Education and Training
Some states require interior designers to hold a professional license from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. To sit for the licensing exam, an aspiring interior designer must have at least two years of college education in interior design and four years of professional work experience. Alternatively, an individual can possess four years of postsecondary education in design and two years of professional work experience in the same field. In states that do not require interior designers to have a professional license, it is a good idea for an individual to be a member of a national council or society for interior designers to backup her education and experience in the field. The requirements to become a member of a professional interior design association are similar to the prerequisites for sitting for a state interior design licensing exam.
Good Communication Skills
Interior designers often work one on one with clients, service providers, contractors or as part of a team. Therefore, a designer must have the ability to work with different personality types, be good listeners and communicate clearly. When there is a clash of opinions, a designer may have to act as a negotiator or mediator to help find a resolution, as well as have the ability to help a client understand why his idea may not be effective or safe.
Deadlines are a natural part of the professional interior design world. Clients may have specific deadlines for a designer to meet or a designer may impose her own deadline so she can move on to other clients. Sometimes, an interior designer may have to work on multiple projects at once, so project management skills are essential to maintaining order and meeting deadlines. If a designer runs her own business, she may also need to market herself to new clients while working on other projects, all while maintaining good relationships with everyone involved. With good time and project management skills, a designer can meet her clients’ needs and her business without looking unprepared or unprofessional.
Planning Skills and Design Know-How
The American Society of Interior Designers states that one of the most essential qualities of a designer is the ability to plan a space according to a client’s needs. In addition, an interior designer must know how to visually render his plan with drawings, computer-aided design software or scaled models so a client can see the designer’s ideas. Interior designers must know how to create a desired look and feel through the use of colors, lights, furniture, flooring and fabrics, as well as how to artfully arrange these elements. They must also read blueprints and know city building codes to maximize the safety of their designs.