Is interior design a natural talent or learned skill? I say both. You can attend school forever and never possess the creativity required for interior design. Residential certification can take just 12-24 months of studying and teach future designers how to plan projects, choose the right materials for the right purpose, use contracts, space plan, furniture design, architecture and so much more. Not to mention it can save you a plenty of money when compared to a four-year college which focuses more on commercial interior design.
Adding an easy to follow certification course to your bag of skills will help you utilize your natural raw talent with basic techniques and business expertise required for your success. Training gives you the confidence and knowledge to succeed in a residential interior design career. Most colleges are too expensive and geared more towards commercial interior design. Some of the most successful interior designers in the country have studied the basic techniques and gained national attention because of their talent.
One of the best things about interior design is that there are infinite ways to express your artistic talent. Some interior designers use their artistic talent to paint a signature piece of art for their client’s design. This makes them stand out as a designer and they are forever remembered by their clients. The reality is that the artistic expression is endless in this career choice. With that being said, there are still many aspects of the business that have to be taught.
Before you work with a client you should learn how to bill clients, use the right contracts, posses the proper terminology, locate wholesale items, prepare a space plan, collect useful samples, manage budgets, and understand project management. Those are just a few of the necessary skills that you’ll be learning in a reputable residential course. Bring your natural talent to the course and then build upon it!
Design is a career of choice for individuals with artistic talent. A successful designer is constantly learning. It is critical to ones career to be familiar with the newest products and technology concerning the home. This career is constantly evolving with art, color, products, green choices, ergonomics, and style. Professionals love learning about the latest products available to bring added value to their clients, as well keeping up with industry news to stand out amongst their colleagues. This is a competitive field and product knowledge is power!
The biggest pitfall for most designers is that, as artists, they do not typically posses the business skills needed to succeed in this career. Also artistically minded individuals such as designers typically possess a “flower child” mentality that provides volumes of imagination. A typical designer thought would be as follows: “Let’s make the world a more beautiful place even if I have to sacrifice my income!” This is where the starving artist who does not realize his or her self-worth comes into play. Imagine having an experienced colleague protecting you from the pitfalls, helping you realize your worth, and teaching you how to charge properly.
We don’t hear about the start-up struggles because, like other professions, we are a proud bunch. However, if you get a group of interior designers together in a room and bring up their first several years in the business it will go something like this: “I was so excited about designing Mrs. Smith’s house that I felt guilty charging them anything! I did charge them a small amount; after all I was lucky that they liked me enough to allow me to design their three million dollar home. Yes, I had to get a roommate to meet the rent, but I didn’t mind (chuckle) because I made them so happy. I lived on three cans of tuna a week and boiled noodles for seven months. They said that I did a great job and that I was lucky they chose me. Oh well, at least I stayed thin.”
If that sounds like it was spoken from the heart, it was! That was just one of my first four years of experience in this industry. The early years of designing homes worth $500,000 and up, barely paying my rent, and struggling to survive are just a few of the reasons that I love to protect young designers. Yes, you guessed it. I was one of the designers that attended an expensive college, costly 2 years specialty college which left me in dept for several years after graduation and I was never taught the secrets of success in interior design, nor was I told how to avoid the pitfalls. Not to mention the fact that I was one of the few graduates of my class that actually continued into a lifelong career as an interior designer.
Though many of my fellow students may have possessed more drafting skills or auto cad skills than I did, they did not necessarily posses people skills or natural artistic ability to become an interior designer. That’s when I came to the realization that it does not matter how much an interior design student spends, they either have it or they don’t! Education is of the utmost importance with regards to an interior design career. In fact, a successful interior designer never stops learning and discovering the latest products available for her clients. You will succeed in this career if you have true passion for it.
The reality is that many interior designers have discovered their passion after attending 4 and 6 years of colleges, while others recognize it as their desired direction at young age. Many interior design students have degrees in psychology (priceless when you are working in clients’ homes), fashion degrees, art degrees, six year business degrees, graphic arts that is just to name a few that I have heard.,, not to mention a few doctors and a pilot! Others are full time mothers who experienced a burning passion for design for years while raising their children. Our students come from all walks of life. The importance of education is without a doubt crucial. That is what makes this opportunity so wonderful. There are qualified programs available that will teach you the pitfalls so you will be more productive and focussed on what is most important… Great designs and happy clients!
If you are artistic, dedicated with a desire to learn and contemplating this as a career there is one more skill that I believe is required, and this may be one of the most important characteristics of a good residential interior designer – you must really like people. People skills are not often discussed in conjunction with interior design, but it is essential for your success. If you are artistic and possess people skills, then you are ready for your next step – to sign up for a certification course such as the Residential Interior Design course written by interior designers with over 20 years in today’s market. Learn from their experience, and let them share their pain and achievements with you.The simplest and easiest way to jumpstart your career is with the support and nurturing of experienced interior designers, working to prepare you for future success. You can be educated and certified, knowledge is power!