A formal education at a post-secondary institution is not required to enter the interior design field. However, designers who go this route may lack the fundamental design principles and skills necessary to achieve success in a field where success is highly dependent on technical knowledge. Generally, a degree in interior design should be completed to give those starting out in this field the best chance for a long and lucrative career.
Aside from a degree, prospective designers should have a passion and aptitude for art as it relates to interior spaces. Interior designers not only have artistic talent, they are also able to effectively communicate ideas to clients in the form of diagrams, material samples, and other visual and verbal forms of communication. Lighting, colour, balance and other elements contribute to the overall look of a space. Designers not only know this information, they are able to convey these concepts to their clients.
A high degree of technical knowledge as it relates to indoor safety and function is also essential. Designs must meet all building code and safety standards while remaining within the confines of the client's specifications. Spaces must also be functional, allowing traffic to flow freely and improving efficiency in work environments.
In addition to technical expertise, designers must excel at time management. Often self-employed and working independently, good time management skills, knowledge of how to increase productivity, and project management abilities are essential to establishing a career in interior design.
Interpersonal skills are also essential because designers often work in a team that may include architects or other designers. Often, a team is necessary when the client's project is large or requires several areas of expertise. Designers must be able to lead or work well as part of a team in order to carry out these projects successfully.