How to become an Interior Designer, Part 1! (path)

This is Part 1. Choosing your path as interior designer.
Jump link to Part 2. How to choose the right school to study interior design?
How to become Interior DesignerSo, you want to be an interior designer? When people ask me what I do for living, after my answer, they usually say 2 things, 
1.Oh, You can design my home. 
2.Oh, I always wanted to be designer but I …(multiple answers here). I think any interior designer will find these familiar. In this post I wanted to explain how to become interior designer. When I decided, I want to be designer, I had no clue, where to start, what type of designer I want to be. I was confused. I hope, I will help you to understand the design world a little more. Interior Design is the most amazing part of my life, and I am so glad I have chosen this as my career. It’s the most rewarding job in the world. You will not only get paid for something you love, but you can be as creative as you want, and seeing happy people’s faces is the best feeling ever!
I’ll start with very important thing. What type of interior designer you want be? You have to ask this yourself. There are small differences that may determine, of what type interior designer you will be. Here, your personality is very important as well.

I have divided the interior design types in 5 categories.
1.       Domestic (residential)  interior designer
2.       Commercial(corporate) interior designer
3.       Interior Architect
4.       Lighting interior designer (not engineer)
5.   Interior stylist


Domestic Interior designer or interior decoration (don’t confuse with decorators itself like plasterers, tilers etc.)These designers’ works with clients face to face to a specific budget .Mostly, they work from home if self-employed, but there are companies that specialise in domestic interiors and works in a team. Projects include not only houses, but also home-shows. Domestic/residential interior designer is responsible for picking all finishes, like flooring, fittings, paints and furnishing, also they use scale ruler often and traditional calculating methods. As a standard, they produce plans, mood boards and visuals. These are often hand-made and hand sketched. I personally love the hand sketched style of visuals. Many domestic interior designers won’t use professional software’s; however independent self-employed designers can use them, so it really depends of skills. Professional companies use software’s and 3D visuals and often combine them with the hand-sketched skills. Domestic interior designer will ‘’take over’’ an architect submitted plans, and will guide builders, electricians etc. Being a domestic interior can be challenging, and you have to be ‘’people person’’ here. It’s client’s own, individual space and sometimes it can be very difficult. People are unsure, change their minds. I think emotions can be stronger than working in a commercial interior design, as people are more sensitive and personal of course. On a positive note, if you have the right personality, you are more likely to earn more, and make good friends. Designer receive trade discounts when specifying furniture, flooring etc. it can be 5% to 40% (may be higher sometimes). If you play your cards right, you will not only earn your money by charging client per hour but also from the discounts. The higher the budget, the more you earn.


How to become Interior Designer

Commercial or corporate interior designer. Usually they work from a large or small office, for different size companies. There are of course individuals working from home, but all commercial designers knows that in this type of job team work is the best thing.  Commercial interior covers a wide range, from office, retail,  hospitality to education. Here, you can be shop fit-out designer or visual merchandiser in furniture store/showrooms or restaurant and hotel designer. Educational design covers anything from schools, universities to primary schools but charity centres as well. Office designer will again, design public space rather home office and can be anything from small office to large call centre. Office designer often has workplace consultant in his title.  This would be more job for a person, who is more introverted, as you most the time spend in office. This would still involve speaking to clients, presenting your ideas, taking briefs etc. so you do need good interpersonal skills and great manners. Commercial interior designer most likely will be working close with project managers, architects and builders and delivering technical drawings, 3D drawings, and professional realistic visuals. There are still many interior practises that use traditional methods of visuals using hand sketches so this skills are still required regardless the type of interior you will work with. It also requires you to source lighting, furnishing & finishes. In commercial projects, clients are more open to new ideas and let you be more creative. It’s not as personal as domestic. You are creating workplaces and spaces that improve human performance and well-being, so psychology is involved in here as well.

How to become Interior Designer
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Interior architects. This is more down to a qualifications and skills. It basically contain the 2 descriptions above. You can be interior architect for either residential projects or commercial spaces. Interior architect will have more architecture background. You will have deeper knowledge about buildings, materials, fixtures and fittings than Ba Hons Interior designer. This is perfect for those more interested in structures, installations and building renovations etc. You can also be qualified interior designer and working as interior architect, if you gained knowledge and skills required by working close with architect. Interior architects are also often involved in picking finishes and of course producing drawing and visuals but these are more detailed on a technical side. Interior architects also will work more in environmental friendly projects, making sure there is a balance between use of materials, the surrounds of the building and general eco side. All three above will also provide client with costing and schedule of the project making sure everything is running smoothly.
Lighting designer doesn’t have to particularly design the products; lighting & lamps itself. You can be lighting designer working from a lighting design practice. This is very similar to working as interior designer but you will more work with the interior designer itself helping them to create the ambience and make sure there are enough light required, but also creating stunning lighting effects.

Lighting designers also brings the cost effective solutions to projects and maximize energy efficiency. You will still work in particular software and produce Cad drawings, visuals etc. This would be perfect for someone who doesn't particularly like some aspects of being an interior designer. You won’t need to worry about furniture or flooring here. A high level of creativity is still required here.

Interior stylist. This is another interior design part and path you can choose but it's more of a temporary type of interiors. This s ore of a dressing the room rather designing from scratch, although interior stylist are often given the room and can select the furniture and accessories and make the room real. After the room is designed and set up. interior stylist will photograph the space for marketing, like magazines, TV adverts, etc. the list is long. 

Ok, once I explained who is who, now time to pick the right school! Jump to ''How to choose the right school to study interior design?''



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24 comments

  1. I am currently doing my Master's Degree in Retail Design (interior architect) I really like it but I have no clue if I want to do this my whole life. I also really like this blogging community and I also love making music, which I would always prefer over a job as a Retail Designer. But it's a lovely thing to study and I love making scale models - it's a pitty lots of companies don't make them anymore. I'd love a job as full time scale model maker! Haha ;)
    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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  2. Many years ago when interiors shows on TV were all the rage I thought of becoming an interior designer. I like being creative, but life took another turn and that was put aside. A very useful post. R

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  3. Very interesting post! Part of me wishes I had done interior design at university instead of fashion - just as hard I am sure. X

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  4. Interesting - I had no idea there were different types. In fact, I've never given such a profession any thought, but I can see how it could be very rewarding.

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  5. Love this post. I played with the idea of being an interior designer some years ago. Even started a free course online but decided it wasn't for me.

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  6. I am one of the people who wouldn't be able to design a thing even if my life depended on it... I am glad they are designers around me I can hire to help out at times.

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  7. This was a super interesting read :)

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  8. This was absolutely fascinating, it is the kind of career I would love to do, but I have no creative bone in my body x

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  9. I so wish I was better at interior design, I can get the idea in my head but I can't get it out and into the room. x

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  10. This is a really well written and informative post, I have absolutely no desire to be an interior designer, but I certainly didnt know there were so many different kinds.

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  11. For some reason I never thought about the other kinds of interior designers other than the domestic ones. I've often wondered if it's a career path I could undertake and it's still not written off. great post and so informative x

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  12. When I was younger I always wanted to be an interior designer of offices. Innever pursued it though... I never realised there were so many different types.

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  13. Woah, I never knew there were so many different categories of interior designer! I would be so bad at interior design personally, I would end up mismatching everything! x

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  14. Wow ! Anna such a knowledgable post ! Never thought of being one professionally but I love doing it anyway and your posts are so helpful x

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  15. This is so interesting to read.... I didn't know there were so many different types!

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  16. An interesting read. I get a similar response when I tell people I'm a photographer x

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  17. This is a really interesting post, it's such a varied field - I am not designy (is that a word- I don't think so) at all so I think it's really amazing those who can design and make things look beautiful.

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  18. Very inspiring. I research architects and int designers as part of my day job, it's never boring - always something new amd beautiful to look at x

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  19. Very inspiring. I research architects and int designers as part of my day job, it's never boring - always something new amd beautiful to look at x

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  20. This is such a useful series of posts! Like you say I know so many people that have said they "always wanted to be an interior designer"

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  21. I can imagine this being an amazing job! Such a great series that you are doing too.

    Daniella | Freshly Pressed Beauty

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  22. That's a very interesting read. X

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  23. Such an interesting post, I love interior design however I'm probably not very good at it. Such an amazing job though! x

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  24. Its always necessary to stand in a queue for the same profession that everyone is choosing. Instead its is far more better to analyze your own interests and choose the career as per your desire. Interior Designing is undoubtedly a career full of scopes. There is no need to worry about the placement opportunities as there are multiple interior design companies in which you can easily get placed building your successful future.

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