How to start an interior design business

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have a flair for home decor and you want to turn your talent into a profitable business, become an interior designer. Interior design is a fun and creative occupation in which designers successfully transform a home or room for boring to chic. Although some designers choose to work with a firm, it’s possible to start your own interior-design business.

Develop a “good eye” for design. Most interior designers have a natural eye for fashion; they can quickly add style and elegance to any space. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to train your eye. Watch home-design programs and get additional ideas from show houses.

Educate yourself on home design. You don’t need a college degree to become an interior designer. However, some decorators attend design school, where they become familiar with different decorating styles and techniques. If you can’t attend a design school, buy books and other resource materials.

Decorate your own home. Before launching an interior design business, decorate your personal space. Experiment with different colours and styles.

Work for a design firm and gain experience. One of the best ways to gain experience as an interior decorator is to work for a design firm. There, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the business, and you’ll receive relevant hands-on experience.

Build a portfolio. It’s best to have an interior-design portfolio before starting a business. Take photographs of your work and keep them inside a binder or portfolio.

Get a business license. Once you've made the decision to start a design business, head down to city hall and apply for a business license.

Advertise your design services. Starting a design business is the easy part. However, marketing the business is tricky. Print business cards and stationery and choose an effective marketing strategy.

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About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as, AOL Travel, and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.