Well the quick answer is no, in England the profession of Interior design is not regulated, so technically you could just go ahead and start up a business, BUT obviously a certain level of skill will help here. Other countries have different rules and regulations, some of which do require you to be qualified.
If you wanted to get a job working for another Interior design Practice, they would usually want you to have a degree or another relevant qualification in the subject, as these generally provide the skills you need to work in this environment.
What does a Degree in Interior design teach you?
- Research Skills
- Colour Study
- Space Planning
- History of Design
- Visual communication and merchandising
- Sustainable Design and Technology
- Business skills (budgeting, business plans, professional practice)
- Project management (working to a schedule, hiring contractors)
- Basics in construction (to make structural changes within a building)
- Building regulations
- Health and Safety
- CAD Skills
What is the difference between and Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator?
An interior designer is usually qualified to make structural changes, provide architectural detail, and generally designs the function of the space as well as the aesthetics.
A decorator would focus primarily on the aesthetics of a space, rather than the layout. No formal qualifications are required, but obviously good taste is required, or you might not be able to bring is much business. Decorators are often self taught, and in this industry being creative and having that "Spark" that makes you stand out from the rest is clearly more important than knowing how to draw plans, as design can be taught, but passion, style and creativity can't.
In my opinion, if you are creative and passionate about design, a degree is great, but not entirely necessary, as long as you are willing to take the time to learn all the skills involved. This can be done by taking short courses or evening classes, and getting real life work experience by volunteering to help family and friends when they are renovating or redesigning their houses, or starting an internship with an Interior Design company.
If anyone has any comments or suggestions to add to this discussion I would love to hear them!