How to Become a Decorator for Model Homes

Are you looking for a career that allows you to flex your creative muscles and showcase your design skills? If so, you might want to consider becoming a decorator for model homes. In this article, we will explore the world of model home decorating and provide you with valuable insights on how to break into this exciting field.

Model homes are designed to showcase the best features of a housing development and entice potential buyers. As a model home decorator, you have the opportunity to create inviting and stylish spaces that highlight the potential of each property. From choosing furniture and decor pieces to creating cohesive color schemes, the role of a model home decorator is both challenging and rewarding.

So, how do you become a decorator for model homes? In this article, we will delve into the education and training necessary to qualify for this role, as well as the importance of gaining hands-on experience through internships and apprenticeships.

We will also provide tips on building a standout portfolio, networking effectively, finding job opportunities, and learning from successful professionals in the industry. Whether you’re just starting out in the world of interior design or are looking to transition into model home decorating specifically, this article has all the information you need to kickstart your career in this dynamic field.

The Role of a Model Home Decorator

Model home decorators play a crucial role in creating a visually appealing and welcoming atmosphere for potential home buyers. Their primary responsibility is to design and decorate model homes in a way that highlights the best features of the property and helps buyers envision themselves living there. Model home decorators must have a keen eye for detail, a strong understanding of interior design principles, and excellent communication skills to effectively collaborate with builders, developers, and real estate agents.

One of the key aspects of the role is creating a cohesive design concept for the model home that reflects the target demographic and lifestyle aspirations of potential buyers. This involves selecting furniture, decor, color schemes, and accessories that enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the property. Model home decorators often work closely with builders and developers to ensure that the decor aligns with the overall theme or branding of the housing development.

In addition to designing interiors, model home decorators may also be responsible for staging outdoor spaces such as patios, decks, or garden areas. They must keep up-to-date with current design trends and market demands to ensure that their decor choices resonate with potential buyers. Additionally, they should be prepared to make adjustments based on feedback from real estate agents or prospective buyers during open house events.

Key ResponsibilitiesSkills Required
Designing and decorating model homesKeen eye for detail
Creating cohesive design conceptsStrong understanding of interior design principles
Staging outdoor spacesExcellent communication skills

Education and Training

The role of a model home decorator is an exciting and creative career path that allows individuals to showcase their talent in interior design. However, it’s essential to have the necessary education and training to become qualified for this role. Many employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field. This provides the foundational knowledge of design principles, color theory, textiles, and spatial planning that are essential for success in this profession.

In addition to a formal education, gaining practical skills through hands-on training is crucial for becoming a qualified model home decorator. Many aspiring decorators choose to pursue internships or apprenticeships with established interior design firms or companies specializing in model homes. This hands-on experience provides an invaluable opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world projects and build a network of industry contacts.

Furthermore, obtaining certification from professional organizations, such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or the Interior Design Society (IDS), can enhance your credibility and qualifications as a model home decorator. These organizations offer certification programs that demonstrate your commitment to excellence and adherence to industry standards. Continuous education and staying current with trends and technologies in interior design are also important for remaining competitive in this dynamic field.

Education and TrainingQualifications
Bachelor’s degree in interior design or related fieldFoundation knowledge of design principles, color theory, textiles, spatial planning
Internships or apprenticeshipsHands-on experience applying classroom learning to real-world projects
Certification from professional organizationsDemonstrate commitment to excellence and adherence to industry standards

Gaining Experience

Understanding the Importance of Hands-on Experience

In the competitive world of model home decorating, gaining practical experience through internships and apprenticeships is crucial. It allows aspiring decorators to apply their knowledge from formal education to real-life situations, honing their skills and developing a deeper understanding of the industry.

Finding the Right Opportunities

When seeking internships or apprenticeships, it’s essential to research and reach out to design firms, home builders, or staging companies that specialize in model homes. Networking with professionals in the field can also open doors to valuable learning experiences. Many companies offer structured programs that provide mentorship and hands-on projects to help participants build a strong foundation for their careers.

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Making the Most of Your Experience

During internships or apprenticeships, it’s important to be proactive, ask questions, take initiative on assignments, and seek feedback from mentors. Building strong relationships with industry professionals can also lead to future job opportunities or referrals. Finally, documenting your contributions and the skills acquired during these experiences will serve as valuable additions to your portfolio when seeking full-time positions as a model home decorator.

Building a Portfolio

As a decorator for model homes, having a strong portfolio is essential in showcasing your skills and capabilities to potential clients or employers. A well-curated portfolio not only demonstrates your design aesthetic but also illustrates your ability to transform a space and understand the needs of specific target audiences. Here are some tips on how to build and showcase an impressive portfolio:

1. Select your best work: Choose a selection of your most successful projects that highlight your versatility as a decorator. Include before-and-after photos, design sketches, floor plans, and any other relevant materials that demonstrate your process and the final result.

2. Present your work professionally: Create a digital portfolio that is easy to navigate and visually appealing. Consider organizing it by style, location, or type of project to make it easy for potential clients or employers to find what they are looking for.

3. Tailor your portfolio to the model home industry: While it’s important to showcase a variety of projects, try to include examples that specifically relate to model home decorating. This could include staging homes for real estate listings, working with developers on new construction projects, or creating showrooms for homebuilders.

By focusing on these key elements when building your portfolio, you can effectively showcase your abilities as a model home decorator and increase your chances of securing new opportunities in the industry. Remember that first impressions are crucial, so taking the time to craft a compelling portfolio can set you apart from other decorators in the field.

Networking and Marketing

In order to become a successful decorator for model homes, it is crucial to network and market yourself effectively. Building a strong professional network can lead to new opportunities and collaborations within the industry. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with other professionals through social media platforms can help you expand your network. Maintaining relationships with real estate agents, home builders, and interior design firms can also lead to potential job opportunities for decorating model homes.

When it comes to marketing yourself as a model home decorator, having a strong online presence is key. Creating a professional website or online portfolio showcasing your work can help potential clients and employers understand your style and expertise.

Additionally, using social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to share your designs and connect with potential clients can be an effective marketing strategy. It’s important to consistently update your portfolio with new projects and stay active on social media to keep your work visible in the industry.

Another important aspect of networking and marketing as a decorator for model homes is seeking out opportunities for collaborations or partnerships. Working with real estate agents, home builders, or staging companies can provide exposure for your work and lead to future projects.

Collaborating with other professionals in the real estate or interior design industry can also help you gain valuable experience and build credibility as a model home decorator. By actively seeking out these opportunities, you can increase your visibility in the field and establish yourself as a reputable decorator for model homes.

Finding Opportunities

Job Searching

When looking for opportunities to work as a decorator for model homes, it’s important to start with a thorough job search. Many design firms, real estate developers, and homebuilding companies regularly hire decorators to stage their model homes. Utilize online job boards, professional networking websites, and industry-specific job portals to identify potential openings. Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out to local design companies or real estate developers in your area to inquire about potential opportunities.


In addition to traditional employment opportunities, freelancing can be a viable path for decorators interested in working with model homes. Many real estate developers and homebuilders are open to hiring freelance decorators on a project-by-project basis.

This allows you to showcase your unique style and creative vision while gaining valuable experience in the industry. Building a strong portfolio and networking with industry professionals can help you secure freelance projects and establish yourself as a reputable decorator for model homes.

Professional Associations and Organizations

Joining professional associations and organizations related to interior design and home staging can also provide valuable networking opportunities and help you find job openings or freelance projects in the field of decorating model homes. These organizations often offer resources such as job boards, educational workshops, and networking events that can connect you with industry professionals who are seeking decorators for their model homes.

By actively searching for job openings, considering freelance opportunities, and leveraging professional associations, aspiring decorators can increase their chances of finding rewarding opportunities in the competitive field of decorating model homes.

Success Stories

We interviewed several experienced model home decorators to gain insight into their path to success in the industry. Here are some key takeaways from their experiences:

  • Networking with industry professionals: Many of the decorators emphasized the importance of networking within the real estate and interior design industries. Building relationships with real estate agents, developers, and interior designers can lead to valuable opportunities to work on model home projects.
  • Developing a signature style: Several decorators mentioned the significance of developing a unique style that sets them apart from others in the field. Whether it’s incorporating sustainable materials, using bold color schemes, or creating a minimalist aesthetic, having a distinct design approach can attract clients and set decorators apart in this competitive industry.
  • Staying updated on trends: The successful model home decorators stressed the importance of staying current with the latest design trends and technologies. This involves attending trade shows, following industry publications, and continuously seeking inspiration from various sources such as social media platforms, design blogs, and home improvement TV shows.
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Learning from these success stories can provide valuable insights for aspiring model home decorators as they navigate their career path in this exciting field. By taking note of these key strategies and learning from the experiences of seasoned professionals, individuals can better position themselves for success as they pursue their own careers in decorating model homes.

Advice and Tips From Industry Professionals

Aspiring model home decorators can benefit greatly from the advice and tips offered by industry professionals who have found success in this competitive field. One of the top strategies for success is to stay updated with the latest trends and styles in interior design.

This means attending trade shows, reading industry publications, and following influential interior designers on social media platforms. By staying ahead of the curve, you can offer fresh and innovative designs that set you apart from other decorators.

Another important piece of advice from industry professionals is to develop strong communication and interpersonal skills. Model home decorators often work closely with clients, builders, real estate agents, and other professionals in the home design industry. Being able to effectively communicate your ideas, listen to feedback, and collaborate with others will make you a valuable asset in this field.

Additionally, networking within the real estate and home design industries is crucial for finding opportunities as a model home decorator. Attending networking events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with individuals in related fields can open doors to potential clients and employers.

Building strong relationships within the industry can lead to referrals and new projects, ultimately contributing to your success as a model home decorator. Overall, heeding the advice of experienced professionals can provide invaluable guidance as you pursue a career in decorating model homes.


In conclusion, becoming a decorator for model homes can be an exciting and rewarding career path for those with a passion for interior design. With the right education, training, and experience, individuals can position themselves for success in this competitive industry. It is important to seek out opportunities for internships and apprenticeships to gain practical skills and build a strong portfolio that showcases your unique aesthetic and talent.

Networking and marketing are also crucial aspects of establishing a successful career as a model home decorator. Connecting with industry professionals and leveraging social media platforms can help you get your name out there and attract potential clients or job opportunities. Additionally, staying up-to-date with current design trends and continually honing your skills through ongoing education and workshops will set you apart in the field.

It’s also valuable to learn from the experiences of seasoned professionals in the industry. By seeking advice from established model home decorators, you can gain insights into their strategies for success, which can help guide your own career path. Ultimately, with dedication, perseverance, and a strong creative vision, aspiring decorators can carve out their place in the world of model home design.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get Started as a Decorator?

Getting started as a decorator typically involves gaining experience and knowledge in interior design, color theory, space planning, and furniture styles. Many decorators start by taking courses or earning a degree in interior design, while others begin by working with more experienced decorators to learn the trade.

Developing a portfolio of your work and building a network of clients is also important for getting started in the industry.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Decorator?

To become a decorator, you don’t necessarily need formal qualifications, but having a degree or certification in interior design can definitely give you an edge. Additionally, having an eye for detail, creativity, good communication skills, and a solid understanding of design principles are essential qualifications for anyone looking to pursue a career as a decorator.

Keeping up with current trends and being able to work within different budgets are also valuable skills for decorators to have.

How to Start a Home Decorator Business?

Starting a home decorator business requires careful planning and consideration. First, it’s important to develop a business plan that outlines your services, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections. Then, it’s essential to register your business and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Building a strong online presence through social media and creating a professional website can help attract potential clients. Networking with real estate agents and home staging companies can also be beneficial for getting your business off the ground. Offering exceptional customer service and providing high-quality work are key to building a successful home decorator business.

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