It is pure art and satisfaction when the inside of a building fits nicely with the outside and the structure itself. However, this does not happen by chance – it is the work of interior design. Although this may seem like a trivial aspect of buildings (whether residential or commercial), it is what separates the good from the great. If you have this sort of appreciation to make places come together and stand out from the crowd, then you’ll find that this article on interior design might be just what you need.
What is Interior Design?
Interior Design is the professional and comprehensive practice of creating an interior environment that addresses, protects, and responds to human needs. It is the art, science, and business planning of a creative, technical, sustainable, and functional interior solution that corresponds to the architecture of a space and considers well-being, safety, and health, with informed decisions about style and aesthetics.
Careers in Interior Design
It is easy to think only of interior designers when considering the field of Interior Design, but in truth, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a list of some of the careers in Interior Design:
- Interior designer – this role would require you to use your creative skills and technical knowledge to design and renovate internal spaces and structures including structural alterations, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, lighting and colour schemes.
- Art advisor – you would act as a consultant to companies that might include corporations, hotels, health care facilities and private art collectors in order to provide advice relating to purchasing art for the purpose of decoration or keeping in collection.
- Furniture Designer – in this role you would have the pleasure of creating products that are functional with an aesthetically pleasing style that satisfies consumers with different tastes.
- Interior decorator – you would be responsible for designing interior spaces that blend artistic style and functionality with a client’s budget and individual taste.
- Set designer – this role places you in charge of designing and creating sets for films, television, and theatre. You would typically be required to read the script multiple times in order to get a feel for the style and tone of the script then and to make produce plans and drawings of the set.
- Visual Merchandiser – this role would involve you displaying merchandise and décor in a store in a way that elicits a positive image of the store, gets customers’ attention and entices them to buy. The process would include both inside and outside of the store through displays, decorations, signs and space layout.
- Wallpaper designer – those in this role produce creative ideas for wall coverings, featuring repeating designs. The work may include designing patterns and deciding upon materials, dealing with buyers and addressing market trends.
- Event planner – you would be responsible for structuring events, coordinating all of the moving parts, and making sure everyone has a good time. You would have to do everything involved in making sure the events go smoothly, including choosing locations, hiring caterers, entertainment, and other vendors.
There are also some related careers that would benefit from knowledge in interior design such as: realtors, home economists and professional organisers.
In terms of academic requirements for this field, there are multiple routes that you may take but it ultimately depends on your desired career.
As a general path, a Bachelor’s/undergraduate degree in interior design would be quite sufficient for the majority of careers in this field, particularly, for a career as an interior designer. Other acceptable courses that would help you get into any of the careers listed above include art and design, interior architecture and spatial design.
To narrow down a bit, if you specifically want to pursue a career as an interior designer, it is possible to do so without a degree if you have significant experience in the field. Alternatively, other degree options in addition to those already mentioned include fine art, architecture and furniture design.
To pursue a career as an art advisor, apart from interior design, a degree in art history or art and design would do you well. For a career as a furniture designer, a degree in furniture design would be optimal but you could also obtain a degree in related areas such as architecture, fine arts, graphic design, industrial design or 3D design.
If you would like to be an interior decorator, it is not always mandatory to have post secondary education. However, if you would like to obtain a degree, areas like interior design, visual arts or textile design would suffice.
In order to become a set designer, you might find degrees in areas like theatre design, performing arts, design for film and television, interior design or 3D design to be useful. Whereas a degree in visual merchandising, marketing or art and design would be useful for a career as a visual merchandiser.
While there is no set path to becoming a wallpaper designer, degrees in textiles, art and design or illustration have all proved beneficial.
Lastly, to pursue a career as an event planner, a degree in event planning/management, event or business administration, communications or public relations, or tourism and hospitality administration would suffice.
Other skills and competencies that would benefit you in this field include:
- Communication skills, both written and verbal
- Attention to detail
- Artistic skills such as drawing
- Organisation, time management and problem solving skills
- Creativity and imagination
- Computer skills (including CAD where relevant)
- An awareness of building and safety regulations
- Knowledge of the wider construction and design industries
- Project-management skills, including the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
- The ability to work in a team with other professionals
- A flexible attitude
- Business, finance and marketing skills
- Consumer analysis skills
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How to Stand Out
As far as certifications are concerned, there is a fair amount of options available to you depending on your desired area of expertise. For example, you can obtain certifications in interior design, CAD, consumer behaviour, event management, management, art history and building regulations. You can obtain certificates in any of these areas as well as others to complement your degree and skills and to help you progress professionally. You can find a list of courses at the end of this article that are worth checking out if you would like to take the next step in this field.
Get Hands-On Experience
Work experience is always an excellent way to not only set yourself apart but also to give you a head start in the industry. For this reason, we highly recommend taking advantage of available volunteering and/or internship opportunities wherever possible. This can be at local design firms such as Design Studio or Finishing Touch or event planning businesses like Destination TCI.
Although interior design itself does not fall under the ambit of any current government portfolio, you may, nevertheless, see the benefit in gaining experience in an area like Physical Planning. This sits under the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning. In this office, you can gain knowledge on building processes, learn building regulations and become familiar with analysing building plans which will undoubtedly set you apart in the industry. You can find the Planning Department here.
It may be easy to get practice in interior design because you can really work with what you have. Regardless of the level you are at, try designing your home, or even just your room, using different techniques. YouTube can really be your best friend here – watch videos explaining different design styles and try to bring that to life in your own home and record your progress. This can help you to build up a portfolio without even leaving your home and having actual clients.
Similar to the last point, you can get practice in this field by playing design games. It may be informal and may not be a typically credited form of increasing employability, but it would certainly help you to stay interested and engaged with the industry. In the very least, this could provide interesting, yet relevant, interview conversations.
Drawing is also something that you will likely be expected to do on a regular basis. Some course providers may want to see a portfolio of your drawings and sketches – particularly courses around furniture design. It is therefore a good idea to get practice drawing – preferably design related objects or actual designs.
Finally, stay abreast on the latest in the industry by following design magazines like Adore Home Magazine, Elle Decor and Bridge for Design. You can subscribe to each of these to receive regular articles and updates or simply visit their website and social media pages on a regular basis to read the latest information.
You may find the links at the bottom of this post useful in getting started in this field. Alternatively, feel free to browse our other career topics if you are still undecided or send us a message if you would like more personalised advice. An excellent way to help you stand out regardless of your industry or career is to have a professional and tailored CV/resume so feel free to contact us to help you make your recipe for success once you are ready to take the next step in your career.
Fun fact – Over its lifespan the average sofa will receive around 782 sitters and suffer a rather staggering 1,663 spillages!
Learn how to pursue a career in Interior Design within these regions
Resources: Use the links below to sign up for courses in interior design and related areas. The courses at Coursera are free and you are able to get a certificate upon completion (NB. there is a small fee to obtain the certificates). You can also watch the video lecture for an introduction to interior design.
Consumer Analytics course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/wharton-customer-analytics
Inter design course at Masterclass: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/kelly-wearstler-teaches-interior-design
Interior design course New York Institute of Art + Design: https://www.nyiad.edu/courses/interior-design
3D CAD Fundamental course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/3d-cad-fundamental