Addressing questions and comments I get on a regular basis!
Do you have to be good at drawing in order to become an interior designers?
Get ready for my unpopular opinion. No, guys, we are in 2022 and have advanced so much in the technology world. That is pretty much where interior design has gone to. The power of software. If you were to ask me maybe 10 years ago then I would say yes. Some designers still draw for their clients because they have the skill. I personally haven’t come across an instance where I had to draw in 3D for a client. Although, you might run into a few instances where you'll need to sketch a floor plan but that it is different in my opinion.
Can I get an interior design job without experience or school?
The most popular question of all time.
Most of the people that have reached out with this question realize they want to become a designer after they dedicated 2-4 years of their life studying something completely different. It’s never too late to follow your dreams and go back to school. I know it may seem daunting to go back to school and do it all over again, but do you want to live your life in what ifs? The time is now my friend. Go chase your dreams.
So to answer the question.
My answer is yes and no. I know, I know, but hear me out:
If you want to be a commercial designer (design hospitals, restaurants, hotels) then 100% yes. You need school because many corporate companies and design firms require either an associate’s or bachelor's degree. I say this because there are a lot of variables to consider when you are in this field. For example, many commercial companies use Revit or AutoCAD, you must be aware of safety codes, know how to space plan, etc. You learn all those things in design school.
Now, if you want to work in residential, then you can potentially get a job without going to school, BUT having an educational background will really help you. It shows employers you are dedicated, you put in the time and effort to learn more about design, and that will make you a great asset to the team. Yes I know there are designers out there who didn't go to school and are very successful. Some people have that natural talent and they worked hard to get earn that title. So, if you don't want to go to school you will need to work your way up through experience.
How long was school? Where did you go?
Interior design school can take 2-4 years. I went to an all year round college for 4 years and got my bachelor's degree. The school I went to was called Harrington College of Design, located in Chicago. Before you look it up let me just say, it closed down and joined forces with Columbia College. It's such a shame the school closed because I honestly loved that school.
What’s was your annual starting pay and current pay?
When I first started in my pay was around $34k as a junior interior designer. Then, as I made my way up to senior interior designer, my salary was around $51k. Pay depends on location, experience, and the company.
Should I get my bachelor's or associate's degree?
I feel like this depends on your personal life & preference. There's no right or wrong answer in choosing an associate's or bachelor's.
Does interior design take up to much of your life/time? Would you have enough time to have a kid and still work?
Interior design runs on deadlines. Sometimes you'll have a really busy week and there will be days when you can take it easy. When I landed a job at a high-end residential design firm, there was a high volume of constant work. Project after project, presentations left and right, and tight deadlines. However, when I worked for a corporate design firm, it felt like a regular 9-5 job. There were hardly any days where I had to stay late to work. The work/life balance is something that will fluctuate but when work gets hectic don't forget to take care of yourself!
To answer your question about having kids and working as a designer, it is certainly possible! There are many designers who have their own business or work in the field and have kids.
What do you even do in interior design school and what classes did you take?
I plan on dedicating an entire blog post to this question! In short, design school will teach you how to space plan, select materials, produce construction drawings, you will have your interior design studio classes, software classes, basic color theory classes, etc. Just know the homework is not your average college homework. I considered it fun homework because it takes a lot of creative thinking and it's honestly really fun, but let me warn you--the work is VERY time-consuming. I advise not procrastinate on design homework.
If you want to learn more about the classes click the box below.
How long have you been an interior designer?
9 years. Omg, that doesn’t feel real! I have been in the industry since 2013 and I find it so fascinating how different design life is now vs back then. When I started school people were still drafting floor plans, hand sketching, and now it’s all done through the computer. Even after all this time, I still love what I do.