How to become an interior designer is a critical question, as becoming an interior design requires more than enthusiasm and good taste.
Professional interior designers possess technical and administrative skills as well as insights into problem solving, organization, and cooperation, and attention to detail.
How to become an interior designer?
The answer is that the professional interior designer is qualified by experience, skills, education, and examination.
Interior Designer Experience
- Developing the design, which includes generating and refining the design ideas leading to a design concept.
- Preparing the documents and letters of agreement pertaining to all contractual aspects of the interior and handling financial and business matters concerned with the design execution.
- Working with or specifying building systems, such as heating, plumbing, air-conditioning, and all aspects of lighting.
- Specifying materials, finishes, and furnishings, which requires a thorough knowledge of all types of floor, ceiling, and wall-covering materials and textile applications as well as a knowledge of period and contemporary architecture and furnishings and green design.
- Preparing working drawings for cabinetry or interior details to be executed by a craftsperson or subcontractor.
- Overseeing the execution, installation, and completion of all contracted areas of the design project.
- Conducting a post-occupancy evaluation (POE).
Interior Designer Skills
- Technical skills including drafting or technical drawing, computer skills applicable to business management, as well as design and computational skills for measuring and costing
- Knowledge of construction methods, building systems, codes, architectural specifications, and safety requirements.
- Ongoing awareness of innovations in materials, finishes, and furnishings.
- Business skills such as employee management, budgeting, purchasing and lines of credit, marketing, and public relations.
- Verbal communication skills, including the ability to present ideas, concepts, and contracts in written and verbal form.
- Visual communication skills, including the ability to present ideas and concepts in sketches, renderings, and technical drawings
Interior Designer Education
There are many institutions offering accredited and fully developed interior design degree and certificate programs. They include departments and schools of architecture, fine arts, and home economics within universities, colleges, and design schools.
Accreditation is granted by the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research (FIDER), which provides a list of the schools and programs that meet its standards.
The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) sets standards for post-secondary interior design education, establishing and periodically updating those standards.
The council’s thorough and careful review of interior design programs’ compliance with standards ensures that graduates will be prepared for entry-level practice and poised for future professional growth, a significant competitive advantage considered by potential employers.
Many programs are accredited, and many good programs are not accredited. Education programs generally require from two to six years of study, with additional time needed to obtain graduate degrees.
While it is possible to bypass formal education and learn the interior design profession through apprenticeship and on-the-job experience, this process is ultimately more time consuming and difficult than a formal program of study.
Most schools have internship options that allow students to receive academic credit while working in professional interior design firms; such options provide an advantageous opportunity to combine academic theories with practical applications.
Topics of study in interior design programs.
- Basic and creative arts such as two- and three-dimensional design, fine, and applied arts.
- Design theory, human factors, and spatial composition.
- Residential and contract design.
- Design for special populations (handicapped, elderly, etc.), special problems (environmental, etc.), and special purposes (historic preservation, adaptive reuse).
- Design materials (textiles, lighting, furniture, color).
- Technical knowledge such as structure and construction, building systems, energy conservation, detailing, materials, laws, building codes, and ordinances.
- Communication skills, such as verbal, written, and visual presentation, drafting, and computer systems.
- Professional practice and organization and specification skills.
- History of art, architecture, interiors, furnishings, and materials.
- Research methodologies, survey, literature search, and observation.
- Computer application.
Interior Designer Licence
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) serves to identify to the public those interior designers who have met the minimum standards for professional practice by passing the NCIDQ examination.
The organization tries to maintain the most advanced procedures for examination and continually reviews the examination to include expanding techniques in design development and professional knowledge.
In order to ensure professionalism, competency, and quality services, some states have passed title or licensing acts. This means that in order to use the title “interior designer,” the professional must be licensed. Although requirements may vary from one state to another, generally, to obtain a license, the designer must pass the NCIDQ exam and have worked a minimum number of years in the profession.