How to start your career as an interior designer?

If you have a creative bent of mind and are fascinated with the way spaces are composed of, and want to take up interior designing as a career, then it is time to understand how the profession works. An inherent flair for colours, patterns, an eye for balancing various interior elements in a space are an advantage. But, to be a successful interior designer, you need more qualification than this.

So, first of all, it is important to understand all functions an interior designer performs and the challenges involved therein so that you can make an informed choice.

 Duties and challenges

An interior designer’s role is to elevate the beauty and functionality of an environment with his / her knowledge of spatial arrangements, colour coordination, the right kind of furniture, and the harmonious manner in which the various elements are put together in a space. So the role involves space planning, determining the most suitable flooring and wall colours / claddings, selecting the furniture, researching the latest products and materials, keeping up with new materials, finishes and trends. Also, coordinating with various contractors, vendors, stores, etc. And all this needs to be done keeping the client’s needs and sensibilities in mind. And you need to have a fair knowledge about architecture, structural design, how plumbing, electrical wiring, etc, work.

The challenges arrive when the client is not on the same page as you, or wants sudden changes in the plan, or the vendors and contractors don’t deliver on time or fail to maintain quality standards. So apart from handling the creative and logistical affairs, you need to be able to manage the various people involved.

 Professional qualification

Once you have understood the interior designer’s role and made up your mind, the next question you have to answer is, are you professionally qualified to take up the work? If you have the talent and you know your job, a course or degree is not a must, but it helps in getting the right kind of opening, especially with big interior design firms. And there is a whole lot of useful knowledge and experience that you receive through a professional course. The extensive and systematic learning will keep you ahead of the others. You study in depth about the history of design, architecture, art, culture through the ages, environment friendly and sustainable design, etc. that open new avenues to you in the design world. It allows you to take up internships and projects with big firms.

There are various courses available for a design aspirant, choose the one that best suits you.

 People management

Interacting with the client, understanding his/her sensibilities and figuring out what exactly they want even when they are not able to articulate themselves well is an art that you need to master. Making them realize the full scope of your plan for their space, and putting them at ease about your offering… It all takes good communication acumen. Also, getting work done from vendors, contractors and your own team, on time and within the budget, involves excellent people management skills, which you need to hone. 

 Get internship opportunities

While studying or at the end of your course, you can intern with some well-known interior designers to get the much-needed experience. Learning on the job is a significant part of growing in this profession as nothing equips you to handle such a complex gamut of processes like hands-on experience does.
This will also allow you to form a portfolio that will go a long way in getting a good headstart with a good firm. Create an impressive portfolio with a note on what’s behind the inspiration, so that your clients get a glimpse into your creative process.

 Find your specialization

Interior designing for various spaces like residences, commercial, hospitality and institutional spaces is different, requiring varied skill sets, so ask yourself what excites you the most, and then try and work in that area to gain specialisation.

 Nothing teaches like experience does

Every opportunity you get to express yourself creatively, grab it. Keep up with the work of well-known designers whose style aligns with your own, and try to work with them to know how they translate their creative impulses into tangible realities. There are top interior designers in Gurgaon who are doing excellent work, find opportunities to do internships or projects with them. Also, working on diverse projects enhances your knowledge and equips you with varied practical experience. Because, being creative is one thing, and imparting your knowledge and insights to create beautiful spaces is another thing.  

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  1. Loved the article. It explains in great detail about the challenges an interior designer faces and how can we overcome those.

  2. Great insights for someone who has just graduated. Would become a guiding outline to make way into a very competitive industry!

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