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Interior Decorator
Interior decorators plan and implement decoration schemes for homes, offices, shops and professional rooms. Decorators consider the use to which the area will be put, as well as the budget and the taste of the client.

Interior decorators advise clients on the selection of colour schemes, layout, lighting, furniture, floor coverings, curtains, paint, wallpaper and hardware products (e.g. curtain fittings). After visiting clients' premises to observe and study existing conditions and to take measurements, they provide sketched designs, specifications and cost estimates to clients for their approval. Once an agreement has been reached, they supervise and coordinate the installation and arrangement of furniture and furnishings.

They may be involved in direct selling if working in a retail shop. Decorators in shops also advise buyers and executives on style and colour trends in interior furnishings.

Interior decorators use colours harmoniously and effectively, while working with architects, interior designers and homeowners to provide expert advice on the variation and effect of using colours and shades. Clients depend on interior decorators to make their homes and offices as pleasant as possible and might even give them the freedom to plan the entire layout of the decor of a high-rise building or hotel. This would include furnishings, curtains, paint and the other colour touches needed to enhance each room.

When working with architects and given the task of decorating a residential home, for example, an interior decorator is given a copy of the blueprints and consults the owners of the property before studying the structure and deciding on a plan of action. Factors that would have to be taken into consideration would be the size of the rooms, the desired effects and the cost of all the decorating materials. Thus, knowledge of what wallpapers, paints and wall and ceiling finishes are available is essential in order to procure the necessary materials and to decide on the quantities required. If furnishings are needed, the interior decorator would visit retail or wholesale stores with the client and suggest suitable furniture, curtaining, carpets and so on.

Some interior decorators design furniture to be used in various settings. A few decorators work on stage sets to be used in film or television studios; these designers are known as set designers or set decorators.

This career requires a definite artistic talent. It is never easy to choose furnishings, colour and decorating aids for other people. A flair for colour, initiative and a knowledge of technical matters relating to bricks, tiles, undercoats, types of paint and so on are necessary to be successful in interior decorating.

Interior decorators sometimes have to work extended or irregular hours to meet clients' needs. Working conditions may involve quite a lot of travelling and shopping as well as time spent in the office designing decors. This is a people-orientated career and prospective candidates need to be prepared to spend time with clients and be able to change or alter ideas until solutions are found that are mutually satisfying to all parties.

Interior decorators work in a variety of work settings. They may work in their offices or in the homes and offices of their clients. They may also work in stores and showrooms where furniture and other accessories are sold. A few work in television or motion picture studios or in theatres.

Satisfying Aspects
- working in a field that allows one to use one's artistic and creative talents
- the opportunity to see one's plans through to completion
- working with people
- good salary, when one becomes established in this field

Demanding aspects
- working irregular hours, weekends and evenings to meet clients' needs
- revising plans when clients change their minds
- the keen competition in this field
- over-demanding clients

- artistic, creative and imaginative
- good sense of colour and colour vision
- able to promote ideas
- awareness of fashion trends
- able to get on with a variety of people
- good business sense
- able to accept criticism
- patient and flexible
- lots of initiative
- eye for line, form and design

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Visual Arts, Consumer Studies, Design

Degree: BA Fine Arts - all universities.

Diploma: N.Dip: Interior Design - CPUT, DUT, TUT, UJ, NMMU. Fine Arts - CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT.

Certificate: Port Elizabeth FET College

A National Higher Diploma: Interior Design, can be achieved with a further one year's study

In-service training is also possible with practising interior decorators

Some training in interior decorating is included in Home Economics degrees or diploma courses offered by universities.

- departmental stores
- interior decorating firms
- architectural firms
- large companies
- television services
- provincial councils for performing arts
- self-employment (in own studios)

Areas of Specialisation:
Interior decorators may specialise in residential or public structures or both.

Opportunities For Advancement and Future Prospects:
The formal courses only provide the basic background for interior decorating and beginners must gain practical experience before they can practise as decorators. With ability and experience, decorators may advance to supervisory positions in large firms or stores. With the necessary funds and experience a decorator may open his or her own business.

There is a considerable need for qualified interior decorators. However, the field is highly competitive and in addition, the demand tends to fluctuate with the economy. Positions are relatively unaffected by technological innovations or changes in social conditions. The economy of the country has an effect on this occupation, and when the economy is in a downturn, fewer clients can afford the services of professional decorators. Job opportunities may be greater in some areas of the country than in others. Most interior decorators work in or around large cities.

Interior decorating firms

Universities of technology