How to Become an Interior Architect: A Comprehensive Guide

Architects have many roles to play in the building process, from understanding the exterior to determining how the interior will look to determining how each room will be used. Interior architects are trained professionals well equipped to carry out these responsibilities because of their extensive knowledge of architecture and design. You may better assess whether or not being an interior architect is the right choice for you by learning more about the work involved.

This article will provide an answer to the question, “What does an interior architect do?” It will also detail the qualifications necessary to pursue a career in this field.

Also, Read How to Become an Industrial Engineer: Ultimate Guide to Career


What is Interior Architecture?

To put it simply, interior architecture is the practice of bringing together the aesthetics of a building’s interior with an awareness of its structural and material makeup.

Architectural interior designers emphasize function by considering how the rooms will be used. Interior architects combine beauty and practicality to design and construct new buildings, renovate old ones, and change the use of existing structures, most frequently from commercial to residential.

In simple terms, interior architecture is the art and science of designing and improving the functionality of buildings’ interiors. With an accent on the arrangement and style of a room’s permanent fixtures in terms of their utility and the quality of their construction materials and finishes.

Roadmap to Become an interior architect

Follow these six guidelines if you want to make it as an interior architect:

  1. Get an undergraduate degree.
  2. Participate in an internship.
  3. Gain the practical knowledge required to apply for your architect’s license.
  4. Continue your education in interior architecture.
  5. Seek employment as an interior architect.
  6. Get a valid license.

Get an undergraduate degree

A bachelor’s degree in architecture is required to work as an interior architect. More information on programs offered by universities in your province or territory can be found on their respective websites. All Canadian architectural education programs must be accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) before students can enroll.

Participate in an internship

An internship is required after graduating from college with a degree in architecture. These internships are typically listed on the websites of architectural groups in a given state, province, or territory. The association might insist that you find a mentor once you’ve started the internship program; this would be a licensed architect who is willing to help you learn the ropes by the internship’s requirements. The average length of an internship is three years. Gain the practical knowledge required to apply for your architect’s license with this training program.


Gain the practical knowledge required to apply for your architect’s license

The next step is to become certified by the architectural boards in your state or region. Passing a test and meeting all other prerequisites, which can vary by region and organization, is necessary to acquire your certificate. This test typically takes the form of a computerized, multiple-choice quiz. It opens up employment opportunities in any Canadian province or territory.

Continue your education in interior architecture

It is recommended that anyone interested in interior architecture pursue a graduate degree in the field, such as a master’s degree. The information presented here can help you become more knowledgeable in the topic, acquire useful technical abilities, and find methods you can implement in your work. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a similar discipline, like interior design, can help you hone your creative faculties and gain a deeper understanding of aesthetic principles. You can also get credentialed for your interior design expertise by completing a course at a university.


Seek employment as an interior architect

Now that you have the necessary training, experience, and certification, you can begin your job search for an interior architect. You can do this by searching for employment opportunities on various online resources, such as company sites, job boards, and social media. You can also get in touch with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to learn more about upcoming building projects in your region. You might also reach out to a colleague in the industry by phone or email to see if they have any leads on open employment.

Get a valid license

Getting your interior architect’s license is the last hurdle on the route to success. To work as an interior architect professionally, one must first have the required education and experience and then obtain a license. To do so, you’ll need to take and pass an exam and fulfill other requirements established by the architectural boards in your area or state. Once you have your license in hand, you’ll be able to legally advertise your services as an interior architect and take advantage of a wide variety of work options.

Also, Read How to Become an Architect – Career Path: From Dream to Reality


What skills do you need?

If you want to make a name for yourself in this field, you’ll need these abilities. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Strong leadership: As a construction manager, you’ll be in charge of various tasks, and effective leadership is necessary for confidently making sound decisions.
  2. Excellent organizational abilities: These are essential for finishing projects on time, setting achievable goals, and keeping track of material and furniture orders.
  3. Effective communication: This skill is crucial for working with designers, directing construction teams, and understanding customer preferences. Clear communication is key to executing well-designed layouts.
  4. Knowledge of current design trends: Staying updated on the latest developments in design, furniture art, and sustainable practices is vital for meeting customer needs and achieving creative goals. It allows you to enhance the safety and functionality of the spaces you work on.
  5. Creativity: Thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions to design challenges, such as space constraints or renovations, is essential. Collaborating with clients and unleashing your imagination can result in layouts that satisfy everyone involved. Creativity also helps in creating interesting and practical environments.

By possessing these abilities, you can become a top-notch interior architect who consistently impresses clients with your work.

Salary of Interior Architect

As of the 26th of June, 2023, the latest available data shows that the average salary for an Interior Architect in the United States is $44,239 per year. This works out to about $850 per week or $3,686 per month, or $21.27 per hour.

According to ZipRecruiter, the median yearly salary for an interior architect is $48,000 (75th percent), with the 25th percent earning $37,500. The annual salary for the 90th percentile earners in this field is about $54,500 in the United States. It’s important to note that there is little variation in salary for interior architect positions across different regions, indicating limited prospects for promotion or raises.

Currently, available jobs are scarce in this field. The average income for an Interior Architect in your region is around $43,880 per year. Based on median salary data for interior architects in all 50 states, your market offers the highest pay.


Building a Portfolio

When assembling your portfolio, consider these tips to ensure it effectively showcases your hard work:

  1. Choose the right format: Select a format that accurately represents and highlights your achievements. The format should do justice to your hard work.
  2. Feature impressive projects: Include only your most impressive projects in the portfolio. This allows prospective clients or employers to get a sense of your capabilities.
  3. Showcase your design process: Provide insights into your design approach by showcasing your design process. This helps clients or employers gain a deeper understanding of how you work.
  4. Use high-quality visuals: Enhance the visual appeal of your portfolio by incorporating high-quality images, such as professional photographs and eye-catching interior renders. Visual representations can speak volumes about your work.
  5. Let visuals do the talking: Instead of relying solely on written descriptions, rely on visual representations to communicate the essence of your work. Visuals can convey information more effectively and engage the viewer.
  6. Utilize white space effectively: Embrace white space in your portfolio and use it strategically to create an organized and aesthetically pleasing design. White space helps improve readability and overall presentation.
  7. Maintain a central topic: Ensure your portfolio has a central topic and stick to it throughout the presentation. This approach adds professionalism and coherence to your portfolio.
  8. Choose a suitable typeface: Select a typeface that aligns with your design aesthetic and enhances readability. The chosen typeface should complement the overall design of your portfolio.

By following these guidelines, your portfolio will effectively showcase your work and leave a lasting impression on clients or potential employers.

5 Professional Interior Design Associations You Should Consider Joining:

To make connections with fellow design professionals, it is crucial to join relevant design clubs and associations. As an initial step, consider joining one of the major national associations for your small business. These organizations offer a range of benefits, including access to information, support, and valuable contacts. Here are some important associations to consider:


1. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

ASID is an excellent organization for aspiring and practicing interior designers. It provides training opportunities and valuable information on design’s impact on people’s lives. ASID hosts conferences and educational events specifically tailored for interior designers.

2. The Interior Design Society (IDS)

IDS is a professional organization that facilitates networking and training for members involved in the interior design industry. Joining IDS enhances your professional credibility and raises your profile among potential clients.


3. The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA)

IFDA supports its members by connecting them with influential industry figures. Membership in IFDA provides benefits such as savings on health insurance and mobile phone plans.

4. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA)

IIDA is a professional organization focused on commercial interior design. Joining IIDA allows you to become part of a global community of industry experts. Members enjoy perks like conferences, industry magazines, and financial aid.


5. The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ)

CIDQ is the leading certification organization for interior designers specializing in architectural standards. Earning CIDQ certificates showcases expertise in architectural details and enhances marketability.

By exploring and joining these groups, you can expand your professional network, stay informed about emerging trends and opportunities, and stay connected to the broader design industry.

An Insider Perspective on Specializations in Interior Design


Residential Design

Interior design for homes goes beyond mere aesthetics. It calls for a comprehensive rethink of how houses are built. Designers are engaged to source the best vendors, constructors, and artisans for the job. They have to try to please people with different aesthetic and functional priorities. Vicky Charles and Julia Corden established Charles & Co. to provide clients with one-of-a-kind designs that complement their tastes.

Retail Design

Retail Design adapts to changing consumer preferences. To increase sales and keep customers interested, retail locations are frequently remodeled. Branding, marketing, and sales are all skills that designers should have. Peter Marino is well-known for designing stores that are both visually appealing and representative of a brand’s values.


Hospitality Design

Hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes are all included in the term “hospitality design.” Designers are essential in producing places that meet the needs of their target audience. They need to be able to read customers’ minds, design practical settings, and come up with unique solutions. Kelly Wearstler is a household name in the hospitality business thanks to her innovative designs for hotels and eateries.

Community Design

Public buildings, such as libraries, museums, and town squares, are the primary emphasis of Community Design. Designers work to better society by enhancing the quality of public spaces. Diversity of culture, environmental responsibility, and public engagement are all taken into account. Toshiko Mori is widely admired for her creative methods of designing public spaces that encourage interaction between residents.

It is important to acknowledge that carefully selected photos cannot replace the expertise of a competent interior designer. Interior design is a multifaceted and far-reaching profession that has a positive effect on people’s daily lives and society as a whole.


How to find jobs as an interior designer

Researching the following companies or institutions can help you locate and land a career as an interior designer:

Large companies or institutions

Companies with sizable staff often have their design teams and employ interior designers to create functional spaces for employees and customers. To find work as an interior designer, explore different firms and the opportunities they offer.


Commercial furniture dealers

If you have a knack for organization and attention to detail, consider seeking a job with commercial furniture dealers. These retailers often hire interior designers to enhance sales and create computer-generated designs. Analytical reasoning skills are highly valued in this industry.


Showrooms specializing in kitchen, bathroom, and flooring products provide customers with samples before making a purchase. Showrooms frequently hire interior designers to improve sales, ensure proper installation, and build showcase models. Researching and contacting local showrooms can lead to networking and potential employment prospects.


Architectural or design firms

Interior designers often find employment with firms that offer interior design services to various businesses. Conduct research and make connections within the industry to discover local job opportunities. Even if the firm is not actively hiring, submitting your resume and building relationships can be beneficial.

Residential construction firms

Large construction firms sometimes employ interior designers to assist clients in furnishing new homes. Research and contact local companies involved in housing development and construction to explore interviews or job opportunities.



Completing an internship in the field of interior design can provide valuable experience and networking opportunities. It’s a chance to meet industry professionals and expand your professional network.


Building connections with other professionals in the interior design industry can lead to job possibilities. Maintain a pleasant demeanor and attend interior design-related conferences and events to enhance networking. Research contact information of relevant professionals to establish connections.


Temporary employment agencies

Applying to temporary employment agencies can help you secure temporary work as an interior designer. This opportunity allows you to network with industry experts while gaining valuable work experience. Excelling in a temporary position may lead to permanent employment.

Higher education opportunities

Pursuing advanced education at the master’s or doctoral level can open doors to teaching interior design. Sharing knowledge as a professor in higher education can be a fulfilling career path. Teaching experience during a doctorate program can pave the way for an academic career.


Job search websites

Utilize websites dedicated to finding employment opportunities to discover interior design jobs. Narrow down search results by location and category to find the best opportunities in your area. It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals and expand your network.

By taking advantage of these possibilities and tools, you can improve your chances of landing a job as an interior designer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does an interior architect do?

The primary role of an interior architect is to create detailed construction documents for use during the construction phase. This includes organizing project files, schedules, and specifications, as well as drafting plans, elevations, sections, and RCPs. They also assist with site visits and construction supervision.

What are the must-have apps for a home decorator?

Home decorators often rely on software such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, Revit, and Adobe Creative Suite for design, drafting, and presentations. Mastering these programs can greatly enhance productivity.

What kinds of things does a good interior designer need to know?

During an initial consultation, an interior designer may ask questions such as:
– What design style(s) do you prefer?
– What design style(s) do you find unappealing?
– What are your color preferences?
– Do you have any favorite design motifs?
– Can you share examples of inspirational sources?

How do architects and interior designers collaborate?

Architects and interior designers collaborate in various ways. While interior designers may contribute to exterior design schematics, architects ensure compliance with building codes and structural integrity. Collaborating from the beginning helps projects stay on schedule and ensures a cohesive result.

How can the two fields benefit from one another?

Working together, architects and interior designers can leverage their respective skills to achieve a more successful project outcome. Proactive collaboration from the start helps projects stay on track and ensures a comprehensive final product.

Why is it crucial to learn about the interiors of buildings?

Studying interior architecture provides students with foundational knowledge and skills for professional success. It develops skills in project management, client communication, and specialized techniques like drawing, visualization, and concept development.

Why is design important in interior spaces?

The purpose of interior design is to create inviting, aesthetically pleasing, and functional environments. It aims to foster connections and facilitate communication among people of all ages.

What are the advantages of working as an interior designer?

Some advantages of working as an interior designer include:
– Growing demand for interior design services.
– Creative freedom and expression.
– Job satisfaction in creating aesthetically pleasing spaces.
– Flexible work culture.
– Opportunities for self-employment or entrepreneurship.

What variables impact indoor space planning?

Various factors influence interior space planning, including:
– The effects of light and space.
– The influence of colors on aesthetics and mood.
– The tactile qualities of different textures.
– Consideration of form, size, and proportion.

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