Decorating Majors and Degrees

While degree programs in decorating are not available, you may want to complete an interior decorating certificate program or an interior design degree program. Keep reading to learn more about relevant program options and the job duties and careers they'll prepare you for.

How Do Interior Design and Interior Decorating Differ?

Interior designers are focused on improving the functionality of spaces, whereas interior decorators specialize in the aesthetics of spaces. An interior designer typically completes years of formal education and work experience. Interior decorators may only need to complete a training program.

Education Requirements Interior designers need formal education and work experience, while interior decorators usually need to complete a training program
Certificate Program Topics Color design and theory, drawing, interior decorating principles and textile design
Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral
Undergraduate Topics Drawing, art, textiles, acoustics and building codes
Graduate Topics Design perspective, fabrication, private practice design and environmental designs
Online Availability Some programs are available entirely online or as hybrid programs
Median Salary (2018)$53,370 (for interior designers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)4% growth (for all interior designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn in an Interior Decorating Certificate Program?

Many schools offer interior decorating certificate programs that can train you to improve the colors, shapes, textures and layout of a space. Coursework typically focuses on interior decorating principles, color design and theory, drawing, textile design and window treatment design. Online options, though rare, will allow you to complete your program at home through instruction sets.

What Interior Design Degree Programs Are Available?

Undergraduate and graduate programs in interior design can provide you with skills in decorating and space planning, lighting and furniture design. Interior design programs can typically be found through a college or school of art.

Undergraduate Programs

Associate's degree programs in interior design include classes that focus on drawing and art history. Once you've earned your associate's degree, you should be qualified for entry-level positions, such as design assistant or junior designer.

Bachelor's degree programs in interior design can provide you with the practical skills and knowledge to design residential and non-residential spaces for clients. Your coursework is likely to include general education requirements, such as composition, art, social sciences and history. You also may take a much deeper look into interior design by covering topics in lighting, acoustics, building codes, furniture design and textiles.

Graduate Programs

Master's degree programs usually take around two years to complete, and admission generally requires a bachelor's degree with some coursework in interior design. Courses might cover advanced concepts of decorating in areas such as design perspective, environmental designs, fabrication and private practice designs. You also might complete a thesis or interior design portfolio.

Interior design doctoral programs focus on advanced topics in interior design, education and research. Doctoral programs are usually offered only on campus because you're expected to work closely with an adviser as you research and write your doctoral dissertation. Upon completion, you should be qualified to work in an advanced research facility or teach at an academic institution.

Online Programs

Some for-profit institutions offer interior architecture and design programs via distance education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs allow you to complete classes through an online learning network. You can expect to complete classes, critiques, workshops and meetings. Collaborative projects, video demonstrations, interactive slideshows and video conferences may also be included.