Many students and aspiring designers mistaken think that interior design and interior decorating are synonomous. While the two discplines are very similiar, they’re not identical. Interior designers must understand people’s behavior as it relates to creating functional spaces within commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Interior decorates take already existing spaces and furnish or adorn them with fashionable items that make them more comfortable and visually appealing. An interior decorator’s main focus is on how a specific space looks and not how it fits into the overall design scheme of the building. In short, interior decorating is a subset of interior design. Interior designers can decorate, but interior decorators do not design. In addition, several U.S. states (e.g., California) and Canadian provinces have licensing requirements to become a “interior designer”. One such requirement is to earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their competence in interior design. Currently, there aren’t any such licensing requirements to become an interior decorator.
Interior decorators are responsible for creating a particular ambiance in a home, building or public space through the application of furnishing, adorments, lighting and other accessories. If you have an eye for color, are talented in design, and have a sense for what looks good and what doesn’t, then you might look into a career in interior decorating. As is the case with interior design, the interior decorating industry is projected to grow through 2020–and demand for talented interior decorators should be strong and steady during that time. However, even if you have the desire and talent, interior decorating is a little more complicated than they make it look on TV. Not only does it require a lot of hard work but it also requires specialized knowledge and skills. While some successful decorators are self taught, the majority learn the “ins and outs” of interior decorating by earning a degree from an accredited interior decorating program. In fact, earning a bachelor’s degree in interior design or decorating is highly recommended if you want to qualify for entry level interior design and decorating positions.
However, earning a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree in interior decorating is also good preparation for entry-level positions as an interior decorator or for an apprenticeship program upon graduation. Apprenticeship programs typically last from 1 to 3 years and are often provided by design or architecture firms. As an apprentice you’ll work under the supervision of a senior designer. While an apprenticeship may not sound that appealing, they are instrumental in acquiring hands-on experience that will allow you to launch and grow your career as an interior decorator.
Below you’ll find a few of our editor recommended interior decorating programs. To learn more about any of the programs listed below just click on the Request Info button and fillout the information request form.
Interior Decorating Degrees, Certificates and Diplomas