Becoming an Interior Decorator
While some of the duties and tasks of interior decorators and interior designers may be similar, the educational requirements and specific responsibilities are usually different. For example, interior designers will need to complete a bachelor's degree and may be required to obtain state licensure, while interior decorators are not required to complete any formal education requirements. Certification is voluntary for decorators. Interior decorators focus on the aesthetics of a room and are responsible for choosing fabrics, colors, furniture and layouts. Travel to clients' homes is usually necessary, and decorators' hours will often need to be adjusted to meet customers' schedules.
Interior decorators can have no formal education and certification is voluntary, but at least a high school diploma may be required. No prior training is necessary either, but for some positions, at least a year of related experience may be required. Key skills for an interior decorator include creativity and strong communication skills in order to attract and interact with clients. In January 2016, Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for interior decorators was $38,668.
Step 1: Graduate From High School
The first step towards becoming an interior decorator is to graduate from high school. Completing high school is not a requirement for becoming an interior decorator. However, employers may prefer applicants who have earned their high school diploma or equivalent. Students considering opening their own business may consider taking courses in business administration and marketing. Additionally, students may join high school clubs and organizations that decorate and prepare areas used for social events.
Step 2: Earn Certificate
The second step towards becoming an interior decorator is to earn a certificate in interior decorating. An interior decorating certificate program can help students learn how to improve the visual aesthetics and functionality of an interior living space. Students can find programs that combine both interior decorating and business classes. Interior decorating courses may cover related topics like space planning, color design, lighting and furniture cost. Business courses can teach students about working with clients, giving presentations, accounting, negotiating, advertising and working as part of a team. Certification options are available through the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NBKA), among other organizations.
Step 3: Find Employment
The third step towards becoming an interior decorator is to find employment. Interior decorators may seek employment with furnishing stores or decorating agencies, as well as pursue self-employment by running their own business. While some interior decorators may choose to decorate and furnish showrooms, others may want to decorate private homes and offices. No matter what career path a decorator chooses, they'll need to meet with clients to discuss their creative vision for the space.
Step 4: Additional Training
The fourth step towards becoming an interior decorator is to consider additional training. Interior decorators looking to advance in the field may want to consider continuing their education at the bachelor's degree level to become interior designers. Interior designers typically earn more money on average and have many more responsibilities and fields available to work in than decorators. In programs such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, students can learn about decorating, drawing and computer-aided design (CAD). In addition to determining the aesthetics of a room, interior designers may be part of the architectural and construction process and assist with room functionality and safety.
Pursue certification. Although not required, interior designers can earn certification through the National Bath and Kitchen Association (NBKA). Some of the available designations include Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer, Certified Kitchen Designer, Certified Bathroom Designer and Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer. In order to be eligible for certification, decorators will need to meet the minimum experience requirements, complete development courses through the organization and submit professional affidavits and client references, as well as complete a certification examination.
The steps towards becoming an interior decorator include graduating from high school, earning a certificate, finding employment and considering additional training.