How Do I Get Interior Design Work Experience?

Dan Cavallari

Once you decide you are interested in becoming an interior designer, you should consider taking two important steps: enrolling in an interior design college program, and seeking out interior design work experience. There are several ways to gain interior design work experience, the easiest of which is consulting your college's career counseling center or your academic advisor. These resources will help you find internships and volunteer opportunities that will allow you to hone your design skills and build your resume in preparation for a job search once you graduate from college.

A person may get interior design experience by working under a more experienced designer.
A person may get interior design experience by working under a more experienced designer.

If you are not enrolled in a college program but want to get interior design work experience anyway, you will still have plenty of options. The best way to go about getting interior design work experience in this situation is to consider volunteering your services to local businesses, non-profit organizations, or public spaces. Offering free services is a great way to attract clients who will spread the word about your services if they are pleased with the job you do. Even if you get no referrals from your service, you will have developed your skills even further in preparation for a job as a professional interior designer.

Academic advisors can often help students find internship placement.
Academic advisors can often help students find internship placement.

Working in a retail showroom is another great way to get interior design work experience. You may be able to perform interior design duties for the company for which you work, thereby showcasing your skills and talents. You will also be likely to meet other interior designers if you work in the right setting; furniture stores, lighting fixtures stores, and other home furnishing establishments are good choices because interior designers will often have accounts with such businesses and will visit those establishments frequently to make purchases. You can showcase your skills and network for connections within the industry at the same time.

As an interior designer, you will need to develop skills using computer-aided drafting, or CAD, programs. Taking classes at a community college can help you develop your skills, and once you feel confident using the programs, you can advertise your services in a local newspaper or website to do freelance design work. Homeowners and businesses will often pay for such services if your rates are reasonable, and you will be able to hone your skills in real life situations. Having a certificate or other credential from a college regarding CAD training is a great way to advertise yourself as a professional in the field.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- Thank you for the advice. I have a friend who is planning to open her own interior design business, and she recently signed up for an interior design program. She feels that this will give her the information she will need to create a successful interior design company.

Taking a course on finances is also important. If you don't know how to manage money, you may not be successful in this type of business.


Many colleges that offer interior design programs include classes that allow the students to actually work on projects inside of homes and businesses. This type of course gives students the hands-on experience they need to learn the field, as well as networking opportunities that could lead to future jobs.

Any person who is planning to enroll in an interior design work program should get advice from a career counselor at the college. This will allow him or her to find out if this type of hands-on interior design class is available, and how he or she can registered for it.

Once a student is enrolled in this type of coursework, he or she should plan to make the most of it. Take plenty of notes, don't be afraid to ask questions, suggest unique design elements, and talk to people who are involved in the course. All of these strategies are important in a field like interior design that has a lot of competition when it comes to available jobs. The knowledge gained is also important for future interior designers who plan to start their own businesses.

Post your comments
Forgot password?