Interior decorators transform interior spaces into functional, attractive and comfortable environments. Sporting a keen eye for color and space, interior decorators have the expertise to choose and lay out space using furniture, fixtures and other essential elements that best suit a room or entire building. High-school students can prepare for a career in interior decoration by taking courses and participating in activities that will begin to develop their sense of design and style.

Interior Design and Decoration

Interior designers and interior decorators require similar sets of skills using fabrics, fixtures and furnishings. Interior decorators focus on placement of furniture, fixtures and fabrics to make a room look and feel comfortable. On the other hand, an interior designer may participate in the actual design of the building, including wall placement, kitchen and bathroom design and layout. The more advanced nature of work requires interior designers to obtain national certification and a bachelor’s degree. Interior decorators are not required to be certified and often do not need a degree or can obtain a degree within a two-year program.

Family and Consumer Sciences

Courses in textiles, interior design and housing environment offered within family and consumer science high-school programs give students a strong foundation for a career in interior decorating. Coursework will provide a fundamental understanding of design and an awareness of the aesthetics of interior environments. In addition, course-related projects give you an opportunity to practice decorating and designing rooms, allowing you to develop your portfolio of projects for future use in your career.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 30 percent of interior designers were self-employed as of 2010. Given an interior decorator's similarities to an interior designer, classes in small-business management and finance can help you develop a business plan and maintain project budgets. Marketing courses can help you learn how to advertise and network to build a solid customer base. Learn how to interpret customer needs, negotiate the best price for materials and present design ideas by taking communication courses.


Interior decorators work with a variety of mediums, including fabrics and paints. Art classes will assist you in choosing and balancing colors as well as using light and size variations to affect the appearance of rooms. Developing your ability to create realistic sketches will also assist you in presenting your ideas to your customers. Advanced art courses providing instruction in design software will enhance your ability to develop and present realistic renderings of designs.

Activities and Clubs

Participating in clubs such as the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will help you build leadership, business and consumer-science skills should you choose to run your own interior design or decoration business. In addition, help your family and friends by offering to design the interior of their homes or rooms. These activities will help you develop your communication and design skills as well as your design portfolio.