I get asked LOTS of questions about being an interior decorator: how I got started, how I learned to decorate, how much money I make (people have no filter lol) so I've compiled a few answers to some of the most popular questions. Hope this satisfies your curiosity! 😉
1. Are you an interior decorator or designer? Is there a difference?
I try to reiterate this as much as possible on Instagram and Twitter, but I am not an interior designer. Decorator and designer are often used interchangeably on accident, but they aren't the same thing.
Interior decorating is purely aesthetics. We enhance interior spaces with trendy, beautiful furnishings for appearance and functionality. No degree or licensing necessary.
Interior design is the art and science of creating a functional space that adheres to client needs, building codes, and safety. Designers shape the "bones" of a space, such as walls, floors, etc. Degree and licensing necessary.
2. Why interior decorating? Is it your career?
I've always been artistic; anything that gives me the freedom to be creative makes me feel most like myself. I took interest in decorating when my husband and I bought our first home in 2017. I felt like my walls were a giant blank canvas and I could paint anything I wanted. Even 2 years and a fully decorated house later, I still constantly switch out decor, colors, and furniture whenever I think of something new to do. I love the feeling of coming home to a cozy space that makes me happy and I love being able to help other people experience that feeling in their homes. Interior decorating is my career--kind of. It more so just plays a major part of my "main" career on social media as a content creator and influencer.
3. Did you go to school?
I always get a little panicky when I receive the DM's that say "you've inspired me to switch my major to interior design" because I'm not a designer and I did not go to school for decorating 🙈. Interior decorating, unlike design, does not require a license or degree. I just really love to decorate.
Fun fact: I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
All throughout school, I never felt passionate enough about anything to do it for the rest of my life. I switched majors at least a dozen times before I even finished my associates degree. Eventually, I just picked one and graduated with an AA in health science and way too many useless credits from changing my major so many times. After my associate degree, I took a break from school to try and figure out what the heck I was going to get my bachelors in (because who the heck wants to spend thousands of dollars on a degree they hate?). During that break, I found my passion for interior decorating and design. I say "and design" because I also wanted to pursue interior design, not just decorating. I enrolled back in school to finish my bachelors in interior design. Except the school I got into was 2 hours away...and we had just bought a house...and my husband had just started his career. I couldn't do a 4 hour roundtrip commute 5 days a week so I took as many online classes as I could at that school with the intent to eventually transfer to a larger university 30 minutes from my home. I sent in my transfer application and didn't get accepted (It's one of the hardest schools in the state to get into so I wasn't surprised). Since interior design wasn't in the cards at the time, I pursued decorating. I guess that wasn't really a "fun" fact. Kinda depressing. Whoops lol.
4. Where did you learn to decorate? How do you find inspiration?
Well, that depends on who you ask LOL. I've been told my decorating makes angels sing and my decorating looks like fresh dog poop on a hot pavement. Decorating is my art so it will always be subjective. I pull most of my inspiration from color palettes I create, unique pieces of furniture I find while shopping, and of course Pinterest, but I never felt like it was something I "learned". I just love thinking of different ways to furnish a space. I've always been artistic and crafty so decorating was just another creative outlet for me.
5. How did you start an interior decorating business?
You don't necessarily need a degree or license to be an interior decorator, so it didn't take much to sell interior decorating services. I started my home decor Instagram before I started offering interior decorating so I already had a great group of supporters and potential clients following my "portfolio". As my Instagram and Twitter grew, my inboxes were flooded with hundreds of messages asking for help with living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, etc. There was no way I could help everyone at once so I saw it as an opportunity to offer virtual decorating as a service and be compensated for the crazy amount of time I sat at my computer and intricately furnished other people's homes for free. I did a LOT of free decorating to get started. I worked for free to explore different programs and apps, build a portfolio, and figure out how to decorate someone else's house without ever stepping foot in it. Eventually, I added a couple decorating packages to my website and advertised my services on my social media. And voila! I have an interior decorating business.
6. How do you know what other people want? Do you only decorate for one style?
I ask a ton of questions prior to decorating to try and pick my clients brains and grasp a basic understanding of what they want in a home, but even that can only bring me so far! Lol. Decorating for other people feels like someone explaining an image to me that I've never seen and I have to try and draw it right. It's trial and error and I don't always get it right the first time. I'll decorate for any style someone asks me to, but of course the ones I'm least familiar with require extra research and effort.
7. How much money do you make?
Not enough to quit my other job yet 😂 I'm still extremely new to decorating for other people (like, less than a year) so of course I'm not bringing home the bread with solely my decorating income. My pricing as an artist is fair and reasonable; the job itself pays well, but bringing in enough clients for a "well-off" salary is not a reasonable goal for the first year. Interior decorating salaries have such a large range, it's impossible to know what your income will look like before you start since so many other factors go into it; location, experience, style, etc. So if you're considering walking out on your job to pursue your dream of becoming an interior decorator: don't quit just yet! 😁