If you have a creative mind, an eye for details and a love for décor, then a career as an interior decorator may be an excellent option for you. Interior decorators work closely with clients to create spaces that are functional and beautiful. They consider all aspects of the interior, from the furniture to the lighting, artwork and paint colors, to create spaces people want to live or work in.
If you’re considering a career as an interior decorator, you may be wondering what kind of training you’ll need, how much you can earn and what the future holds for this career path.
Interior Decorator Education and Training Requirements
An interior decorator is the same thing as an interior designer, right? Wrong! To work as an interior designer, you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree and likely become licensed in your state.
Interior decorators, on the other hand, don’t need the same level of education and training. In fact, you can take interior decorating classes at a local college or attend the best interior design course online and get to work right away.
What does the training for an interior decorator entail? Let’s take a look at one course available from a reputable online school.
IAP College’s Interior Decorator Certificate Course
IAP College has an excellent online course for interior decorating that last just six weeks part-time. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to start your own interior decorator business. The entire course is self-paced, so you can study according to your own schedule.
Here’s what the course covers.
Introduction to Interior Decorating
You’ll learn the difference between interior design and interior decorating. You’ll also learn the benefits of working as a decorator and how to get experience in the field.
How to Decorate
Decorating is both an art and a science. You’ll learn about the different decorating styles as well as room elements, design elements, and some general “rules” to follow when decorating a space.
You can be the most talented decorator in town, but if you don’t know how to get hired, your career won’t get very far. In this part of the course, you’ll learn how to find job openings and who hires decorators, such as home builders, retailers and design firms.
Starting Your Own Business as a Decorator
Interior decorators often operate their own businesses. You’ll learn how to get started with launching your own business, setting your fees, working with contractors and suppliers, and even franchise opportunities.
Working with Clients
Interior decorators work closely with their clients to help them achieve their goals. It’s important to understand how to work with clients to develop fruitful relationships and ensure satisfaction. You’ll learn how to find clients, how to identify their needs, provide consultations, hold follow-up meetings, prepare budgets and create decorating plans.
As you can see, IAP College’s Interior Decorator course covers virtually all aspects of interior decorating, from design skills to the business side of things. If you already have an eye for design and a knack for decorating spaces, you’ll find the business training to be invaluable in helping you build a successful career.
Of course, training is just the first step. You’ll also need to develop a portfolio. To do that, you may need to do some pro bono work for clients. As you build your portfolio, you’ll find it much easier to attract and secure clients.
What Skills Do Interior Decorators Need?
To succeed as an interior decorator, you need the right skills. These skills include:
A Creative Mind and Attention to Detail
Interior decorators are naturally creative people and have an eye for detail. As a decorator, you’ll work with a wide variety of clients, which means that you’ll have to be adaptable and able to focus on both little details and the big picture.
Excellent Communication Skills
Interior decorators must have excellent communication skills, especially if they plan to operate their own business. This is a job that requires to work with clients directly. You must be able to communicate your vision for each client’s space, and you must have excellent listening skills to ensure that you’re meeting the client’s needs.
As a decorator, you will also need to communicate and work with suppliers and vendors to bring your visions to life.
There’s a lot that goes into decorating a space. You’ll be creating decorating plans for each client and likely have swatches and samples that you’ll use when creating these plans. A good interior decorator is well-organized and has systems in place to ensure that nothing is amiss.
Clients will expect you to plan every aspect of their space, including every last cent in the budget. If you’re disorganized, you’ll likely have a hard time getting repeat business or referrals.
Knowledge of Eco-Friendly Practices
As more people become environmentally conscious, the demand for eco-friendly products will grow. Therefore, interior decorators should have knowledge of the best eco-friendly practices to cater to these clients.
These are some of the most important skills an interior decorator should have. You must be able to communicate your ideas and communicate with clients to build a successful career in this field.
How Much Do Interior Decorators Make?
Once you obtain interior design certification, you can now enter the field of interior decoration. How much will you be paid? We’ve used multiple points of data to determine that the hourly rate in this field varies from $14.75 – $60.
However, the average hourly rate falls somewhere between $22 and $25 an hour.
You may also receive:
- Bonuses of up to $6,000 a year
- Commission of up to $9,000 a year
In total, when all factors and additional compensation are considered, you can expect to earn between $30,000 and $110,000 a year. Of course, the high end of the field often includes the most experienced interior decorators who work in high-end design firms that deal with large design projects for corporations.
We’re seeing a trend in salary where new decorators are earning up to 10% less than they did in the past. This is common across many jobs in 2022 and we hope to see that rebound once the economy rebounds.
However, the mid-career and late-career decorators are earning 20% more than they did in the past. If you plan on staying in the field for the long-term, you’ll find that the salary improves significantly, and you’ll be an invaluable part of design teams.
Customer service skills are crucial and allow you to align the decoration process with the goals of the customer and designer to ensure cohesion in the space.
What is the Career Outlook for Interior Decorators?
An interior design certification opens the door to enter a field that has over 87,000 open jobs, but there is little growth expected over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With that said, due to people retiring and changing fields, it’s expected that there will be over 7,000 open positions each year for interior decorators. That leaves plenty of opportunities to enter this field and thrive as an interior decorator.
If you love the world of interior design and want to be an interior decorator that has the opportunity to decorate rather than design, this is a potential career for you. You’ll bring the designer’s vision to life by ensuring that you follow their design plans to meet a certain aesthetic.