Interior Design Schools

Learn to design for comfort and beauty

If you're an artistic person looking to bring happiness and comfort into the lives of others, you don't need to look any further than a career in interior design. Where else will your creative talents be appreciated day in and day out in the most intimate of settings? Your designs will become the environment for people, whether it is your customers' homes, offices or recreational facilities.

In interior design, living spaces are manipulated with colors, textures and a variety of furniture and lighting options to create a visually appealing and functional room.

What a good interior design can do

  • Create a relaxing atmosphere
  • Increase a building's value
  • Boost office productivity
  • Increase retail sales

Interior designers work on improving (or designing from scratch) rooms in homes, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools and any number of other public or private buildings.

As with fashion design there are many talented interior designers competing for jobs, meaning the career outlook is most promising for experienced and talented candidates.

How long will it take?

Interior designers most often complete two- to four-year certificate or degree programs before applying for entry-level positions. But that's only after they've proven their ability by sending in sketches or other samples and have been offered acceptance.

After graduation designers gain work experience for up to four years - some as apprentices - before becoming eligible to write a licensing exam.

Licensing of interior designers is required in over half the Unites States.

Skills and requirements

Because it can be difficult if not impossible for an interior designer to establish a career if he or she isn't properly trained, it's important to possess technical skills as well as being generally creative and determined.

  • Read and understand blueprints
  • Be familiar with building and fire codes
  • Understand basic architecture and engineering concepts
  • Use CAD (computer automated design) software
  • Work well with other professionals (engineers, architects, building contractors) and a variety of customers
  • Work and solve problems independently
  • Employ self-discipline to budget and meet deadlines

In the past an interior designer only had to be concerned with style, color, lighting, furniture, artwork and window coverings. These days many also have a say in architectural details like crown molding and even entire floor layouts for renovations - choosing where windows and stairs will go. These professionals will require an even higher level of skill.

Typical interior designer jobs

In-store designer

An interior designer working for a retail establishment is generally responsible for incorporating their employer's furniture, flooring, paints or accessories into a customer's home. These designers don't usually visit the home but may see a room through photos brought in by the customer. This can be a good starting point for unlicensed graduates.

Specializations

Interior designers who work on their own or for a firm will often work with one type of building, a certain type of client (restaurants, hotels) or specific rooms or design elements (kitchen and bathroom, lighting). Some may also choose to focus on areas such as:

  • Green design - involves the use of environmentally preferable paints, flooring, lighting and furniture.
  • Elder design - finds solutions to mobility problems for aging or disabled customers.
  • Ergonomic design - often used in office buildings and incorporates posture-enhancing furniture and work spaces.