Over the last year or so this has been a big topic on my Instagram. I receive a ton of questions monthly from a lot of you that want to shift careers into interior design and don’t really know where to even begin. I decided it was time I write down my thoughts in a full blog post because I can only answer so much in a short Q&A. I also will preface by saying I only know so much and since I went the route of getting a degree my situation may be a bit different.
Interior design seems to only be increasing in popularity in part because social media continues to grow. It has enabled me to start working on my own earlier than I originally set out to, which is incredible. I think the reason so many want to shift into this career is because it is appealing – a creative job where you can work from home, for yourself. When people ask me for my opinion on where to begin I like to mention it really depends on what your end goal is. Is this something you really love? Someone mentioned to me how would you know until you try, but I think you have a pretty good idea if you have a knack for design. Additionally do you want to work for a firm or do you want to build something on your own? Working for a firm requires a lot more of a technical skill set, but you don’t necessarily need a college degree in the field.
I personally couldn’t see myself going off on my own without ever having worked in an office and having no technical training, but people do it all the time. The OG – Amber Lewis has even said she kind of landed in this world with no formal training and she is one of the most talented I’ve ever seen. My best advice is to start with taking some online courses in Photoshop or Autocad. More Autocad than anything else because I don’t see a way around being able to space plan. This is how I create all my floorpans to scale. Most firms require that as a minimum for an entry level job and it will only make your life so much easier. I know there are a lot of alternatives to Photoshop out there, but I use it for all of my mood boards, design boards and mock ups. I find it to be an invaluable tool and it is fairly easy to learn once you get the basic building blocks down. A lot of community colleges offer courses (night or day) in these programs which is helpful if you learn better in person and want a more thorough class.
I also think it is helpful to take a look online at some entry level job postings in your area and see what their basic requirements are. They vary all the time and it will give you a much better idea of the skill set you may need. Even an internship in an office is a great foot in the door and can give you invaluable insight into the day to day life of a working designer. Design is incredibly rewarding and fun, but just like any job there are a lot of layers to it. The more you prep yourself on what goes into it, the smoother the transition will be when you decide to make the leap!