Designing spaces and creating beautiful environments is a dream career for many people, but the traditional path to becoming an interior designer may not be accessible to everyone. Going through formal education programs and obtaining a degree in interior design can be time-consuming and expensive. However, this does not mean that you cannot pursue your passion for interior design and turn it into a successful career. There are various ways to break into the interior design industry without a degree and become a sought-after interior decorator or stylist on your own terms. In this article, we will explore the unconventional route to becoming an interior designer and share tips, resources, and steps to help you succeed without a formal degree. Whether you are a self-taught creative or looking for a career change, read on to discover how to become an interior decorator without a degree.

How to Become an Interior Decorator Without a Degree: Tips, Tricks, and Resources

The world of interior design is often perceived as exclusive and requiring years of formal education and training. While a degree in interior design can certainly be beneficial, it is not the only path to a successful career in this field. With the rise of the internet and digital resources, it is now easier than ever to become a self-taught interior designer. In this article, we will explore the steps, tips, and resources for becoming an interior decorator without a degree.

The Importance of Mindful Decor in Home Learning Spaces

Before diving into the specifics of how to become an interior decorator without a degree, let’s address the significance of mindful decor in home learning spaces. In today’s world, many children are being homeschooled or participating in remote learning due to various reasons such as the ongoing pandemic. This has led to an increased need for creating effective and inspiring learning environments at home. According to a recent study, the environment in which a child learns can have a significant impact on their academic performance and overall well-being. Therefore, as an interior designer, you have the power to create a space that not only looks beautiful but also supports the cognitive and emotional development of a child.

To learn more about the importance of mindful decor in home learning spaces, check out this article by A House in the Hills.

Tips for Becoming an Interior Designer Without Formal Education

If you are passionate about interior design but do not have a degree, don’t worry. With these tips, you can still build a successful career as an interior decorator:

  • Study Design Principles: While you may not have a formal education in interior design, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of design principles such as color theory, balance, proportion, and scale. Look for online courses, books, or workshops that can help you learn these principles.
  • Gain Hands-On Experience: The best way to learn interior design is by doing it. Offer to help friends and family with their home decor projects, volunteer to assist established interior designers, or even work on your own home. This will not only give you practical experience but also help you build a portfolio.
  • Utilize Online Resources: The internet is a treasure trove of resources for aspiring interior designers. From online tutorials and blogs to virtual design tools and software, take advantage of these resources to learn new skills and stay updated with industry trends.

Ways to Break into the Interior Design Industry Without a Degree

If you want to break into the interior design industry without a degree, here are some strategies that can help:

  • Network: Networking is crucial in any industry, and interior design is no exception. Attend local design events, join design groups on social media, and reach out to designers in your area. Building relationships with fellow designers can open up opportunities for collaboration or even a mentorship.
  • Start Small: Instead of aiming to handle a large project right away, start small and build your way up. Offer to do small design jobs for friends or acquaintances, and use these projects to showcase your skills and build a client base.
  • Consider Certification: Though not required, obtaining a certification from an accredited organization can improve your credibility and open up more job opportunities. Look into programs such as Certified Interior Decorator or Interior Design Society Certification.

Becoming an Interior Stylist Without a College Degree

An interior stylist is someone who focuses on creating aesthetically pleasing homes for clients, while an interior decorator may also handle other aspects such as functionality and space planning. So, if you want to become an interior stylist without a college degree, here are some tips:

  • Develop Your Personal Style: As an interior stylist, your personal style will set you apart from others in the industry. Spend time exploring different design styles and elements and find what suits you best.
  • Build a Strong Portfolio: A portfolio is an essential tool for any designer, especially for those without a degree. Use your portfolio to showcase your style and skills to potential clients.
  • Stay Updated with Design Trends: As an interior stylist, it is vital to stay current with design trends. Follow design blogs, attend trade shows, and refer to magazines for inspiration and to stay updated with the latest trends.

Career Path for Aspiring Interior Designers Without a Degree

If you are starting as an interior designer without a degree, there are several career paths you can consider:

  • Freelance Designer: Many self-taught interior designers choose to work as freelancers. This allows them to have more creative control over their projects and work on a variety of design styles.
  • Independent Contractor: You can also work as an independent contractor for design firms or magazines. This may include doing design work for specific projects or providing content for publications.
  • In-House Designer: Some companies hire designers in-house to handle all of their design needs. Though these positions may be more competitive, they can provide a steady income and the opportunity to work on various projects.

Steps to Becoming a Self-Taught Interior Designer

If you are determined to become a self-taught interior designer, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin with learning the fundamentals of interior design, such as color theory, space planning, and design styles.
  2. Gain Experience: Offer to assist established designers or work on small projects to gain hands-on experience.
  3. Build a Portfolio: Use your projects to build a portfolio that showcases your skills and style.
  4. Network: Attend design events, join groups, and network with other designers to build connections and opportunities.
  5. Stay Educated: Keep up with industry trends and continue learning new skills through online resources and courses.

How to Succeed as an Interior Designer Without a Formal Degree

The key to success as an interior designer without a formal degree lies in constantly improving your skills, building a strong portfolio, and networking. Additionally, having a strong work ethic, a clear understanding of your clients’ needs, and a unique design perspective can set you apart in the industry.

Resources for Starting an Interior Design Career Without a Degree

Here are some excellent resources for those looking to start an interior design career without a degree:

  • Books: "The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book" by Linda O’Shea and "Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life" by Erin Gates.
  • Blogs: A House in the Hills, Decor8, and Interior Design.
  • Software: AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Courses: Skillshare, Udemy, and CreativeLive.

Mastering Interior Design Without a College Education

It is entirely possible to become a successful and skilled interior designer without a college degree. With self-motivation, determination, and a willingness to continuously learn and improve, you can master the art of interior design and build a thriving career.

The Unconventional Route to Becoming an Interior Designer

In conclusion, while a formal education in interior design can provide valuable knowledge and skills, it is not the only way to become a successful interior decorator. By utilizing resources, gaining hands-on experience, and networking, you can still build a successful career in this field without a degree. So, do not let the lack of a formal degree hold you back from pursuing your passion for interior design!

In conclusion, becoming an interior decorator without a degree is not only possible but also a viable option for those interested in the interior design industry. With the right mindset, dedication, and resources, anyone can break into this field and achieve success. Whether through self-teaching, apprenticeships, or leveraging online resources and networking, there are various paths to take to become a successful interior designer without a formal degree. It’s important to continuously learn and stay updated on industry trends and techniques to excel in this competitive field. Remember, with passion and perseverance, you can turn your dream of becoming an interior designer into a reality, regardless of your educational background. So take the first step today and start your journey towards a fulfilling career in interior design.


  • arthurmacdonald

    Arthur Macdonald is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been a teaching assistant for 10 years, and has taught middle and high school students in the Atlanta area for the past 5 years.