In previous threads the necessary steps to become certified as an interior decorator and/or interior designer have been spelled out by some members. Does anyone have a copy of their posts they could re-post? Also does anyone (Mary Ruth, Cocok, Cavin, Charles D) have a link to pics of interiors they have done, either personal or for clients (if allowed to share)?
This request prompted by a relative on behalf of another relative who is interested in interior decorating as a career.
p.s. I did check Joy Lucks file on photo albums to be shared and none of the above names have albums.
Nov 07, 2012, 09:14 PM
I can get things started by suggesting Education.
First, the list of upcoming jobs for the future (researched online), and has been a while that Interior Design is not easy to get into and the jobs do not pay enough to pay off student loans. ID is suffering with economy right now, and most designers do not help students with education expenses with just ID knowledge.
Remedy: First two years, take College required courses in accredited community college (English, accounting, business management, Literature, history of Art, Color theory, etc.) Check with college of choice as to what is accepted from your community college before setting out your plan. And prepare for the college of choice (second two-yr school with major selected as ID or Marketing or both)
Take MARKETING as major and then with all courses taken listed above... then take computer drafting (CAD) or whatever they teach now for drawing out what your plans are.
Interior Design as minor, when credits are accepted, the only courses left should take up only for Studio, architectural drawing and some other classes in Design.
The major courses in the Interior Design College are mostly academic with studio mixed in. Drafting and reading building plans are important, learning Architect's and other Designer's industry language is important.
The Fun classes are Art, Color theory,2-D and 3-D art (sculpture and stabils etc.) History of Furniture, History of Art, lighting (technical aspects) and then internship. Photography! Depends on the college, you can get a list of studies and requirements online. AND another language such as Spanish or wherever she would like to expand to. Used to be Mandarin was 'the' language to learn, not sure what it is now.
The HARDEST part of being an Interior Designer is Marketing yourself, and understanding business principles. The most successful are good at this (as with any business). One must learn where to look and what to look for in society to catch the latest fashion and trends with technology to keep up (competition is stiff as with any creative endeavor).
And as with any college, and ID is no exception, grades at certain level must be maintained or you can't move on. In other words it is not for anyone who hates homework! There was at least $100 (back in 1998 for me) per semester in just ART supplies alone, not counting books. The homework, drawing, making presentation boards, etc. had me up all night some nights, and long hours to finish (presentable and professional looking boards) and have right. There are presentations to make and constant explanations to the teacher and class as to how you came about what.
You learn a process, yes, BUT you also learn the mechanics of design. When you do something, an obstacle is thrown your way, you solve, and you have to do again and again... this teaches you to go through a maze and when you get stuck, you learn to back up and go another route. You are alone out there with the client trusting you and large amounts of investment on the line, you learn to trust your instincts (trained instincts) and the mechanical and technical process to get the job done. There is no flashy stuff like on HGTV where you have to make up a room in like 1 hr and then the whistle blows. This is learning a profession that will be your lively-hood.
I suggested Marketing, and specifically International Marketing because it is the way commerce is going in the future so why not have her primed for it. Travel and understanding clients from other countries other than US, is a huge plus.
My son's GF took this route, but she started with ID, then switched to International Marketing on her second year. The company she works for sends her to England and other countries to represent them. She loves her job and it is exciting, she loves to go to work each day!
That should get things started.
I am sorry, I do not share client photos on this board, it is a public board, and I no longer have access to the company portfolio since I am no longer there. Professional courtesy. I do not even share the file I have of my friend's homes I have done, you understand.
I can find Inspirational photos that can teach if you wish. If she wants to join Pinerest, that is a safe way to share inspirational photos and learn from them, she can ask me any questions she wants about them.
If she wants to post some photos here and start up conversations and ask about what, and why about things being done, I would not mind. I am sure others would answer too. We all do it already here!
Also in the meantime she can (not sure her age) but I met gals who took courses at the evening High School classes and saw an 'over-view' of what is involved in doing a design job.
I can look through my stuff and see if I can come up with some notes about doing a 'mock up' job for her to feel the process, I did this for my young GD who wants to study ID someday.
AFTER the college, 4 yr, (quote from NCIDQ site) "Work Experience: All work experience used to satisfy the eligibility requirements must be interior design-related. Work experience may be full-time or part-time. NCIDQ recommends working under the direct supervision of an NCIDQ Certificate holder, a registered interior designer or an architect who offers interior design services to ensure that 100% of your work experience counts. NCIDQ does not accept teaching as interior design work experience." http://www.ncidq.org/exam/elig...ityrequirements.aspxThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
I just realized I have a few books here, and was just going to start another storage site about ID, and color. If she would like to help in research for that I would love it! I need to scan some things... and can suggest a few books she can check out at the library.
I saw John Saladino give a lecture at the Design Center of the Americas for ASID. I asked him what was the best training for becoming an Interior Designer, he answered "become a waiter or waitress". He clarified with 'you have to learn to be able to serve more than one person at at time, remember their orders, and serve them good food on time'!
Like when you want to be an actress, the best experience is LIFE, just like ID, the more you experience, the better you can divide your time and prepare for the many phases of the job. And you can't have 'rich people' envy... no judgement of people, a client is a client handled with a professional attitude.
One of my professors used to say, no matter who the client is, no matter how much they love you and treat you like a friend (don't let your professional guard down) You will ALWAYS be hired help! good lesson to remember.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
Mary Ruth, thank you so much for that exhaustive explanation! I will forward it!
Aychihuahua, thank you too for the links!
This is one of my nieces who does a nice job in decorating her own home, but that is a far cry from being a professional and working say as a store decorator where the criteria would be much lower would never support her as she has a good (but stressful and not fun job) and is a single mom, also she is almost 50. Not that that alone would or should stop her.
Nov 08, 2012, 11:50 AM
My first question is always "how much money do you want to make?". Design is like acting in that very few people actually make the "big bucks". If you are looking for six figures or more the best advise I gan give is to go to a school in a major metropolis and intern at a big name firm. Even if the designer is a beast to work for. Otherwise $45,000 to $60,000 per annum is what you can expect, and you can make that kind of money working for a high end florist without the high tuition.
Nov 08, 2012, 12:52 PM
LOS, Well now MORE information comes out. She may not have the exhaustive time (being a single mom and older, no offense) to invest a good 5 yrs on this new love of hers.
She can get training from working for a shop or furniture store as mentioned. But SALES is a commission only with numbers that have to, I mean have to be met. Ethan Allen (at least the one in Virginia in Williamsburg area) Lets you in the front door, IF you do not make your sales, you get shown OUT at the back door. Sales and sales quotas are competitive and hard to do in this economy, but not impossible.
If she can devote one day a week, or whatever time she has to learn, she can pound the pavement and visit all the shops and designers in the area and offer to intern for free for a given length of time to learn.
Also, what PART of decorating does she like? I didn't care for designing and measuring for drapery, so I hooked up with a gal that I would call whenever I needed that kind of work, and she called me for the case-goods I liked to work with.
LOS, I graduated with my BS at 42, I took classes over the years after having my children, life would take me away, I would keep going back, one or two classes at a time. I NEVER gave up, nor quit in the 20 yrs I did this, of course the Associates (2 yr) came easier as we didn't move. But the BS was longer in accomplishing! During that time I worked: Paint company, became a color consultant there as I was taking Color theory classes at the time at Chamberlain Jr College in Boston at the time. And became part of a study group for advanced color study. The paint company was so nice and let me charge consulting fee and keep it besides working at the store with commission on the rugs/wallpaper/paint I sold. So, I had income from 3-4 sources. That was great on the weeks I got high commissions on all of them! I also reorganized the store, including clearing out old stock, so they let me do this in each of the 8 stores they had regionally. So, even though this was NOT about decorating, I learned a LOT about: Wallpaper Paint Color (with new computer that matched paint to color swatches) and combining colors, and consulted for the company on how light, shadow would make a color look 'weird', they sent me out to problem solve. Carpeting Products to go with paint (solvents, thinners, about paint brushes, etc. And I consulted, so I got to see hundreds of INTERIORS in homes that were high end, so the decorating was interesting with original art and antiques in homes over 100 yrs old.
I also was raising 2 children, cooking all our food from scratch, DIY at home, my own painting, wallpapering, etc.
There is a way for her to find a spot where she fits in that makes HER happy, only she can find that niche and path. She has to really think about what she would like to spend her days doing and figure out where those types of things are done.
When I had to move, I got a job in a health food store in a well-to-do mall in South Florida. On my breaks I walked around the mall. I made comments to the 'floral shop' and got the attention of the owner (I talked up the names of flowers, the style of arrangement, etc. What looked Northern style, country, etc.) She offered me a job, let me loose with silk flowers (so I wouldn't kill real ones) and my stuff sold. I had NO idea she also owned a high end accessory shop in Boca Raton as well! She ended up having me manage that shop and I LOVED going to work and playing with window displays and talking up vignettes to customers! Those were FUN days. And... I added to my knowledge for decorating as well.
One Studio Design class I had, the teacher said 'you should learn flower arranging because that is done last and sometimes the budget just isn't there for it'... the end of the budget money... and you have to throw something together. It also teaches you about balancing and thinking about more angles than just the front of a vignette.
And as I mentioned above. Have her take a MARKETING class so she can market HERSELF well. Or hire one to get her image into a presentation! Good luck to her!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
offer to intern for free for a given length of time to learn.
Mary Ruth, I so wish I had done this! Many many years ago when I was in my 30's I went to a shop in a nearby town to buy antiques. The man was so nice and I so wanted to ask him if I could do this. For some reason I was shy to ask him which was a huge mistake. I could have been 10 or 15 years ahead in that education.
I am passing all this on to my niece. Thank you so much
Nov 08, 2012, 02:30 PM
Well, DH #1 owned a shop in the center of a nice New England small town. He moved us there (had to stop my classes in Boston because he added over an hour commute for us. long story.... Well my dream was to open an antique shop near his shop, later he built a new shop (looked like a small NE cottage) and rented the other half, which would have been so nice for both shops. His shop was shoe repair but specialized in saddles, leather riding gear, I made an old Equestrian type decor in it (would have been great to have antique shop next to!!! BIG IF... shortly after, we split... another long story. I always wanted to learn Antiques, and also WISH I had gone that route.
Back then... way back in time... LOL the antiques were dirty and sold 'as is' no questions asked. I hated to get dirty, BUT always saw myself as cleaning the place up 'woman-friendlier' for shopping (as I did to the paint shops I overhauled). That would have been FUN for me, I would not have even seen that as work!
I would love to do that now, BUT I cannot lift, move, shift position, carry or create vignettes with heavy objects... I would need a go-to guy who stands there till I point (this over here, that over there... LOL)This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
I would have your relative really think about what she wants to do. She could be a decorator and help people beautify their homes. A decorator should probably have some sort of education in design, could be online. A decorator could be self employed or work in a shop that sells furniture or accessories. Her work as a decorator would be mainly residential.
If she wants to work in a big design firm, or with architects, and she wants to do any kind of commercial work, like hotels, restaurants, hospitals, etc, then she is going to need a full on interior design degree. She will have to develop both her artistic and technical sides. The American society of Interior Designers, www.asid.org has a lot of information under the section for students. She will need to go to an accredited school, and there is a list on the site.This message has been edited. Last edited by: cocok,
Nov 08, 2012, 04:12 PM
lady of shallot
Thanks Charles and Cocok. I'm not sure this is her dream or rather her mother and/or aunts who are pushing this on her because she has done an nice job with her own house.
She makes a very nice salary doing something she does not like and is a single mother of a single child.
I think "pushing" above is not right, I mean they think her capable of being a decorator.
The realistic figures Charles mentions are not enough for her to live on.
Nov 08, 2012, 04:23 PM
lady of shallot
. LOL the antiques were dirty and sold 'as is' no questions asked.
When I had my shop I cleaned everything. I did not myself mind getting dirty but I wanted my merchandize to sparkle!
My regret is that I did not start this business when I was much younger. In doing it I found out I had all the necessary qualities. I was good at the business side, good at the customer side, good at the design side and good at selecting merchandize.
Hesitation is often defeat. With my niece I think that maybe she was the same way I was when young. In other words you may as well have self confidence because the lack of it is crippling and certainly counter productive. You might as well take a chance at failing at something you love as well as something you hate (like for me typing!)
Nov 08, 2012, 05:24 PM
She can grow this HOBBY of hers, keep her job and hang out here on HGTV boards and give advice, share her home photos and get the complements from other than her family and friends. That will be a good starting point. Reality to that hobby needs to happen. Then she can do work for people one at a time, of what SHE likes to do, and that can show her what her direction is.
She can even start a blog, see how her following goes. This can be done without leaving her paying job.
This ending description of her is so different than the way this SOS thread started! The advice I gave and direction towards Interior Design and schooling, etc. Was not necessary if she is being 'pushed'. That could have saved me a lot of time LOS, not complaining but it cost time to answer an SOS... that is not really what was going on. OK?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
Mary Ruth, I am very sorry. I had no intention of having you go to the amount of work you went to. Previously when we have had discussions here about "professional v non-professional decorators" many "real" decorators had written posts about the necessary education, qualifying steps they had taken. I was really just looking for a re-post of those same things.
It never occurred to me that someone would go to the exhaustive new work you have done. I am truly sorry for the misunderstanding.
Of course I have forwarded all your information to my niece. She is deeply unhappy in her current job, she does have an incipient interest in decorating. Also (although not really pertinent to our discussion) she is not having the best of all possible lives.
I would never want to put you, or any other member to unnecessary work here. I think what you have posted could be a learning experience for many. It certainly was very informative to me.
Also as I say "pushed" is not really correct. Her aunts/mother want to be supportive of her in this endeavor, but of course it is her interest that is of paramount importance.
She indicates her interest by the love and attention she lavishes on her home. She is evidently a hard worker and a sharp cookie or she would not be commanding the salary she does with no college education. The information you have given could possibly change the course of one person's life. I really do thank you.
Nov 09, 2012, 11:54 AM
Mary Ruth gave some very insightful suggestions for your niece and after reading them, the pursuit of a design degree could seem daunting. It is not a profession for the faint of heart. This is my blunt answer to the question. It's a long way between being talented in decorating one's own home to becoming a professional. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Good taste is part of the equation but there is so much more to know than most realize. And the responsibility is huge. You are asking a homeowner to spend vast sums of money on items for their home and they are relying on you to do it right. Then it no longer is about your taste, it is about theirs and their lifestyle, budget, etc. On the surface, being a designer looks like fun and many think it is easy. It can be fun but it is never, ever easy. I am in no way trying to discourage your niece or anyone else in this forum to pursue a career in design. But all of the things Mary Ruth mentioned are so true and then some.
Nov 09, 2012, 01:04 PM
LOS, I am NOT upset! Just an 'SOS' was probably NOT the way to go about this topic, but all done now.. NO big deal, just had to express my frustration as I read more... I am so over it... LOL Next time, I will wait to see 'HOW a topic develops before I even comment'. Yap, made me 'first poster' shy! LOL all in FUN!
Susan, Thank you for your kind words. I wanted to say more along the lines of some of the things you mentioned. I agree with your post, insightful and more discrete than I posted!
My Opinion: I don't know many people who LOVE their jobs, I mean really. My sister hated her job, then got a new job (searched for 2 yrs for a new one) found one... and is about to retire from what she called the 'job from ****'! She jumped out of the frying pan into the fire!
Suggestion: This person should try and change her attitude about her job so it won't make her sick, at least that would be a start of making things better for her. If the income is good, she needs to find a way to cope. She may have counseling covered with her job, and she can go to learn more about coping with problems at work.
My experience: One time I was threatened by someone at work, and I went to counseling to learn to cope with the fear because it took a while to get it rectified and fixed. Was NOT fun, but I had a good job, so I stuck it out, counseling helped me not to 'victimize' myself, there is enough stress in the world not to add to it. (working in shops with a lot of Testosterone around made it hard sometimes with those who hate a woman knowing more than they do about something).
This is my blunt answer to the question. It's a long way between being talented in decorating one's own home to becoming a professional.
Actually this is part of the information I was trying to share with my niece and maybe the encouragement she is receiving by others who are very innocent (i.e. one of my sisters told me that her city probably does not have any interior decorators. . . this about one of N.Y. states largest cities!)
Mary Ruth, its true she doesn't like her current job.. She had a wonderful job in a business that got consolidated (she was the head in the office) and so someone else inherited the top post. She was unemployed for 6 or 7 months. Her new job is extremely demanding. . . long hours and more at home. She is salaried and so her time is no longer her own. Plus being a single parent of an 11 (going on 20) year old
Nov 09, 2012, 03:43 PM
My sister too, and my daughter both had their company bought by a larger company and turn into the Gestapo! Geech!
I hope things improve for her OR she finds a better way to cope for her sake!
Just wanted to comment that at this moment 290 people have read this thread, and I would bet that there are some in that number who benefited from your extensive information Mary Ruth. I don't think any effort here is ever wasted.
Nov 10, 2012, 02:11 PM
Design is a really tough business. Most designers I know are extremely generous with their time because it is such a passion, and they enjoy helping people. Unfortuneately a lot of potential clients think that the information comes naturally,so with no concept of what "intellectual property" is, they have a hard time putting a dollar value on the information provided. So it takes a calm yet forceful personality to make sure to get paid for your work and not to give away too much in order to be accepted/ appreciated.
Nov 10, 2012, 02:18 PM
lady of shallot
So it takes a calm yet forceful personality to make sure to get paid for your work and not to give away too much in order to be accepted/ appreciated.
I had a very good friend who worked successfully as a decorator with no degree or I believe even classes. But she did have great assurance and entry to higher levels of society in this little nook of the world and so one client after another. She is generous (got my DD a sofa at her cost) Gave me this French wallpaper (not pre pasted!) left over from a clients job. She & I loved to talk decorating. So while she was generous with friends she did value her time and her knowledge with paying clients. I remember that she would never divulge the name of any paint she used on a job, but gladly gave me lots of quarts of paint! also fabric samples (p.s. I never asked for the name of a paint I mean other people.)
Nov 10, 2012, 02:21 PM
lady of shallot
Posted Nov 10, 2012 01:17 PM Hide Post Just wanted to comment that at this moment 290 people have read this thread, and I would bet that there are some in that number who benefited from your extensive information Mary Ru
I benefitted from Mary Ruth's information and not only to forward it to my niece. To understand the nuts and bolts of any endeavor encourages great appreciation and understanding and of course awareness!
Nov 10, 2012, 05:15 PM
Thanks for kind words here and words of wisdom for others to glean from.
I just shared my grassroots beginning. As far as developing a career, each one has to find his or her own path. After all life is different for each one of us. And what makes us happy is a private and individual quest.
I am always glad to give advice (because I am older and have a different perspective than a younger person would on life) and add some life experiences to show that I really did 'walk the walk, not just talk the talk'(as they say in Virginia). Anything more than that, would venture in the realm of teaching, which is not what I am professing to do.
I came back to add: You think the over 300 (336) views are to see IF a decorator/designer cat fight was going on? LOL I say this in sincerest of HUMOROUS thoughts! (and hope they get a little flushed when they see this post) LOLThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
I had noooooooo idea so much was required to be an ID; I'm floored anddddddd impressed. No way could I get through courses like that!
Nov 23, 2012, 07:02 AM
CJO, As with ANY profession, there is hard work and dedication. When you love a profession such as law, Architecture, Doctor, Teacher-Professor... you cannot just become one with a degree, you must be 'IN' it and see all the parts and what it takes to be a professional. It takes years to accrue the information within a chosen field.
BUT the only way to start a career to be in the field of endeavor you love, is to START! If you do not take the first step for any start up you just won't ever get to step 2 and so on.
over 600 views now on this post...
*This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,