Are you considering a career in interior design? If you have a knack for styling beautiful, welcoming spaces, there are plenty of opportunities available for you within this exciting creative industry. However, a common misconception is that all interior designers are also independent business owners who find their own clients and work mostly by themselves. On the contrary, there are a multitude of niche interior designer jobs available that don’t require you to start your own business or find your own customers to work with.
One great option to consider after graduating is to work under the guidance of a larger, already established local designer. Not only will this provide you some invaluable experience, you’ll expand your professional network and get to know some other locals of the industry as you learn.
This job title is typically referred to as “design associate,” as within this unique role, you would probably handle specific projects under the larger umbrella in association with that designer’s firm name (sort of like completing projects on their behalf).
Do you want to go to interior design school?
If this is an entry level role that sounds like a good fit for you, we recommend that you approach the main designer or owner of a local firm (try to research the work they do and make sure it’s a look and aesthetic that you sincerely like) and offer him or her a proposal for how you could contribute and what you’d like to be paid. It’s important that you emphasize your genuine interest in getting some guidance and supervision as well as describe why you really liked this firm and wanted to learn from them.
Another exciting interior design career route involves working as a “resident designer” inside of a local furnishing or home decor store. In this unique position, you would work as a sort of “design consultant.” Essentially, on a day to day basis you would help the store’s clients pick out a selection of pieces and give them advice for styling said pieces in whatever given space they’re looking to refresh, all the while helping the store you work for make more sales. Sometimes in this role, you’ll actually have your own office within the store itself, but will also have the option to travel to shoppers’ homes to actually see the space for yourself and help develop a design vision before you guide them through their shopping.
Beyond that, as we mentioned above, one of the most common career paths chosen by NYIAD students is to simply launch your own interior design business. When you independently operate your own business, you will never be limited by the creative vision of higher management. As the director of your own firm, you can find clients of your own, draw up your own interior design agreements and execute all the planning entirely on your own terms.