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Why Interior Design is the Perfect Career for Creatives

CEO Khai Intela
Image Source: NYIAD If you have a passion for creativity and a keen eye for design, then a career in interior design may be the perfect fit for you. However, before you take the leap,...

NYIAD - Career Guide - Interior Design Image Source: NYIAD

If you have a passion for creativity and a keen eye for design, then a career in interior design may be the perfect fit for you. However, before you take the leap, it's important to do your research and understand what it takes to succeed in this field. In this article, we will explore some of the most common questions asked by aspiring interior design professionals and provide you with the guidance you need to embark on this exciting career path.

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

At its core, interior design is about creating functional and visually appealing living or working spaces for clients. Whether it's redesigning homes, revamping corporate offices, or creating trendy restaurant interiors, interior designers are responsible for bringing design visions to life. From conceptualizing ideas to selecting materials and overseeing installation, their role is to ensure that the final result is a beautiful and practical space.

Interior Designer Job Duties and Responsibilities

The specific duties and responsibilities of an interior designer can vary depending on the project and clients they work with. However, some common tasks include:

  • Searching for and bidding on new projects
  • Collaborating with clients to understand their goals and budget
  • Creating design plans and sketches
  • Presenting ideas and getting client approval
  • Providing advice on design concepts and budget
  • Handling material procurement and installation
  • Estimating project timelines and costs

Skills Needed for Success

To excel as an interior designer, you'll need to develop a set of essential skills, including:

  • Creativity: The ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative design solutions.
  • Problem-solving: Overcoming challenges and finding practical solutions to design issues.
  • Customer service: Building strong relationships with clients and understanding their needs.
  • Technical and digital skills: Proficiency in design software and technical knowledge of materials and installations.
  • Visual awareness: An eye for aesthetics and the ability to create harmonious design compositions.
  • Time management: Balancing multiple projects and meeting deadlines.

Education and Training

The level of education required to become an interior designer can vary. While some states may have specific education and experience requirements for licensing, not all designers need a formal degree. Today, many employers value practical skills and experience over formal education. Online courses, like the Interior Design Program offered by NYIAD, can provide you with the necessary knowledge to start your career. These programs offer flexibility and allow you to study at your own pace, making it easier to balance your education with other commitments.

Average wage for interior designers in 2014 based on location Image Source: NYIAD

Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for interior designers is around $60,340 per year. However, factors such as experience, education, certification, and location can affect your earning potential. Designers working in metropolitan areas or specializing in certain sectors, such as architecture and engineering, tend to earn higher salaries. It's essential to consider these factors when determining your income expectations in this field.

Certification and Professional Organizations

While not mandatory, obtaining certifications from industry organizations can enhance your credibility as a designer. The New York Institute of Art and Design (NYIAD), for example, offers a certified Interior Design Program. Completing a certified program can demonstrate your expertise and help you stand out from the competition. Additionally, joining professional organizations, such as the Designers Society of America, can provide networking opportunities and further validate your qualifications.

Internships and Hands-On Experience

While not required, completing internships or gaining hands-on experience can be invaluable in shaping your career. Internships offer the opportunity to work alongside professionals and gain real-world insights into the industry. It allows you to explore different areas of design and determine which path suits you best. Consider reaching out to local design firms or home goods stores to inquire about internship opportunities.

Starting Your Own Business

One of the most common career paths chosen by interior design professionals is starting their own business. Running your own firm gives you the freedom to work on projects that align with your vision and values. However, it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of the field and develop marketing and business skills. NYIAD's Interior Design Program includes a dedicated unit on promoting and selling your services, providing you with the tools needed to attract clients and grow your business.

Choosing a Specialization

Interior design offers various career opportunities, allowing you to find your niche. Residential designers focus on planning and decorating spaces within client homes, while commercial designers cater to businesses, offices, and restaurants. Specializing in specific areas, such as kitchen design or custom furniture, can help you carve a unique path in the industry. Explore different sectors and identify your passion to find your specialization.

Marketing and Finding Clients

Once you've honed your skills and are ready to start working, finding clients can be a challenge. A strong marketing strategy is essential to attract potential clients. NYIAD's Interior Design Program includes comprehensive training on marketing and promotion, teaching you how to create a portfolio, develop a professional website, and build a client base. Leveraging social media platforms and networking within the design community can also help you connect with potential clients.

Developing Contracts

To maintain professionalism and ensure clear communication with clients, it's crucial to establish formal contracts. A well-drafted contract outlines the scope of work, payment terms, and project timeline, keeping both parties on the same page. Including your portfolio and a copy of your certification can reinforce your qualifications. Pay attention to details and consult legal experts, if needed, to create comprehensive and binding contracts.


Becoming an interior designer is a rewarding career choice for creative individuals. If you're passionate about design and possess the necessary skills, education, and experience, you can thrive in this industry. By continuously developing your skills, building a strong portfolio, and utilizing effective marketing techniques, you can attract clients and establish yourself as a reputable interior designer. With dedication and perseverance, you can turn your passion for design into a successful and fulfilling career.