How to Become an Interior Designer


One day, you may come to the idea you want to be an interior designer. Or maybe you have already received education in the direction of design or architecture. And having a specialist diploma, you want to understand where to move on. To do this, several recommendations will help you get into design and confidently move up the career ladder. If you do everything right, everyone can talk about you, and you can become the best interior designer. However, for this, you will have to make some efforts.

In this guide, our Portfoliobox team has collected everything you should know about:

  1. Who is an interior designer?
  2. What does an interior designer do?
  3. How to become an interior designer
    1. Work on developing your eye
    2. Get trained
    3. Look for formal training
    4. Get a license
    5. Start a business or open your branch
    6. Create your portfolio
    7. Get the skills your profession requires
    8. Work on your brand personality
    9. Talk about yourself where you can
    10. Always look for opportunities to improve
    11. Join other professionals

Who Is an Interior Designer?

Who Is an Interior Designer

An interior designer is a specialist whose job is to give the premises an aesthetic appearance. This specialist develops plans and manages projects. Their services include, design ideas, space planning, and oversight of design work.

A designer can choose a specific area of ​​design job with which they would like to work. This can be design development and work with residential buildings and apartments, as well as commercial, environmental, and other areas.

We can distinguish the following design styles that an interior designer can choose in their projects:

  • Loft
  • Modern
  • Classicism
  • Art deco
  • Minimalism
  • High tech
  • Ethno

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

What Does an Interior Designer Do

The interior designer works on creating a sketch according to which the premises will be rebuilt to make them beautiful, safe, and comfortable.

In the previous block of our article, we have examined the definitions of the term "Interior Designer", now we answer such frequent questions as “What does an interior designer do and what their duties include?”.

An interior designer’s job is connected with many design elements. Among the primary responsibilities of this specialist, the following items can be distinguished:

  • Thorough inspection of the premises and study of its characteristics;
  • Discussing with the client his views on the design of the room;
  • Work on creating a sketch for future design work, taking into account many factors;
  • Models the project with the help of modern design software;
  • Calculates payment for the client for his services;
  • Approximately calculates the time that will be spent on design work;
  • Arranges a meeting with clients to discuss the nuances of design work;
  • Controls the process of working with the design in case of hiring additional workers;
  • Carries out a presentation of the premises to clients and completes the project;
  • Search for new clients to work on the design of their premises.

There is our answer to such a frequent question as “What does an interior designer do?”. If you want to be an interior designer, use every step from our article, and you will achieve your goal. 

How to Become an Interior Designer

 How to Become an Interior Designer

Although there is no universal answer to the question "How to become an interior designer", but we have prepared a few steps for you, following which you understand what you need to do to be an interior designer. Let's look at these steps in more detail.

Work on developing your eye

Whether you are already an interior designer or just planning to enter the field, you always need to work on developing your eye. One of the essential characteristics of interior design professionalism is the focus on the environment. To work on developing your eye, use several next steps.

  • To work on developing this feature, pay attention to the many details around you. It can be furniture stores, galleries, libraries, or branded clothing stores. 
  • Looking closely at the design features of any room, you can be inspired by ideas, take interesting design moments, and understand more precisely which direction of interior design attracts you more. Maybe you will realize that you are interested in classic or futuristic style. 

All these tips will help you form your vision and decide on the topic. 

Get trained

Getting trained is the next thing that will help you to be an excellent interior designer. Many employers and agencies would like to have educated professionals in their ranks. 

We should share with you various essential points related to design industry education. So, let’s take a closer look at them:

  • Sometimes, it is even important for them simply to have a diploma of some specialty, a bachelor's or master's degree. However, having a degree in design or architecture will be a much more significant advantage. 
  • Ideally, employers would like you to provide a designer diploma accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, abbreviated as CIDA. 
  • If you do not have such a diploma, do not be discouraged; you can still try your hand at interior design and eventually try to get a design-related specialty with a higher degree of accreditation.

Look for formal training

Once you've completed your degree in design and majored in design, you'll need to look for opportunities to do at least a few years of hands-on design training before selling your services. We advise you to look for vacancies related to interior designer’s job in the form of:

  •  internships;
  • apprenticeships;
  • work as a junior assistant. 

Some agencies do not mind hiring students or people who have just completed their education so that they can learn their activities in practice and gain experience, receiving little money for this. 

Get a license

If you want to use your knowledge in interior design as a career, you must complete the training and earn experience during your practice. After these, you must pass an exam called the NCIDQ. This is an official exam designed according to interior design standards and is a requirement for obtaining a license in this field in countries such as the United States and Canada. 

  • Granting this license to employers will demonstrate that you are a qualified specialist and have taken the interior design profession seriously enough. From this point on, you can start a great career as an interior designer.

Start a business or open your branch

If you already have a degree, a diploma, and a license, you can start doing the kind of design you like. So, you can try yourself in a well-known firm or open your own small business to provide interior designer services.

The latter option has several advantages; however, you should understand that in this case, you will need to look for clients and control your business-related affairs independently.

Create your portfolio

The next piece of advice that will help to be an interior designer is to create your portfolio. Many agency employers or clients, you have searched for on your own, would like to see examples of your work. In this case, creating your own portfolio is a good idea. 

With a collection of your best work, you will show people what you are capable of and in which areas of design you prefer to work. We have prepared some tips that help you to make a good portfolio and receive an interesting offer of an interior designer job.

  • To make a good portfolio, collect quality photos of your design work and post them on your website to showcase to your clients.
  • As one example of work, you can provide step-by-step shots of your design work. To do this, take a photo of the room before your work, save sketches of projects and also take photos of the design transformation of the room at each stage of working with it. Collect all these photos and add them to your portfolio. 
  • Showcasing your workflow will grab the attention of clients and employers and show you in a more lively way. Adding portfolios to your website, as well as saving them in any other digital format, is a good and quick way to showcase your skills and offer to help.
  • You can also use flipbooks, as you have done before. It will always be interesting for clients to look through the live pages of the folder and get acquainted with examples of your work.

If you need to create your portfolio, Portfoliobox advises you to use the platform that will help you to create your portfolio website with your best works. 

Get the skills your profession requires

In fact, an interior designer as a career doesn't just mean working on a sketch of space, it also means having communication skills, project and business management skills, and mastering time management. All this you will need for your future career. Agree, to get into a company or find clients; you will need to demonstrate your talent to people and assure them that you are exactly what they are looking for.

  • If you decide to work for yourself, you will need to conduct business competently, draw up reports before the tax, and deal with financing issues. 
  • If you want to open your own business and hire a team of assistants, you will need communication and organizational skills.
  • Time management and self-organization are also some important skills for any profession. Therefore, learning all these skills will not be superfluous. To do this, you can read books on self-development and take courses that teach the basic skills for doing business.

Work on your brand personality

To be an excellent interior designer, you need to demonstrate the individuality and originality of your brand. You must clearly show your clients, as well as the agencies you want to work for, how you differ from other professionals in the field of interior design.

  • To work on building your brand, think about how you see your brand and how your customers see it. Think about it, is this how you want people to see it? How do you rate your brand? Does he have a personality? How is your brand different from the brands of other interior designers? Do you do all the necessary things to be an excellent interior designer? Consider the answers you gave to these questions and analyze the situation. 
  • You need a clear understanding of what your brand should be. Once you shape it, you will need to ensure it matches your style and sensibility as a designer. This can be expressed in the colors, typography, and images that suit your aesthetic.
  • Some experts advise novice designers to pay attention to themselves. The way you look, the clothes you wear, the way you talk and who you are should also align with your designer brand. You should not be modest; declare your professionalism wherever you can.

Talk about yourself wherever you can

This is another important point to being an interior designer and having enough clients. You need to talk about yourself on all available social platforms. Register on popular social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and tell on these social pages about who you are and how you can help your customers. You can post your sketches, and examples of spaces before and after your design work, and show little bits of your workflow.

Experts in marketing and brand management say that if you want to be a more popular and successful interior designer, you should take care of things like:

  • Creating an "About us" page where you will tell your customers about who you are and what services you offer;
  • Adding photos to your website and social networks, illustrating examples of your work and what you can do;
  • Adding awards and participation in significant events will also be beneficial.

Always look for opportunities to improve

Even if you have reached a certain level of professionalism, you still have something to strive for. Don't stop there. To be an interior designer, you can take additional advanced training courses.

  • Another step in achieving high professional qualifications can be LEED accreditation. It will help you improve your knowledge of design and construction. So, you will be able to learn the intricacies of environmentally sustainable design and construction skills. All this will make you a more interesting candidate and performer compared to those who do not have this knowledge.
  • It is advisable to subscribe to well-known design magazines, read the blogs of famous designers and analyze their solutions.

Join other professionals

Networking is your key to success today. The following rules will be significant enough for you if you want to be an interior designer:

  • Connect with other professionals, for example, from a design school;
  • Join such popular organizations as IIDA and ASID.
  • Connect with other designers whose work you admire and interview them.
  • Attend exhibitions and any events related to art and design.

Thus, you should establish communication in design and art, meet other professionals, and attend various events dedicated to these professional areas.

By the way, exhibitions and events are an excellent opportunity to look at other people's work and meet other professionals and important people in this field. Always take your portfolio with you; perhaps somewhere at a design event, you will meet your future clients or partners. Feel free to talk about yourself and offer your services.

Create Your Portfolio with PortfolioBox

If you want to become a good interior designer, you will need a portfolio of your work. PortfolioBox can help you create a website for your online portfolio. The advantage of using our website builder is that you don't need any programming or web development knowledge. PortfolioBox has many templates and themes to create your website. Go to our website and check out our offers.


How long does learning to be an interior designer take?

It will take about four years to get a bachelor's degree in design; you require two years to gain experience. However, do not worry that studying will take about six years. Thanks to the training, you will become a qualified specialist, which will be appreciated when applying for a job or looking for private projects.

Is it hard to be an interior designer?

At the beginning of your quest to become a professional interior designer, you may find it a rather difficult path. However, with determination, hard work, and the right approach, you will succeed in becoming a good designer. Work on building a quality portfolio and show it to the organizations you want to work for.

Is Interior Design a high-paying job?

The average salary for interior designers is around $48,000. However, if the designer is highly qualified and experienced, their salary can be approximately $70,000.

Does such a profession as an interior designer have a future?

Experts note that by 2025 the need for interior designers will increase. The interior design industry is expected to exceed $210 billion by 2027, up from around $145 billion a few years ago.

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