How to Become a Successful Residential Interior Designer

A residential interior designer handles a variety of different design tasks when working with homeowners. Their job is to consider the client's taste, how they live, what they need and expect. The design needs to be attractive, yet functional. This requires taking into consideration the space, furniture arrangement, how the room will be used, and the client's budget.

A residential interior designer mixes an artistic flair with a sensible knowledge of building codes and compliances. The designer should know how to draw designs on software programs like AutoCAD, and communicate well with everyone involved in the design process.

A Residential Interior Designer on the Job

A residential interior designer is in charge of designing rooms in individual homes. It is very common for these designers to specialize in certain areas of the home like kitchen design, bathroom design, or designing home offices. A client's home should reflect their personality. This requires a certain amount of skill and innovation.

There are several things a residential interior designer needs to do when hired for a job. First, they will need to analyze the space. The designer must also listen closely to determine the client's needs and decide whether or not building permits will be necessary to accomplish the job.

The next step is creating a design that pleases the client. A designer could be the only one considered for the job, or have to bid against other talented designers vying for the same job. A residential interior designer is usually paid a consulting fee for taking the time to assemble a design regardless of whether or not they land the job. Residential interior design requires the ability to multi-task:

  • Pick a color scheme
  • Find the right furniture for the space
  • Help the client choose art and other decorative accessories
  • Pick coordinating fabrics
  • Determine whether or not the room should be remodeled
  • Make structural changes to the building such as adding built-in storage, new windows, or doors
  • Get necessary building permits

It is not uncommon for interior designers to develop relationships with other designer and professionals in other industries like construction. There can be a financial payoff involved with referring clients to use another company's services. These relationships help a residential interior designer to begin a design plan more quickly.

Licensing Requirements for Interior Designers

Some states do not require residential interior designers to be licenses. However, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is lobbying to make it mandatory for designers to be licensed in order to provide their services to clients. A license requires accredited course study, an apprenticeship and passing an exam.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Interior Design

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            Interior Design (BFA)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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            Media Design, Master of Fine Arts (Online)
            • Campus-based and online degrees include Computer Animation (BS), Digital Arts and Design (BS), Graphic Design (BS), and more
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            Associate of Science, Film
            • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
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            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
            • Liberty University's online programs ranked in the top 5 of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility*
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