How To Become an Interior Design Consultant (and Their Primary Responsibilities)

Learn about the courses and degree programs that can help you become an interior design consultant. Read about job duties, professional activities, potential employers and opportunities for career development.

How to become an interior design consultant
  1. Earn an undergraduate degree. It can be important for interior design consultants to first earn an undergraduate degree in interior design, or a related field. …
  2. Gain relevant experience. …
  3. Obtain certification. …
  4. Create a portfolio. …
  5. Consider higher education.


What does an interior design consultant do?

Interior design consultants often perform several duties during their workday, including:

What is an interior design consultant?

Interior design consultants are professionals who help personal clients decorate and design their living spaces, offices and more. They often examine the space clients want refinished, create drawings and models of potential designs and work to enact their vision. They can use their techniques to focus on a spaces decorations and aesthetic, or they can help with layout planning and architectural design. Interior design consultants often start their work as interior designers, working for companies or businesses and develop their occupational skills before becoming a freelance consultant.

Skills for interior design consultants

Here are a few skills that interior design consultants use throughout their career:


Communication skills are important for interior design consultants to have because it can allow them to clearly relay their ideas and visions to clients. It also can help them answer important client questions and understand their design needs more clearly. This can help interior design consultants perform their job duties more efficiently and increase customer satisfaction.

Creative thinking

It can be important for interior design consultants to use impressive creative-thinking skills in order to create new and exciting designs for clients and businesses. This can allow them to develop unique perspectives, which can help them attract new customers to their consulting business. When developing creative-thinking skills, it can be helpful to listen to others advice, give yourself time to brainstorm and ask questions.

Drawing and artistry

Drawing and artistry skills can be helpful for interior design consultants because it can allow them to create impressive plans and schematics to show to clients for their approval. When their able to create impressive models and depictions of their design ideas, interior design consultants can help clients have a better understanding of their vision, and develop it more effectively.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail can be important for interior design consultants because it can help them spot furniture pieces or layout plans that require certain adjustments. By finding and fixing small details in their designs and work, they can deliver a more impressive and satisfying project to clients.

How to become an interior design consultant

Here is a list of steps you can follow to help you start an interior design consultant career:

1. Earn an undergraduate degree

It can be important for interior design consultants to first earn an undergraduate degree in interior design, or a related field. Though they have the option to receive an associate degree, pursuing a bachelors degree can help interior design consultants develop the necessary skills for the career and position them for future job opportunities and graduate school.

2. Gain relevant experience

During their undergraduate education, it can be beneficial for aspiring interior design consultants to pursue an internship or entry-level job that can provide them with valuable career experience. Some places, such as interior design companies, might offer impressive internships that allow individuals to learn more about the interior design industry and network with other professionals. However, there might also be other opportunities, such as in hotels and real estate companies, that require the use of interior designers to help sell their products or services.

There are also entry-level jobs that can provide helpful experience to interior design consultants, including a sales associate position. Working in the sales department of furniture, fabric or home goods stores can help interior designers learn important occupational knowledge, such as industry design trends, current customer demand and the pricing of certain furniture pieces clients may want.

3. Obtain certification

Though it might not always be necessary, some states require practicing interior designers to hold a state-approved license or certification. Most often, this requires individuals to pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. To take the exam, interior designers often need to have an undergraduate degree and at least two years of experience in the field. Even if the certification is not required for their state of residence, it can still be beneficial to pursue it, or other specialization licenses, because it can help boost their credentials and make them more noticeable to employers.

4. Create a portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your work as an interior designer that can help you secure clients and different jobs. It also can help you professionally present yourself and your consulting business. When creating a portfolio, it can be beneficial to use pictures and other images of rooms youve designed, as well as any sketches or models youve made for clients. The portfolio can either be a physical representation of your work, or you can create an online portfolio to more easily share your experience and reputation with customers.

5. Consider higher education

Pursuing a graduate education in interior design can help increase your occupational credentials and also allow you to develop key skills and knowledge you can use throughout your interior design career. Higher education also provides you with the ability to specialize in certain areas of interior design, such as spatial theory, designing historic buildings and more. These specializations can allow you to sell your consulting business more easily and help you continue to attract new clients.


How do I become a design consultant?

Design Consultant Requirements:
  1. Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, interior design, fashion design, or related fields.
  2. A license may be required for an interior design consultant.
  3. A portfolio of completed designs.
  4. Strong working knowledge of CAD software.
  5. Good understanding of colors, themes, styles, and layouts.

How much do interior designers charge for consultations?

Most interior designers charge an initial consultation fee of $50 to $250, which is usually an hour of the designer’s time. This hour includes asking you questions about your tastes, likes and dislikes, and budget. The consultation is followed by the designer putting together design ideas for each room.

What qualifications do I need to be an interior designer?

You’ll need:
  • design skills and knowledge.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • customer service skills.
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things.
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure.
  • knowledge of building and construction.
  • the ability to use your initiative.

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