How To Become An Interior Designer in Nigeria

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  1. There is a Difference Between Decorators and Designers

There is a big difference between interior decorators and interior designers. To sum up the difference in one word, the difference is —Education.

Quite literally, anyone can become an interior decorator in Nigeria. Someone who loves playing with colors, fabrics and textiles can easily become a decorator by simply printing off a business card and promoting themselves to clients. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but educational background is also important.

On the other side of the spectrum, an interior designer must have an accredited education.

  1. Do you Have Design Talent?

It may seem obvious, but in order to become an interior designer in Nigeria or other part of the world, you really need to have an innate flair for color, spatial arrangements, architecture and textiles.

Just because you love your home, receive compliments on your decor, and people think that you have done a great job decorating it, does not make you an ideal interior designer, but it is certainly a great first step.

The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work.


3) Interior Design Isn’t all Fabric and Fun

While fabrics, furniture and color may play a very large role in interior design; there are plenty of other tasks that are required of interior designers—tasks that may seem less fun and more like work.

Interior designers need to be educated in the history of design, structural integrity of buildings and building codes, ethics, and computer aided drawing (CAD) etc…

It seems that interior designers are expected to be ‘Jacks or Jills’ of all trades, doesn’t it? This broad range of skills are required because designers not only work with homeowners, they work with builders, architects, government policy officials, and business owners.  To become a successful interior designer, one needs to be very educated and well rounded and work with all disciplines.


4.Interior Design Compensation

Show me the money! After all, shouldn’t someone with such a vast education get paid well?  It depends. an interior designer working in the USA will make an average of $40,630 per year.

Of course, this depends on a lot of factors such as, education, prior work experience, size of the firm/company and location.  A designer in Nigeria that is employed by a furniture company will most likely make less than a designer that is employed by a high-end architectural firm abroad.

Essentially, you can dictate your rate of pay by gaining as much exposure and experience as possible. Someone with education in the fields of interior design, architecture, building codes/laws and structural design will more likely become financially successful.



5) You need to be a People Person


Ask any interior designer in Lagos Nigeria to share their experiences, and they will surely share some horror stories of past clients. People are finicky, especially when it comes to their homes.

While some clients have clear goals in mind, others may think they know what they want only to discover that they hate the final product and are dissatisfied with your work.  A successful interior designer in Nigeria is a people pleasure and a mitigator (and sometimes a mind reader).

A successful designer will be able to steer their clients towards a favorable outcome, while making the client feel they are in full control of the design choices. Interior designers juggle a fine balancing act on a daily basis between the right design decision and a client’s desires. It is not a cake-walk, to say the least.



  1. A picture says one thousand words.

This is definitely true when it comes to an interior designers portfolio. You can talk all day long about color choices, fabrics and textiles, but unless you have an outstanding portfolio that showcases your designs and past projects, your successes will be few and far between.

How can you get a portfolio started? If you are just coming out of school and are fresh to the job market, it may be necessary to offer your services for free or at a low cost. This may be the best way to get a portfolio started, and also a great way to get to know local merchandisers and suppliers, developing a rapport for future projects.


Everybody starts off at the bottom, but with effort, experience and proper marketing, you can become a successful force in the interior design field.


  1. Competition is High in Interior Design in Lagos


Interior design is a competitive business. The key to success is getting yourself noticed. As mentioned above, an amazing designer portfolio will certainly help you get noticed and land jobs.

Another key to success in this field is acquiring an extensive education. The more you know, the better off you are. Consider looking towards future trend such as furniture making, modern architecture and landscapeing education within these trendy fields of design will certainly give you the upper hand in the job market.

Also, it is a good idea to stay abreast of design trends through the reading of design publications, communicating with fellow designers, and following a mentor. When competition is high, you need to work hard in order to get noticed and rise to the top.


  1. Virtual Designers Have an Opportunity


When people hire a designer, they may not realize that they can actually hire from anywhere in the world. Yes, designers can telecommute, too! Thanks to all the modern inventions of Skype and computer design software, designers are discovering a whole new world of virtual design.

Yes, a lot of the best artisans offer undisclosed discounts to designers working in the trade, thereby allowing interior designers to get you the best price for high-end merchandise or workers.


9) Designers Need to Know Local Laws and Codes


This is where would-be designers may opt to avoid the education and  become decorators, thereby avoiding some of the doldrum of learning building codes and local laws.

Some of these nitty-gritty details can certainly be boring, but are required knowledge of every interior designer. Learning about plumbing codes, electricity and load bearing walls may not excite you, but it is a fact of life for interior designers.

Staying abreast of building codes, laws and architectural requirements gives interior designers an advantage and marketability that decorators simply do not have.


10) It’s Not About Your Style, It’s About The clients


While designers can offer their clients a wide range of design styles to choose from, it is important to remember that it is up to the client to choose what style suits them best.

There is a misconceived notion of some budding designers who are just entering into design school— just because a designer has good taste, it does not make their choices superior to the clients.  As mentioned above, it is up to an interior designer to show the style offerings and direct the client towards the right design choice, while allowing the client to feel in charge.

For example, you may work as an interior designer for years and never actually design a house that suits your personal tastes. It is about the clients style, not your own.


Interior designers in Nigeria have to work with many unique clients and their style choices

After reading all the pros and cons of a career in interior design, what do you think? Is a career as an interior designer something you may want to pursue?

If it is something you plan look into further, then remember all the ten items mentioned here. Designers need to work hard; get a great education; work with many types of people; be flexible in their design choices; and stay abreast of building codes and laws. The market may be competitive, but with hard work and a stellar portfolio, you can become a successful interior designer.

5 Responses

  1. matilda anebi
    | Reply

    Nice piece.
    Greatly inspired.

  2. Yemi AKODU
    | Reply

    Thank you! This is very helpful.

  3. benjamin sunday
    | Reply

    Thanks! am really inspired by your knowledge. i’m fresh out of school but reside in the northern part of nigeria. how do i become a register member of idan?

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