8 Things to Do Now if You Want to Become an Interior Designer

Hello friends! I know I have a lot of readers who love interior design and even some who want to be an interior designer. I love chatting with design hopefuls (I get to meet a lot of them at the workshops I teach!) and one thing they all ask is what can they be doing now to prepare to own their own interior design business? I had so much fun listing these things out because it meant recollecting on my past as a design student and looking back at my journey. As I was looking for some pictures, I even got stuck in the black hole of looking at my past blog posts from college. Phew! What fun.  Hopefully this is helpful to you!!

1. Seek out interior designers in your area and ask if you can take them to lunch or coffee to learn from them. Better yet, ask if you can shadow them for a day!

This was something that attending FIDM impressed upon me. Reach out, learn from those before you. It's so important to see those in your field in action! A dream of mine had always been to meet Emily Henderson while living in Los Angeles. A project for school finally came up where I actually needed to shadow someone, so I remember sitting in my dean's office telling her I wanted to reach out to Emily but thought that would be too far-fetched. She encouraged me to go for it, so I did. I sent her an email while sitting in our school library (totally fangirling but then told her about my project) and not more than 5 minutes later, SHE WROTE ME BACK. She said she'd love to have me shadow her on an upcoming photoshoot. My day -- no, life -- was made! I learned so much from her that day, not just about interior design and styling, but how to work with a team, how to delegate, and how to be a kind and fun person while working with people. 

 (Me as a senior in college arranging flowers for the Good House Keeping shoot with Emily! Literally felt on top of the world. Ha! Read more here.)

Maybe you're not going to reach out to someone famous (or maybe you are; what's there to lose?!) but the main point here is to gain insight from as many people as you can. Ask about their start, how they run their business, how they keep a personal life while doing this, what's their inspiration, what's their biggest business advice to those just starting? Just soak in their knowledge.

I also reached out to the founder of Lulu & Georgia, an online home decor company, when I first moved to LA back in 2012. I asked her to lunch because I was new in the area and wanted to learn from her. They'd just started their company and I was eager to meet other Creatives in my same industry. While at lunch, the owner and I got to chatting about my design blog and journey through school. What I didn't know is that she was looking to hire someone to help with the blog, social media, and design production at the company. She ended up hiring me on the spot! I was floored (and so excited!) Had I not asked her to lunch, this never would have happened. 

2. Don't let fear hold you back.

I'm saying this right after the first one because it would have been so easy for me to let fear hold me back from emailing Emily Henderson. Sure, she could have said no. Or she might not have replied, but at least I would have tried. I can tell you I wouldn't have had half the opportunities I have if I hadn't reached out, put myself out of my comfort zone, and just gone for it. 

3. Continue to fuel yourself with inspiration.
(Some of my drawings from school. Very technical!)

School is school. Sometimes it can be boring. Sometimes you're doing things you'll never need in real life business. Let's just be honest ;) This is why I say it's so important to stay educated, inspired and up on trends in all avenues of design since they all feed off of each other. There were times in my schooling where I felt I was learning so many technical things, but we were learning nothing about trends, style, what's in, what's NOT in and I would have loved more of that. You can be a technically amazing designer, know what materials go where, but if you don't have an eye for design, you're not going to go very far. 

4. Attend a creative conference or workshop.

One of the main reasons we created The Bloom Workshop was because it's a workshop we WISH we would have had before starting our own businesses. I would have loved to attend a creative workshop where I would have gotten tips on blogging, social media, business sides of things, styling and design tips for real life business, and having the chance to meet some really talented people doing what I wanted to be doing before I launched my business. There's also nothing like being in a room with other passionate people who love and share an interest in what you love. It's so inspiring!

5. Get an internship or job in the field you think you want to go into. 

Can't stress this one enough! If you want to launch your own business, you need to work under people for a bit, too, so that you can BEST serve your own clients. While I was in school I worked for an interior designer each summer I came home. Then I worked for a designer for about a year after school while I was taking some of my first clients. It was really important for me to learn from them!

6. Really focus on learning the skills like Auto Cad, Sketch Up and Photoshop while in school if your college offers them. 

(These are some renderings I did in design school in sketch up. Sadly, I'm terrible at Sketch Up and don't use it for clients, but I use Photoshop daily!)

These are things that will set you apart from other designers! I've gotten jobs because I know CAD before. My clients love that I can do mockups in Photoshop so they can see everything together before they make purchases. 


This is one of my main regrets in college. We took one business class as a part of our major, but I needed way more in order to feel confident about actually running a business! 

8. Start a blog! Or at the very least, an Instagram page to showcase your projects and inspiration. 

This is hands down the most important thing I did for my business. There's no way I would have been able to launch my business so quickly without my blog. I also wouldn't have gotten a couple awesome opportunities if I didn't have a blog. Emily Henderson told me that if I didn't link to my blog in my original email where I reached out to her, she probably wouldn't have been interested in having me come shadow her. She said the blog vouched for my passion and talent. The owner of Lulu & Georgia said the same thing to me on our first lunch date. 

If you don't want to start a blog, consider starting an Instagram account where you can share your school projects, any client work, and general style inspiration. It's a great way to build a bit of an audience and potential clientele before even launching your business. That way when you do, you already have people who might hire you because they've been followers since the beginning! I still get clients who email me telling me they have been reading since my college days and have been so excited to work with me ever since then. It's so fun to hear! 

I really do have to thank my dad for encouraging me to start my blog. It's not the biggest or best design blog out there, but it's a corner of the internet where I've shared my passion, projects, life, style, and inspiration and it's been such a blessing to my business over the years. You can read more about how and why I started my blog right here. 

If I missed anything, let me know! I'd love to know if you are going to school for design or want to become a designer someday in the comments below!


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Thank you for stopping by! If you have a specific question, please email me at hello@michaelanoelledesigns.com. I always reply to emails! Have a blessed day! xoxo

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