How to Get Started as an Interior Design Contractor

Now is the best time to start envisaging a career as a home design contractor. The real estate market is piping hot at the moment and there are tons of opportunities for interior design contractors who can deliver quality work. However, before you start an interior design contracting business, there are a few things you have to be aware first. You also have to know what will be expected of you if you want to remain compliant. In this article, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to get started as an interior design contractor.

Know if You Have What it Takes

A lot of people have an idyllic view of what the job of an interior designer entails, but you have to make sure that you actually have the traits needed to be successful.

First of all, it’s important that you have a good eye for color and scaling. If you’re able to see subtle undertones in colors, then you’ll have a clear advantage over the competition. You also have to have a natural sense of organization and know how to work with various team members. You have to know when and how to delegate and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members fast.

You also have to be great at multitasking as well. Not only will you have to deal with different tasks on particular jobs, but you’ll also have to juggle multiple jobs at once, all with their own sets of specificities. You also have to be a good people person as well, as well as patient since your clients may have constantly changing expectations and might ask you to scrap entire projects altogether, so be prepared for that.

Get the Proper Insurance

Getting the proper coverage will be absolutely essential if you’re doing any type of contractor work. As an interior design contractor, you might be asked to do some major remodeling work or work with multiple employees in cramped spaces. Accidents are very common when working in close quarters and you have to be ready to deal with injuries to your employees or people in the vicinity as well.

Without the proper insurance coverage, you’ll open yourself to all sorts of repercussions. If a third-party happens to get injured while you’re performing a job, you’ll find yourself responsible for their medical costs and will have to pay for legal representation. All of these costs can easily add up and could be more than enough to put you out of business, so make sure that you get the proper coverage. You should look into independent contractor insurance online before you think about starting your business, so you’ll know exactly what to expect and which type of coverage you’ll need.

Prepare to get the Proper Formation

The formation you’ll need will depend on how you brand yourself. If you’re advertising yourself as an interior decorator, then you won’t need any specific formation or certification. But if you want to be an interior designer, then you’re looking at least at a bachelors or associates degree. 

That’s because interior designers might be asked to work on jobs that will require changing the structure of the house or even make additions, while interior decorators simply make interior arrangements without making any specific changes to the structure. So, it’s very important that you make the distinction between the two, so you know exactly what will be expected of you.

And it’s also important that you keep learning if you don’t want to fall behind. There are constant new trends and techniques hitting the market, and unless you’re on top of your game, you could easily become outdated.

Develop a Solid Portfolio

When getting started, your portfolio will be essential to show off your talents and for clients to get a sense of your personal style and eye for design. You can try to demonstrate your expertise all you want, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have anything to show for it, you won’t be able to get clients.

However, building your portfolio may be difficult if you’re just starting to get your name out there. That’s why you should consider offering your services pro bono or at a discount at first to start building your portfolio and referrals. Starting on free projects will also allow you to start building a relationship with local suppliers and merchandisers, which could be very helpful later as you start building a list of clients.


The home design business is a great business for people with an eye for beauty and a natural talent for interior design. Make sure that you do everything in your power to operate within the confines of the law and give your clients the level of service they deserve.

Images from Northern Dune by Musa Studio – See the full story here

Villa Vingt by Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architectes

Alta Chalet by AKB Atelier Kastelic Buffey