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Are you wondering how to become an interior designer or have ambitions of becoming a full-time interior decorator? If so, you’re set to join an exciting industry with lots of career potential. At present, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,13,000 interior designers are plying their trade in Australia, but more are needed!

That’s because many new interior designer jobs are set to be created over the coming years, as steady growth is expected. By reading on, you’ll discover the steps required to realise your career in interior design, as well as some interesting tidbits along the way.

Why Interior Design is a Thriving Career Choice

As you’ll learn when taking an interior design course, you’ll be tasked with transforming ordinary homes into modern, eye-catching living spaces. Adding style and functionality to rooms is one of the top choices in creative design occupations.

But why? Whether you have a master’s degree in design or TAFE training backed by work experience, you can earn an interior design salary in the region of $90k-$100k per year. However, that’s far from the only benefit afforded to anyone taking this career path.

It’s also a field with lots of potential for specialization, as accredited training can lead you to work in a related field like:

  • Kitchen design
  • Creative project management
  • Design support
  • Colour specialist work

But how do you become an interior designer? Here's a step-by-step guide to help you realize your dream career:

Step 1: Getting the Right Training for Interior Designing

A bachelor’s degree or associate degree in the subject will help - particularly when applying for work with a design firm. So, if you're wondering how to become an interior designer, formal education is a good starting point. Even better, once you have your degree, you may consider taking a National Council NCIDQ exam.

You’ll have to wait until you have three years of experience and achieve a 70% pass. However, if you do, you’ll have a globally-recognised qualification that proves you meet all industry standards. However, it’s not the only interior design accreditation that will teach you the fundamentals.

An Interior Design Degree is Not the Only Path

You can also take Certificate IV in interior decoration, which covers the styling of interior spaces, space planning, colour selection, and furnishing. Another type of interior design qualification comes in the form of OCA’s Interior Design & Decorating Certificate, which covers various topics from colour theory to design theory to how to create your design plans.

However, no matter which interior design school you attend, it’s relevant to the work experience employers are looking for, which is why a lower-paid internship is a good way to get into the industry.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Interior Design Program: Factors to Consider

While interior design might seem like a relatively non-technical discipline, it can be a lot more complicated than that. All interior designers must also know all building codes and safety regulations.

This is where computer-aided design comes in to help support the process and provide a 3D rendering of the intended changes. However, there are several options in terms of software. They include:

  • Autocad
  • Sketchup
  • HomeByMe
  • SmartDraw
  • Autodesk Revit

Of course, design software is something you’ll use regularly, so it’s important that you choose an option that suits you and how you work. As such, trying a demo of each is a good idea to give you a clearer understanding.

Step 3: Develop Your Skills and Style

As an interior designer, you will need a specific skill set. You’ll be working with different textiles, colours, and furnishings, but the role isn’t all about being creative, as you’ll also need to have strong:

  • Communication skills - to convey your vision in-depth to interior decorators and other teams you collaborate with.
  • Problem-solving skills - as you’ll rarely enjoy a design project where everything goes perfectly
  • Organisational skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Time management

These skills are non-negotiable, as without them, you’ll struggle. Whether you're employed or freelancing, the design process is essentially the same, so why not try experimenting with different colours and hues and perhaps take inspiration from your lifestyle?

Also, don’t forget that it’s ok to change your mind in the interior design industry, so nothing is set in stone until the big unveiling!

Step 4: Launching Your Career

As we alluded to a little earlier, if you want to be taken seriously by hiring managers, you’ll need a great CV and an impressive interior design portfolio. At first, you must adjust your career goals to accept that you must apply for entry-level jobs with a lower average salary.

Aspiring interior designers must build a body of work and practical experience before they can be realistically considered for more senior roles. Internships & apprenticeships represent one of the most common ways to gain this invaluable experience.

Launching As a Freelancer

Whether from the outset or after working for an interior design firm, you can branch out independently and start a business. As such, networking is important in raising awareness of who you are and what you do. These events offer a great place to promote your services while gaining useful contacts from associated sectors.

Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram also provide a great platform to publicize your wares. You’ll again need an impressive portfolio - this time for impressing clients! Back that up with a dedicated digital marketing campaign, and you’ll start to get organic inquiries and be able to start building your client base.

Taking the First Steps Toward Your Interior Design Career

So, if you're wondering how to become an interior designer becoming an interior designer, it definitely requires dedication, knowledge, experience, and perseverance. Following these steps and continuously improving your skills and knowledge can guide you on how to become an interior designer. Don't forget to check out our Interior Design, Lifestyle & Leisure, and Interior Design and Decorating courses to kickstart your journey.

OCA courses represent next-level learning - something you can see by watching our short Student Study Demo. Our platform actively promotes lifelong learning, with 1-to-1 mentoring for every student to provide valuable industry insight and guidance.

The interior design sector is just one of over 20 industries covered by our course library. To see it in full, visit us today at You’ll also find many easy payment options to spread the cost.

Alternatively, to chat with our friendly experts about your training requirements, call us at 1300 611 404 or drop us an email at, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

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