What to consider before becoming an interior decorator or designer

What to consider before becoming an interior decorator or designer

Have you heard many people praising you for your interior décor or design skills?  If you have the passion to arrange furniture, decorate rooms or even make an office space outstanding, then maybe you are a candidate for a career in interior decor and design.  Want to know how you can become one? Here are things to consider:

The difference between ‘designers’ and ‘decorators’

What sets them apart you may ask?   It is no less than degrees of skills and education.  Most people have the passion to arrange furniture and love working with fabrics and colour applying visual embellishment to rooms according to their own particular likes and dislikes.  However, as a client’s representative promoting yourself as a professional decorator for which you charge a fee for services, it is essential and ethical to have recognised qualifications.  Education in colour, history of interior design, business and work place practice, application techniques and presentation skills is recommended and puts you in good stead for future work prospects.  On the other hand, if you wish to be a professional interior designer, you will need to develop additional skills and knowledge in lighting, colour, drawing, presentation techniques, scheduling and specifying, contract documentation, business and workplace practice and retail sales.

Online courses and books may be helpful when considering basic decorating for the home owner, however it is essential that a minimum number of school contact hours be undertaken when studying design and décor courses.  To study a visually creative course without student contact may be a waste of your time and money.  When applying for employment, it will be the qualified candidate with a supporting port-folio of work being successful.

It should be one thing you are passionate about

If you are an occasional designer and find happiness in designing only when something inspires you, then think twice about being an interior designer.  Fundamental requirements are passion, dedication, a healthy attitude and the necessary skills to become a professional designer.   Interior designing is more than rearranging and reorganising “collections of stuff”. It involves having a sense of design flair for spatial quality, furniture arrangements, textiles, colour and an understanding of and respect for architecture.

You should work hard for it

As with any other profession, dedication and hard work is required.   You may love fabrics, colours and furniture, and yes, you get to play with these when ideas come to mind.  However, there is so much more to successful designing.  You need to study hard and learn about the historical development of design to enable you to understand current building design trends.  You must have knowledge about building components and structure and be well-versed with building codes, spatial concepts and ergonomics. You need access to a computer or library to research information and have some knowledge of psychology, business ethics, standard building regulations and work place practices.

What to prioritise when thinking of décor or design as your preferred career.

A common misconception amongst people considering décor or design as a career path is working with “well healed clients” who pay generously.  Most clients do pay well for quality professional services.  All over Australia, there are many self- educated designers and decorators who come and go because of their lack of knowledge and degree of unprofessionalism.  A long lasting professional career based on your reputation, experience and attitude is worth so much more in the long term.

Think clearly about your career intentions and suitable education rather than easy money made in the short term.  A career in décor and design opens up many avenues to future employment.  Whether you wish to become a décor or design consultant working from a home office, a home start consultant, a retail or wholesale attendant or specialist in décor and soft furnishings, your priority at this early stage should be education and training.  Contact the School of Interior Décor and Design for further information.

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