Q: I’m a 17-year-old girl and not sure what subjects I should take so as to major in interior designing.

An interior designer is responsible for making the available space at a workplace or home not only more aesthetically pleasing but also more efficient and functional. The profession requires the individual to be multifaceted and along with an eye for colour, furniture and fabrics, be capable of site inspection, concept development, programming and interpreting building codes. For this any aspiring interior designer needs to be educated in the history of design, ergonomics, CAD, ethics, structure of buildings, inspection regulations and universal accessibility standards.

[What students, and parents, need to know about an IB education]

While possessing a good aesthetic sense, artistic skills and the flair for working with colour, fabrics, lights and different material would be considered the minimum for a good designer. You would also need to be creative, technically proficient and possess business acumen. And it is these additional attributes and education that differentiate an interior designer from an interior decorator.

At school it is recommended that you study English and Maths, and if possible Physics. That said most universities do not make it mandatory to having studied these subjects and they are happy to admit students from a broad spectrum of education backgrounds provided the applicant has demonstrated interest in, commitment to, and aptitude for design. The portfolio is the most important part of the selection process and in addition to photographs, it should include a selection of designs and sketches. And don’t be afraid to present examples from a spectrum of varied projects. Additionally, many interior designers maintain an online version of their portfolios, which makes it easy for potential clients and employers to reach out to them.

Whichever path you choose, remember to select a programme that is accredited by the appropriate regulatory authorities in the country that you wish to work in.

The top design schools would include Pratt, New York School for interior design, Florence Design Academy, Interior Design School, London, VCAD, Vancouver, UCLA and IDI in California. In India NID, Ahmedabad, JJ School of Art and CEPT University, Gujarat would be among the oldest and most credible institutes. 

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.