You have a flair for putting things together. Friends and family see you make a space come alive with a few tweaks here and there. You possess that certain “Je ne sais quoi” that other people wish they had. Your creativity and problem solving, along with logical thinking and functional interpretations are what drive you. If this sounds like you, then you may be or are considering a full-time career in the world of design. We look at interior design as a creative career choice, and how you can kick-start the career of your dreams.
Decorating and Design
The two go hand in hand. But the decorator’s job is futile without the designer. One can imagine that a designer can be a decorator but a decorator cannot be a designer without the right training and skillset. Both careers are equally rewarding and will bring you years of joy because of the creativity you are allowed to express in this field. An interior designer works with clients to create aesthetically pleasing rooms and spaces. Clients range from homeowners to large companies, and the spaces designed are equally varied, ranging from simple indoor and outdoor home environments to hotel lobbies and lavish mansions. Every interior designer works to create spaces that are attractive, functional, and safe while meeting the specific needs of the client and architect.
Design and Architecture
Interior designers are also known for designing furniture, and other interior elements that go untouched by the architect. Interior designers and architects work closely together as they need to understand each other’s goals and make the best of them for the client. Some interior designers are also architects and it makes total sense. Although architects have a more technical approach, their job still lies in designing, reviewing and overseeing the construction of buildings. Both architects and interior designers need to have good analytical and problem-solving skills. Together they make a killer team.
Carina Botha from Boaz Architects adds, “Architects are adept at structural problem-solving and creative design for both exterior and interior building design. As an architect, I see myself as the artist that provides an intricate and detailed canvas to the client. Interior designers focus on the interior and its functionality for human occupancy. The interior designer can then style the home for the specific look required by the homeowner. As an architect my mind is filled with numbers, lines and angles to create possibilities that we can only dream of. The interior designer can use my canvas to add fabrics, paintings, furniture etc. to incorporate and enhance the beauty and functionality of the spaces created”.
South Africa has produced some top-class designers. Our style and problem-solving skills in the design arena are as unique as our cultural landscape. We look at a few.
Mbele was always consumed by the need to develop a career in design. He initially wanted to study furniture design, but there was no such course offered at the University. Interior design was the next best thing. “I checked the dictionary to look up what it was before I left for the entrance test,” Mbele jokes. He is known for The Mvelo Desk which was nominated as one of the Most Beautiful Objects in South Africa in 2018. The piece of furniture represents two cultures that have been weaved together by solid oak. It’s creative genius.
Jan Henderson sums Kelly’s career up beautifully. “Kelly Hoppen was born in South Africa and grew up in England. She began her stellar career as a teenager with a commission to design a family friends’ kitchen and the projects have kept coming since then. Her style is sublime; a fusion of clean lines and neutral tones that portray a timelessness that translates from residential to commercial through to hospitality projects and beyond. But perhaps the most fascinating thing about Kelly is her ability to participate within the entire spectrum of design, to make it her own and to then forge ahead creating an empire as multifaceted as it is today”.
Christa Botha and Carla Erasmus
Continuously designing and producing new, original products to grow their larger collection, the Bofred studio (Christa and Carla’s business) is an ever-evolving space of contemporary design and curated art. Guided by their fine art background, Christa and Carla’s design philosophy is reflected in the linear shapes, colours and rich textures of natural hand-crafted materials they use to design – and locally produce – bespoke collections of furniture, lighting, and art.
Interior design is a profession that requires specific schooling and formal training. The work involved usually includes studying colour theory and textiles, computer-aided design (CAD) training, drawing, space planning, furniture design, some architecture, and more. Upon graduating, designers often apprentice with a registered and established interior designer before moving on to establish their own careers.
According to Study Portals, interior design helps the growing functionality and quality of interior spaces by combining creativity with visual sensitivity as well as technical elements. Interior design is related to similar disciplines such as graphic design, industrial design and landscape architecture and many designers have become multi-disciplinary in a few of these disciplines.
If you want to start early – even better so. If you are still in school or have a child in school looking to explore this career path there are a few things to consider. Visual Art as a subject in school is a great foundation builder for anyone seeking a professional career in the visual arts and other creative careers like architecture, interior design, industrial design, film making, content creating, advertising etc.
The list is endless, but take this advice from award-winning visual arts educator, Frik van Vuuren. “Taking art in school is so much more than what it used to be. Once considered the easy subject, that is simply not the case anymore. The standards are high, the children are good and you really need to be talented to do well in your visual arts class. The subject helps you to take an idea from your creative mind and turn it into a tangible object. This is the beginning for many designers”.
There are numerous avenues to try to get into interior design. Our top Universities offer Degrees in interior design and affiliated courses, usually at the faculty of Architecture and Design. We share a few degrees and courses that can help you on your way. Please check with your student advisor for the best, suitable advice for a study program that will help you achieve your career goals.
Interior design graduates are also encouraged to do internships, which includes accompanying the designer to meetings, understanding the client’s needs, and making a note of any special requests. Interns may also create preliminary plans for a room’s redesign, assist in developing budgets, and prepare invoices. Other responsibilities include communicating with contractors, looking for the best deals on supplies, and performing administrative duties. All these aspects teach the designer the foundations of eventually venturing off in their careers.
- University of Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts)
- University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts)
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma: Interior Design
- Tshwane University of Technology
National Diploma: Interior Design
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Architectural Technology and Interior Design
- Michaelis – University Of Cape Town
Bachelor of Fine Art
- Central University of Technology
National Diploma: Fine Art
- The Design School Southern Africa
- The Interior Design Institute
- Greenside Design Centre