2009/03: Ask Me
Q&A 10 years ago No Comments

Do you think that it”s worth it to start an interior design career at places like Home Depot and Lowe”s” I expect to work for a firm once I graduate, but in today”s economy it looks like the architecture and design firms are slashing their staffs, so there are fewer entry-level opportunities than ever. Will the DIY experience gained enhance or hurt my resume”


(submitted by S. Cruz)

In this tough job market place, it can be a challenge to be hired by a prototypical interior design/architecture firm. In facing the bleak prospects after trotting down the aisle with your diploma, it might be in your best interest to invest your time with a Big Box store like Home Depot and Lowe”s.

First of all, you are able to gain a vast amount of product knowledge under one roof. You can learn not only about plumbing, flooring, cabinets, etc., but the different suppliers in plumbing, flooring, cabinets, etc. and what each one would offer. Many of the suppliers provide an opportunity ” usually on company hours ” to learn about their product and the benefits to your potential clients through workshops or continuing education classes.

As a newly graduated design student, you would most likely be looking to internship, prepare for the NCIDQ Exam and become licensed. Big Box stores usually hire very qualified people, or they insure that most anyone they hire would be trained by them to be a qualified employee. You would have the potential to work with a licensed interior designer who could provide you with the mentoring/internship you would need to meet your qualifications for you to become licensed. Most Big Box stores would provide you with the opportunity to take and pass the NCIDQ Exam by providing scholarship for the cost of books and/or exam. This is usually done on a by store basis, so ask about that before you are hired in.

When the time comes to apply for that position in the prototypical design firm after you have been employed at the Big Box store, make sure you are very specific and detailed on your resume of your job duties at the Big Box store. If you were in a specific department like cabinets, make sure you go into a lot of detail about some of the projects you worked on with customers. Have some of your CAD drawings available for your potential future employer to look over and put together a portfolio of any layouts that were unusual and required your skill as a designer.

Making a career investment at a Big Box store can certainly fill you with trepidation, but if you use the potential tools they have to offer, you will put yourself in a position to be a great asset to any design firm.