5 Myths of Becoming an Interior Designer
08/10 Design Tips

5 Myths of Becoming an Interior Designer

Things we wish someone would have de-bunked for us when we started

Design is meant to be enjoyable, but the truth is, the field of interiors can seem intimidating, especially when you are self-taught. When Studio McGee was born, one of our goals was to demystify design and share what we've learned candidly, and what we do today is still inspired by the same idea.

However, there's much more to interiors than putting a room together. Lately, we've been seeking opportunities to share some of the nitty-gritty, behind the scenes details of the business, and with the launch of our first book, "Make Life Beautiful," we are reflecting on our journey thus far.

Today, we're talking about some "myths" of becoming an interior designer and why they shouldn't scare you away!

Here are a few things we wish someone would have de-bunked for us when we started:

Myth No. 1: You have to know how to draw really well

While sketching is important, it's a skill that can be learned, don't let the fear of not being able to draw scare you away! So many people will tell us that they don't want to pursue design because they can't draw, and we've been there, but with practice, the skill will come!

One of our most recent projects, Rye New York.

One of our most recent projects, Rye New York.

Myth No. 2: You have to get a degree in interior design

Design education is a huge plus, and for commercial design, it is necessary. However, if you're interested in residential design and don't have a degree, there are so many resources available to be self-taught. Plus, there are a lot of resources to take classes online these days. Learning on the job is important too, and if you don't have any formal education, designing your own home way is a great way to learn!

5 Myths of Becoming an Interior Designer

Myth No. 3: You have to complete entire projects to showcase your work

Vignettes go a long way to showcasing your style. You can start small and share bits and pieces of your process that highlight your design perspective without gutting an entire house!

Myth No. 4: Interior design is all about decorating

While shopping and styling are a big part of design, interior designers have to be organized and possess strong project management skills! Designers work with the technical side of projects more than you probably think. Being well-versed in codes, timelines, and regulations is just as important as being creative.

And don't forget the people skills! The relationships with clients, architects, builders, and tradespeople are instrumental in the process.

One of our first big projects we completed a few years after starting our business, The Modern Mountain Home.

One of our first big projects we completed a few years after starting our business, The Modern Mountain Home.

Myth No. 5: You need high paying clients to prove what you can really do

Everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes starting small and working with tight budgets will show your future clients how resourceful you can be! Your dream projects will come with time and experience.

5 Myths of Becoming an Interior Designer
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Studio McGee
  1. Thank you for this! As a self-taught designer I am always battling feelings of not being/doing enough. I so appreciate your transparency!

  2. These are some great tips, especially #1 about drawing, it’s definitely always a work in progress and everyone has a different style. Myth #2 is a little subjective towards being a residential interior designer and I think that should be clarified. When working for an architectural or interior design firm on commercial jobs a degree in interior design and even NCIDQ licensure are required. If not, you are mostly consulting and your liability is at zero for the most part in your drawings. Educated and certified interior designers are pushing the field of interior design forward with high levels of research and advocacy, I wouldn’t want to diminish that value for those who do have that background or the educators in our field. Just wanted to share my viewpoint!

  3. Thank you for this. As a half college-educated, half self-taught designer, it is still intimidating at times. But, I’ve learned WAY more through my own design business than I ever did from design school. I’m determined to be myself, do my best and grow and learn along the way. I love what I do, regardless of whatever comes.

  4. Thank you for this! I’m on the edge of this decision right now, so it’s very timely. I admire what you’ve accomplished so much and can only hope to be as brave someday (soon!!).

  5. This is a great article! Your timing is insane. I am a house flipper and have practiced my interior design skills through that avenue but I’m looking for more education on the design aspect as well as client relationships. I so look forward to your article on specific resources or courses we can take for self taught designers!

  6. Thanks so much for this!! Would you recommend learning CAD or any other software to someone trying to get into the field? Or is there any thing else you are looking for from a junior designer you would hire?

  7. This was extremely helpful! I am starting my own interior decor business and I am so scared and intimidated! Since it is all self- taught ! Any advice on web or app to make a 3D room model instead of drawing?

  8. This is so great!! If you could share some of the resources/classes you’d suggest that would be so helpful!

  9. Thank you for your words of encouragement and expressing yourself so openly.
    Sheyrl Jensen
    S & A Design Studio
    Hermosa Beach

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