How to Become an Interior Decorator?. How to Become an Interior Decorator?
If you have a love of decorating and a knack for arranging furniture and choosing décor and color, a career as an interior decorator may be perfect for you. To become a "decorator" you don’t need an extensive education or a fancy degree, just a good eye and a passion for the job. However, if you are interested in interior design, you will need to take specialized courses and gain the proper licensing from the state, depending on which state you are in.
Evaluate your skills, strengths and weaknesses. If people regularly compliment your decorating skills and turn to you for advice, that's a good sign that you have the natural talent to be an interior decorator. However, when working for others, you'll be exposed to a variety of different tastes and styles. You'll have to be able to show an extensive knowledge of space planning, fabrics and materials and you'll also have to be able to work with different personalities. List areas that may be challenging, and start working on them.
Get training. You won't have to have a degree to work as an interior decorator, but some classes or certifications can give you greater credibility. Many community colleges offer associates degrees, and colleges often have certification programs or short courses on interior design. Online programs and classes in home staging or organizing can be helpful as well. Besides all of that, you can begin teaching yourself immediately. Learn the fundamentals, such as types of materials, decorating history and popular decorating styles.
Practice interior decorating. Volunteer to help friends and family with decorating projects. Look for volunteer projects with local organizations. Look for service organizations like Habitat for Humanity and local shelters. Even decorating spaces for special events is good experience.
Put together a portfolio. Make sure to take photographs of all projects that you complete. Keep hard copies as well as showing off your work online. Groups on Flickr, HGTV and other design sites as well as decorating blogs all offer opportunities to show off your work as well as network with others who share your interest and can give you more information about how to become an interior decorator.
Find a job. Look for a job in interior decorating or visual merchandising. Competition is high, so a high paying, professional job may not be easy to find. However, you can get started by working in a furniture store, design center, or local department store. A job that offers a chance to do some decorating and visual merchandising--arranging items that attract buyers' attention and are pleasing to the eye--will add to your experience and portfolio.
Know the difference. An interior designer is not an interior decorator. These are two different jobs, that require slightly different skill sets and have different educational and certification requirements. As a general rule, interior designers are far more employable and tend to make more money than interior decorators.
Get your license. Depending on what state you live in, the licensing requirements and guidelines are different. Some states don't require any licensing for interior designers while other states will not allow you to work in interior design without a license. Whether your state requires licensing or not, you really need a license to be viewed as a legitimate and employable interior designer.
In many states, you need to pass the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) exam to receive your license to practice interior design.
California has its own certification process overseen by the CCIDC (The California Council for Interior Design Certification).
You will need to identify the licensing process for interior designers in your state, as practices and exams vary widely.
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