How Do I Start a Career in Decorating?

Interior decorators use furniture, colors, and décor in functional and aesthetically pleasing ways. Continue reading to learn how you can begin a career in interior decorating. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Interior decorating focuses on completing the look of the inside of a home, office, or other building. In this career, you would help clients choose flooring, paint, drapes, furniture, and ornamentation that completes the overall look they desire. You might work independently from home or at your own decorating store, or you could find a job with a furniture or carpet outlet.

Decorating projects typically begin with a consultation with your client. During the consultation, you may discuss his or her ideas and interject your own thoughts on what should be done to reach the client's goals. As the process begins, you may consult with your client on choices in room furnishings, paint colors, and other décor items.

Clients may have many different reasons for needing interior decorating work. For example, you may help someone update a home or create a certain aura within a room. No matter why a client has hired you, it's your job to meet his or her expectations and stick to a budget. Some clients will allow you a lot of creative freedom, while others already may have ideas in mind. Budgets can range from small to extraordinary, depending on your clientele.

Important Facts About Getting Into Decorating

Online Availability Programs are available
Common Courses Housing and Home Furnishings, Display and Visual Merchandising, Space Planning, Principles of Retailing
Continuing Education Associate's and Bachelor's degrees are available, typically accompanied with interior design
Similar Occupations Visual Merchandiser, Refurbishing Coordinator, In-store Marketing Representative
Median Salary (2019) $39,502*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% growth (for all interior designers)**

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


You aren't legally required to partake in formal education to begin working in interior decoration. However, you're likely to boost your skills and have better chances of obtaining employment if you complete a certificate program in interior decoration. Courses in such a program can help you obtain professional skills in preparing design plans and contracts, creating floor plans, and installing various décor.

In addition, you can refine your artistic eye through courses in color theory, textiles, and presentation. If you think you need further training, you might consider a fine arts degree program in the visual arts; you could specialize in a relevant area like fiber arts.

Professional Certification

Although a voluntary step, becoming a Certified Interior Decorator (C.I.D.) might benefit your career. This credential proves to clients that you're qualified to provide superior decorating services, which could lead to more assignments and increased pay. If you take this route, you'll need to complete an educational program accredited or approved by Certified Interior Decorators International, as well as take an entrance exam (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Vista College

    Vista College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Vista College:

    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: El Paso
  • San Joaquin Valley College

    San Joaquin Valley College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at San Joaquin Valley College:

    • Associate Programs

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Ontario
  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Winthrop University

    Winthrop University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Winthrop University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Michigan State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: East Lansing
  • The University of Alabama

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Tuscaloosa
  • Iowa State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Iowa: Ames
  • University of Florida

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Gainesville
  • The University of Tennessee

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Knoxville