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So you want to start an interior design business?

By Steve Mbego | November 28th 2018

Industry players in interior design business are few. This provides a great area to start a business in. You can soar very quickly if you do a stellar job that satisfies your clients. ‘Hustle’ spoke to Charles Kyeti of A Plus Interior Ltd and Newton Billy of Billy’s Interior on how to start an interior design business.

What you’ll need:


The capital required to the business depends on your services. According to Charles, you’ll only need to form a company and pay for necessary licenses to start an interior design business. Billy explains: “If you want to venture into selling interior design products, you’ll need some investment in a showroom with modern interior design products.”

Company Registration

Forming a company will cost you around Sh20,000 inclusive of legal fees.


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If you have an office, you will pay for the county trading license.

Academic qualifications

A certificate, diploma, or degree in interior design is necessary. Billy, who holds a diploma from Nairobi Institute of Technology says: “Go to school. Learn interior design. There’s so much to interior design than just painting, tiling, ceiling and kitchen.”

Professional association

Charles, who holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Interior Design from the University of Nairobi, says you can only be considered a professional in this field if you belong to Interior Designers Association of Kenya, the sole national body that governs interior design firms in Kenya if you meet their academic requirements.

In addition to sitting and passing a professional entry examination one must hold:

A degree in interior design from a recognised University, two years’ practical experience under a registered interior designer or

A diploma from a recognised institution and four years’ practical experience under a registered interior designer.

A certificate from a recognised institution and eight practical experience under a registered interior designer. Sit and pass a professional entry examination.

He notes that there are many quacks who learn on the job and call themselves interior designers. Also, you may fail to get clients if you don’t belong in a professional body.

What you don’t need

If you don’t have the academic qualifications, you must have a business partner who is an interior designer who will be the face of the company.

Additionally, Billy advises not to get an office without a solid client base as it is a liability. However, if you have a product you’re selling in addition to offering interior design services, the better for you as you’ll be having two revenue streams.  

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