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Interior Design Courses | 10 things you must know

“The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work.”


Do you receive compliments on your interior design ideas or style? Do you love rearranging people’s furniture anytime you visit their homes? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might consider a career in interior design.

Before you make a life-changing career choice, there are a few things you should know about interior design. Designers face several challenges every day; some of these challenges may not appeal to you, while others may cause excitement and open doors to a career of your choice.

Here are 10 things you should know before becoming an interior designer.

Interior Design Course
Image Source: Elements of Style

An interior designer must understand textiles, colours and spatial arrangements. 

1. Difference Between Decorators and Designers

What’s the main difference between an interior designer and interior decorator? The difference in one word is “education.”

Anyone can become an interior decorator.  If you love playing textiles, colours, and fabrics can become a decorator by directly printing business cards and promoting yourself to many clients. This is not entirely a bad thing. However, educational background is also essential.

On the other hand, an interior designer needs to have an accredited education; an associate or bachelor’s degree is a requisite for working in the interior design field. If you want to pursue an education or jump immediately into the decorating world? You can read my article on interior design, but you need to Keep reading to see if interior design is the right fit for you.

Image Source: Grace Home Design

Are you insightful or talented enough to become an interior designer? 

2. You Must Have a Knack for Design

In order to become an interior designer, you need to have an understanding of colour, spatial arrangements, and textiles. Are someone who enjoys decorating their homes and you get a lots of compliments on your home decor? That doesn’t entirely mean you should be an interior designer, however, it is a good sign.

“The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work.”

Image Source: FD Photo

Interior design involves more than just looking at fabric and paint swatches. 

3. Interior Design Isn’t All Fabric and Fun

While fabrics, furniture and colour may play a significant role in interior design, there are plenty of other tasks that are required from an interior designer – these tasks may seem less like fun and more like work.

As an Interior designer, you need to have an education in the history of design, the structural integrity of buildings, ergonomics, spatial concepts, building codes, ethics, computer-aided drawing (CAD), psychology and much more.

These might seem like an interior designer is expected to be a Jacks of all trades, doesn’t it? These skills are required because designers work with not only homeowners but also architects, builders, government agencies, business owners such as restaurant, offices and shops. Hence, to become an excellent successful interior designer, you need to be educated and well-rounded.


I recommend you watch my discussion with Laila Othman Ali on Interior Design


Image Source: IBI designs

Educated interior designers who follows trends tend to make the most money. 

4. The Salary of an interior designer

After all, you think someone with such a broad education should get paid really well yeah? The truth is it depends. Statistics show that the average salary of an entry-level interior designer is not more 4,380, 000 Naira annually.

To be honest, this depends on a lot of factors, such as location, education, work experience, size of the firm/company and connections. 

Necessarily, you can dictate your rate of pay by increasing your exposure and experience as much as possible. Someone with education in the fields of architecture, building codes/laws and structural design will likely earn more.

Expect to deal with all sorts of different personalities as an interior designer. 

5. You Need to know people and Be a People Person

Learn from other interior designers, ask them to share their experiences, and they will give you some horror stories from different types of clients. Some people are weird, especially when it comes to their homes. While other clients have specific and clear goals in mind, other clients think they know what they want, only to later discover that they dislike the final product and are eventually dissatisfied with your work.

To be a successful interior designer, you need to learn how to be a people pleaser and sometimes a mind reader – someone who can steer clients toward a favourable outcome while making them feel they have full control of the design they chose. So you have to balance your design decisions with your clients’ desires constantly. 

Image Source: Greg Natale

A portfolio that showcases your projects is key to landing jobs. 

6. You Need a Good Portfolio

You know the saying, A picture says a thousand words, this is definitely true when it comes to an interior designer’s portfolio. You can be the most hardworking person, you know your colours colours and textiles, but unless you have an outstanding portfolio that showcases your designs and projects, your successes to win over clients will be very few.

“Everybody starts at the bottom. With some effort, experience and proper marketing, you can become a successful force in the interior design field.”

Image Source: Brizo

I made a short video on how to become an interior designer actually, you can watch it below, maybe it will add insight to your search

7. There are a lot of Competition in Interior Design

Interior design is a competitive business, even those who didn’t attend design school will tell you they can do a better job. However, the primary key to success is getting yourself noticed and known. A fantastic design portfolio will undoubtedly help you get jobs.

Another essential factor is acquiring an extensive education. The more you know, the better you will be. Start looking towards future trends such as designing for the elderly, modern architecture, population growth, and green design; education within these fields of interior design will give you an upper hand in the future job market. 

Image Source: M Architecture

Interior designers can telecommute, thanks to virtual room-planning tools. 

8. Try to be a virtual interior Designer to increase your Opportunity

Thanks to technological innovations such as facetime, Skype, WhatsApp video calls and design software, designers are discovering a whole new world of virtual design.

You can check this free online virtual room design tools available to the general public, interior designers have an edge on this competition thanks to their exclusive relationships with elite design lines. Several high-end textile companies offer discounts to designers working in the trade, thereby allowing them to get their clients the best prices.

Image Source: Visible Proof

Designers need to stay abreast of local plumbing and electrical codes. 

9. Designers Must Know Local Laws and Codes

One of the difference between interior designers decorators is understanding the codes and laws of local areas. Some of the details can be boring, but they are required knowledge for interior designers. Learning about plumbing codes, electricity and load-bearing walls may not excite you, but it is required. Staying abreast of such things gives interior designers an advantage and marketability that decorators simply do not have.

Image Source: Regas Interiors

Designers have to work with clients whose style choices may not match their own.

10. Remember It’s Not About Your Style, It’s About your client’s 

“While designers can offer their clients a wide range of design styles to choose from, it is important to remember that it is up to the clients to choose what style suits them best.”


Just because designers are educated and have good taste does not make their choices superior to their clients.”

Your job is to offer a variety of styles and direct the client toward the right design choice while allowing the client to feel in charge.