Spiandi Dickson


How do you become an Interior Decorator?

  1. What experience or qualification do you believe helped you most in getting to this position?

Skill orientated education is much more beneficial due to the fact that interior decorating consist of applying the basic principles practically in any interior space.  My suggestion would be to study at any institution that offers more skill orientated workshops, higher certificates, Diploma and degree programs.  Working for an Interior decorating retailer would be very beneficial due to the fact that you are taught all the basics regarding sales and management of a business.  You also get exposed to dealing with different clientele and working around deadlines – Focus a lot on customer service and delivering quality products

To become an interior decorator the minimum requirement would be a Certificate in Interior Decorating, studied at an Intuitions for Example Cotton & Yarn Interiors that provides interior decorating workshops that focus on skill orientation.  In my own opinion, the best learning school is working in the industry as an interior decorator and through expose to different aspects of the Interior decorating business.


  1. What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of your job?

Most Challenging Aspects of Interior Decorating:

  • Working around deadlines and delivering customised furniture of good quality to clients
  • At the same time relay on suppliers and their manufacturing skills

Most Rewarding aspects of interior decorating:

  • As an interior decorator it is very rewarding to see how your design plan and creativity comes together at the end when the project is completed.


  1. What advice do you have for a young person thinking of entering this field of business?

Before you decide to become a decorator you have to answer a few questions, if you can answer yes to all the below questions you will be able to survive in the field.

  • Would you be able to work over weekends and after hours?
  • Would you be able to project manage interior projects from the start of the project until the end?
  • Are you a fast thinker – think on your feet?
  • Will you be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way to being the best that you can be? (And this does not happen overnight? – Experience is gained over a period of time even years)
  • Would you be able to admit if you made a mistake and rectify the mistake

All the above boils down to, that the best experience is gained working in the retail sector of Interior Decorating. You learn how to work with different kinds of clients and at the same time how to do sales.  The sales and business aspects go hand in hand with decorating and selling a product to a consumer.

  1. Where do you think your industry is heading? Compliance? Qualification requirements? Standards etc.? (Does this make it harder or easier for school leavers to pursue a similar career path)

Being the owner of Cotton and Yarn Interiors I often get asked this question….. In general, people are of the opinion that interior decorating and design is an easy career path, and they are under the impression that you only have to be creative to be an Interior decorator.  This is where most of the young students / school leavers are under the wrong impression.  When studying interior decorating / design you only realise how hard it is to become an actual decorator or designer in real life.  The course is very practical and the application of basic theory needs to be applied in almost every project that you do.

Interior design and decorating is, believe it or not, a science.  The Science is based on using the correct design principles, elements, processes and colour schemes not even to mention the different interior styles in one interior space.

In terms of qualification requirements my advice would be from practical (lecturing at Inscape Design College) and theoretical experience (Studying at a University) – rather go study at a college or institution that focus more on the practical application and skill oriented educational methods.

As a decorator, you have a wide variety of job description and can vary from manufacturing and supplying Lampshades and Scatter cushions to re decorating and using space planning methods to create a new environment or home for your client.  The sky is the limit when it comes to the different career paths that you as a decorator can explore.

  1. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash flow is reality.