a license to practice interior design.The California Council for Interior Design Certification oversees California’s certification process.You will need to know the licensing process for interior designers in your state.
Step 16: A portfolio is something to build.
Designers need to keep a record of jobs they have completed and have evidence of the quality of their work.If you are willing to work for free or for small budgets, you can populate your portfolio more quickly.You should include high-quality photographs of your work in your portfolio.You should be able to convert your portfolio to an electronic format.When applying for jobs or promoting your skills on the internet, this will be helpful.
Step 17: Get a job.
Residential and commercial jobs need interior designers.They are more employable than decorators, which makes finding a job easier.You can find work in interior design on any popular job search site.