Full disclosure: We don't have a crystal ball or time machine, so we can't be completely certain which career you are destined to choose.
However, we do know students pretty well. We've spent decades helping people choose the right diploma programs. So we know a thing or two about career guidance and selecting the program that best matches your natural skills and professional goals.
Want to know if an interior design career is in your future?
In our experience, successful interior design students possess very specific strengths and characteristics. These attributes help them excel in training and build successful careers in interior design.
In this post, we explain eight of the most important characteristics. Take a good look at each item on this list. They add up to an ideal candidate for interior design training.
If you see yourself in these traits, you really could be destined for a career in interior design. Let's find out!
1. You're genuinely interested in interior design trends
You have strong opinions on how to lay out a living room. You love browsing through home furnishings and accessories online. You're always re-decorating and re-organizing your own living space. You totally get the life-changing power of paint.
And if you're already a big fan of interior design, you probably know the difference between Scandinavian minimalism, mid-century modern, and sleek contemporary. Maybe you even follow some famous interior designers online or have a Pinterest board on design trends.
Bottom line: you're genuinely interested in exploring the world of interior design. You'll need this passion to fuel your training process and launch a successful career in interior design.
2. You're creative and a good problem solver
If there's one attribute that will set you apart as an amazing interior designer, it's creativity. We're not just talking about using the latest, most cutting-edge design ideas in your projects.
We're talking about really thinking outside the box to solve very tricky design problems. Problems like clients with small budgets and big expectations. Or having to work with awkward, irregular spaces.
What if the materials you want are out of stock? What if the client changes their mind halfway through the project?
Creative problem solving is a huge part of interior design. If you can stay cool under pressure and are great at looking at challenges from different angles, you've got a key skill for this field.
3. You're well-organized and a good planner
Organization and advance planning is the cornerstone of efficient interior design. For one thing, you'll need to juggle multiple projects at the same time and ensure important deadlines are respected for each client.
Of course, you'll also need to show up to meetings on time and prepared, with any samples, photos, or materials you need your client to approve. And you'll need to make sure all of those materials can be ordered in time to meet project deadlines.
Plus, your designs themselves must be thought through very carefully. This work takes precision—and vision. You'll need to think ahead and visualize how the spaces you design will be used. Will they actually work for the client and meet their everyday needs?
So many design problems can be avoided when the designer is well-organized. This trait will offer you a big advantage starting from day one of interior design training!
4. You're very detail-oriented...maybe even a perfectionist?
Do you tend to notice when a painting is not entirely centred on the wall? Or when someone pairs colours or patterns that don't quite work together?
Does it bug you when work is half-finished or things aren't put back where they belong? Maybe you're often the first to notice errors or see tiny features on a piece of art.
Whatever it is, you're what's known as "detail-oriented." You like things to be done properly. You might even border on perfectionism.
No problem. This ability is actually crucial for interior designers. There are so many details to keep track of when designing spaces. Your measurements must be accurate to the millimetre. You'll have to watch the budget like a hawk.
And there are hundreds of little decisions to be made—like where exactly to place electrical outlets, whether furniture will fit through the doorway you designed, and how a space will look in natural versus artificial light.
Interior designers do so much more than pick out sofas and curtains. They actually create atmospheres. They decide what the feeling of a space will be. And that means being sensitive to every single nuance and detail.
5. You have high "visual-spatial intelligence"
A famous researcher named Howard Gardner came up with the idea of visual-spatial intelligence. This is just one of nine "intelligences" Gardner believed all people possess to varying degrees. These abilities determine how we understand and relate to the world—and what kinds of natural skills and talents we have.
People with high visual-spatial intelligence are really good at visualizing spaces and objects. They can think of a space or location, and without actually being there, remember all of its features with great accuracy.
Plus, they can replicate (by sketching, for example) the space and its objects from different perspectives or in three dimensions.
Engineers, architects, and artists typically have a high degree of visual-spatial intelligence. People who fit into this group often have some (or all) of these characteristics:
☑️ Excellent sense of direction (because they can visualize maps and places)
☑️ Natural drawing skills
☑️ Natural ability for math, puzzles, mazes, and constructing things (IKEA furniture, anyone?)
☑️ An interest in visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design, etc.)
☑️ Highly detailed memories of places they've visited
☑️ Tend to think in terms of images, or remember pictures better than text
You might not check off every item on the list, but chances are, you're a visual learner. And if that's the case, you'd be a natural fit for interior design training.
6. You have excellent "people skills"
Interior design is very much a team sport. You'll need to collaborate with fellow designers, work well under a manager—and most of all, deal professionally with clients.
If you're good at meeting new people and understand what great customer service is, you'll do really well in this aspect of the work. It will be much easier for you to gain clients' trust and earn the respect of your colleagues.
You'll also have an easier time pitching your interior design ideas and winning new projects. People skills are a must-have in this industry.
7. You're comfortable learning new computer software
Gone are the days when people drafted designs entirely by hand. Sure, you'll whip up a freehand sketch now and then, but for the most part, you'll use design software to present your ideas.
In fact, your interior design courses will focus heavily on ensuring you learn the latest computer-aided design (CAD) software for interior design. You'll also learn how to create 3D virtual presentations of your concepts, including video walk-throughs (very cool).
This is a computer-driven, technical field. If you're comfortable learning these skills, you'll do just fine in training.
8. You can handle criticism with grace
You won't meet a single interior designer who hasn't had to deal with negative feedback. Sometimes clients really don't know what they want. Or they change their minds. Sometimes your vision just doesn't match their preferences.
No matter what, it's really important to stay professional, polite, and positive during the design process. Whether it's your supervisor delivering criticism or a client who isn't comfortable with your plan, you've got to take that feedback and work with it.
This takes patience and perseverance. Short-tempered people need not apply! The work's not done until your client (or boss) is satisfied.
You'll need these skills in interior design training when you submit projects for grading and feedback. And you'll definitely need them to build a successful career in this competitive industry. If you're someone who truly loves learning, and can turn criticism into self-improvement, you've got the perfect temperament to become an interior designer.
Do you see yourself in all of these skills and characteristics? Think you could really get serious about an interior design career?
Learn more about interior design training
Herzing College offers an 18-month interior design program. Training includes an eight-week internship.
Click below to explore the program, see courses, and get information on admissions. Chat live with an advisor to ask questions about tuition costs, financial aid, the next start date, or how to apply. We're here to help!