Undoubtedly, formal education is essential to learn and gain a multitude of different skills that will later be needed when you apply for any job. Interior design is for those who have a knack for furniture arrangement, color coordination, and most of all, creativity. It allows experts to prove their prowess in organizing spaces, combine their creative skills, and interact with clients. The question remains: is formal education needed to have a career in interior design? It’s totally up to you, and here is a list of ways to become an interior designer.

Self-learning and Practices

Like anything in life, interior design can actually be acquired through self-learning. It is done through numerous practices: deep studying of the background on an interior design career, following the works of professional designers and being equipped with essential drafting software programs like AutoCAD. Moreover, another practice can be choosing a space and trying to apply different ideas to it. Knowledge is the key to interior design. This field contains several areas of study, such as principles of interior design, drawing and perspective, architecture history, computer-aided design, and use of color.

Schools and Programs

Having a bachelor’s degree in interior design is typically a must when applying in most companies and entities. A degree in this field is favored; however, in other places, it is acceptable provided that it is accompanied by coursework in interior design. As explained in this helpful guide, there are several options of programs in case you cannot go to four-year universities. For instance, some universities offer the same degree in their arts and design or architecture divisions. Besides, there are more dedicated design schools for more intensive and comprehensive learning.


What’s better than learning from the professionals themselves? Taking up internships in interior design firms or offices is always a great way to kick start your career in this field. Not only can participating in projects and learning new tricks from experts make you gain experience, but doing so will also earn you networking opportunities with professionals or colleagues.

Online Courses

Indeed, it is an obvious option, but the trick is to know where to look. The internet is full of online courses, and luckily, interior design is a field you can learn at home. Many certified courses can equip you with the knowledge and experience you need to pave the way for your career. You can also check websites that guide you through computer-aided design programs. So, bring your laptop, a cup of coffee, and start your journey.

Skills Development

Developing solid skills for any career is the basis of its success. You will be dealing with a wide variety of clients, and for a job as complex and meticulous as interior design, you must have certain skills, such as:

  1. Being Creative and Technical: the main job for you is to fulfill the client’s vision in the most creative way possible. Remember, the design shouldn’t just look aesthetically pleasing; technical approaches such as space, color, light, and building codes must be applied as well.
  2. Having Effective Communication: great communication with people is an important aspect while working with various types of clients. It is expected to work with other design-related workers like architects, carpenters, and construction workers. After all, excelling in communication will bring your project to fruition.
  3. Being a Competent Project Manager: an interior designer is the master of his project— knowledgeable of what to do and who will do it. Time and project management, as well as problem handling, are top priorities in his work. Project management also includes multitasking and organization.


Whether you decide to go for the traditional path and enroll in an interior design school or you’d prefer self-learning, building a portfolio is an essential thing to do eventually. A portfolio for interior designers is, mainly, a collection of pictures, drafts, and fabric samples showing your finest work. When you’re still a starter, this will benefit you as you apply for scholarships, internships, or non-profit programs for interior design.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you finally know what your calling is. If you’ve discovered that interior design is where your heart is, then you need to defy all the odds and go for it. Interior design is a riveting field; it is often filled with creativity, technicality, and detailing.

If you are in the designing, organization, and choosing furniture and colors, interior design can definitely be your calling. Whether it is your main goal or you have decided to shift careers, you can still learn interior design, which begs the question: do you need a formal education for that? The answer is yes and no. It is simply your choice.