How to become a interior designer

Interior designers have an exciting job. They take a space in a client’s home and redesign the “look” and how you use the room. This usually involves making creative choices and changing details such as the room colour, the materials used, room accessories, furniture, and the composition. The result is the design for the room. You use your knowledge of the industry and trends, and your own creativity to design spaces for your client’s which are a pleasure to inhabit. Design is about creating spaces for people to occupy and for the design to positively influence how people feel in that space. Your focus is not just on how the room looks, but you also aim to improve the functionality of the room. 

Do you enjoy visualising and carrying out improvements in your home? Do you have a flair for design and creativity? Why not consider channelling your passions into a lucrative career? Keep reading to find out how to become an interior designer, and find a course which will teach you everything you need to know.

Step one: Target a Specialisation

There are different industries in which interior designers can find work. Beyond working in private homes, consider stepping into the big wide world, and consider a specialisation for your future. These specialisations may require a course tailored to this profession so it is worthwhile considering the different possibilities before you choose a course.

Production Design

The film industry is an exciting world to work within. Seeking work as a production designer can make a good entry point into the industry. In this specialisation, you design set pieces and furnish rooms on the film sets. This job is fast-paced so you need good organisation and time-management skills. Historical knowledge can be helpful because the set will usually need to fit correctly in the concept of the story.

Textile Designer

In this focused specialisation, you design textiles rather than whole spaces. Good knowledge of current trends is still important so your work fits in the context of the market and will be desirable. This specialisation suits people who enjoy working practically with their hands to draw, paint or use software to create designs.

Props Department

A film industry specialisation, in the props department you work in collaboration with the director to source and design props for filming. This means you work to realise the vision of the film so all the physical elements of the work are in tune and conveying what the director wants to achieve. This makes an exciting specialisation for people who enjoy designing within a context. 

Step two: Choose a course

Once you have considered possible specialisations you may want to choose a course tailored to a direction you would like to take in the future. Or you may simply want to become an interior designer with no plan for a specialisation at a later date. Choose your course based on your passions, interests, and hopes for the future.

Step three: Look for your first job

Congratulations, after completing your course you are now ready to begin to look for work. When applying for your first job make sure you tailor your resume and cover letter to reflect your qualifications, personal strengths and any experience you have.

Step four: Gain experience

Building up your experience as an interior designer is very important and as you get projects under your belt you will find it easier to get more work. You can use projects in your portfolio, and this acts as selling tool and a demonstration of your skills to potential clients. Once you have experience from an entry-level job you will find it easier to change to a self-employed designer, or to direct your goals to career progression.

Step five: Apply to become a member of the Design Institute of Australia

Once you have qualifications and some experience you can apply to become a member of the Design Institute Australia. Becoming a member gives you additional weight when applying for jobs or pitching to new clients. In addition, you gain access to a strong business network and resources which will help you in your work.

What does an Interior Designer Do?

Using your sharp design skills you work with interior spaces to create beautiful functional masterpieces. You will have your own sense of style, however, it is important for designers to emulate all styles with ease. In the end, you are designing for your client, not for your own home. If they want a Chinz inspired design they get a Chinz inspired design! You work in collaboration with your client to choose colour schemes, a mood and style concept for the room. Then you begin to bring the design into reality sourcing and commissioning furniture, artwork, fixtures, and furnishing. All the time, not forgetting to keep within the clients budget.


  • Creating designs for different spaces in the home
  • Drawing up a work plan for the design
  • Sourcing furniture and fixings for the project
  • Pitching your ideas to clients
  • Supervising workers and tradesmen on the job
  • Adhering to the client budget

Skills for Success

As an interior designer, you need to think creatively and technically. You need to communicate well, the way you pitch your ideas to your clients can make or break the deal. Once you make an agreement with your client you still need to work with other people to bring the design into reality. You must pay superb attention to detail, because in design “the devil is in the detail”. In the meantime, you must manage the project efficiently to ensure the design takes shape how you have envisioned. Lastly, you need to take responsibility for managing the deadline and budget. In short, the designer uses a number of skills throughout the design process. These skills all play a part in success. If you have a weakness in any area you can focus on improving and perfecting those skills through your training.

Skills and attributes

  • Pay attention to detail
  • A creative person
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to delegate tasks and manage workers
  • Highly organised and efficient
  • Knowledge of design trends
  • A good eye for colour 

Interior Designer Salary in Australia?

In Australia, interior designers earn a median wage of $75,189 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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