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How to Become an Interior Designer


You can learn how to become an interior designer if you're willing to work hard and get the right education. Interior design involves creativity and multi-tasking, making it a good fit for a stay at home mom. It's a technical profession with strict license requirements, and therefore, dedication is needed to be successful.

Education and Training

To become an interior designer, you need a 4 year college or university degree. Some colleges offer a major in interior design. You may also need to get a license because 25 states require one to practice. Licensing rules can be very stringent, requiring prior work experience and passing an exam given by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification. You can also get training and become certified through associations such as The American Society of Interior Design.

Licensing Requirements

There are three classifications for interior designers in states that require a license:

  • Certified Interior Designer
  • Registered Interior Designer
  • Licensed Interior Designer


Your state law will determine which of these you can choose to become, and each require a certain level of work experience, education and passing an exam.

Options for Work

You have two choices for work in interior design: commercial or residential. Your choice will be determined by your level of education and training, any certifications you've earned, state license requirements, and experience. If you worked for a design company before you learned how to become an interior designer, then you may want to work with business owners. You may prefer working with homeowners. The more you specialize, the more competitive you'll become. Word-of-mouth marketing is key in this business and choosing a niche will help you land repeat business and referrals from customers.

Skills Required

Interior designers must know how to plan and design spaces based on the needs of their clients. In order to help the client, you must have technical knowledge, such as how to meet the requirements of building and structural safety codes. Artistic skills are also required, such as knowing how to work with colors, lighting and textures. People skills are a must if you want to become an interior designer, because of the various team players you must work with in order to complete each project. Finally, improving your writing skills and learning how to create and present proposals will also help you get clients

Interior Design Versus Interior Decorator

When you're learning how to become an interior designer, it may sound similar to becoming an interior decorator. However, there is a difference. Interior design involves much more education and skills. The work can be very technical because it involves health and safety issues. An interior decorator on the other hand is more limited in their skills and work. A decorator works to make a space attractive and comfortable, but does not solve the technical aspects of spaces.

If you have the education and prior work experience, then interior design is a good opportunity for a stay at home mom. However, if you're not able to meet the license requirements right away, interior decoration may be the best option.


Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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