Interior design is not the same as interior decorating. If architects design the skeleton and outside of a building, an interior designer plots out the inside of a space to make it safe, functional and attractive, whether it’s a home or a hospital.
Interior design majors typically are the type who like to doodle. They’re creative, maybe even eccentric. It can be a very artsy field. Interior designers should like late nights ‘cause they’ll have lots of them. They should also like competition and thrive on it.
Good computer skills are crucial for today’s interior designer. It’s also important to be a good communicator. You’ll have to articulate your ideas and sell your designs. You don’t have to be a great artist – many interior design majors can’t draw freehand well. You do, however, have to be good enough to translate your ideas onto paper.
If you buckle under stress, can’t meet deadlines, or have difficulty thinking outside the box, interior design is not for you. Also, if the myriad of home design shows on television these days bore you to tears, you wouldn’t last a week in this major.
While you’ll learn about colors and patterns and aesthetics, you’ll also learn about architecture and lighting and environment. As you work on projects, you’ll get experience with small and large budgets, building codes, materials, etc. Basically you’ll learn that a lot more goes into constructing a room than just walls.
Interior design majors can go into private practice or work for an architecture firm. They can specialize in business environments or home design.
Become as proficient as you can in design software now – everything from photo and typography programs like Photoshop and Illustrator to drafting programs like AutoCAD.
Depending on the college you choose, the interior design program can be very competitive. This is not the kind of major where you can goof off the first three years and pull it together when you’re a senior. You’ll have to prove yourself with good grades and exceptional projects each year. Marketing yourself will be key as a professional, and it’s key as a student – your portfolio will be your lifeblood.