My wife used to work in interior design.
She originally worked in visual merchandising and then went over to co-ordinating interiors for new show homes.
This is quite a good side to target as there are plenty of building developers out there.
They tend to use specialist interior companies so it might be worth visiting show homes as some of the interior companies will leave cards or contact details on a coffee table or mantelpiece.
Alternatively ask the sales agent as they tend to know.
I can't speak for interior design. But I wrote printed letters to about 2 dozen businesses offering my services free. Only 3 followed up. I ended up interning at one for 3months...which turned into a real job, which turned into my career :)
Keep pushing. Be willing to work for nothing for a while.
When I was 17 or 18 I wrote a handwritten letter to about a dozen of the top design firms and ad agencies in Melbourne. Only one replied, Ken Cato. I got called in and was given a tour of studio, showed me their work and I got to talk to the staff. It was like a fast track work experience meeting. Didn't get a job from it but it was still a nice moment.
In the early 90's recession, I rang about 80% of the design listings in the yellow pages, 3 times over. I got 1 full time job and 1 casual job from it. No internet or computers back then so it was a hard slog.
Thought I'd chime in and make my first post a useful post rather than just the usual intro.
I, myself am a graphic designer, but my fiance is an interior designer. We met in college and I've witnessed everything shes gone through to be where she is today. From studying to graduating, from graduating to working... and all i can say is (not to scare you) it isnt an easy road. So prepare yourself for disappointment, and if you really love interior design and believe you're cut for it, keep going.
She graduated with a BA back in 09 (or maybe it was mid 08) just when the economy collapsed, so straight away she was faced with huge problem. She then spent the next year looking for work. In that time she literally went through every phone book, design mag and website, caliing and emailing every single company she could find that had some input into the industry.
Day after day, week after week, month after month she was met with disappointment. It was heart breaking to see her go through, but I pushed and kept her going because I knew she had what it took to make it in the industry.
She eventually landed an unpaid internship at a well known Interior Design firm in Sydney. While she was finally rewarded for her persistance and determination, it was an opportunity filled with some positives, but at the same time it had alot of negatives - which was surprising with a company of it's recognition. While i agree and support unpaid internships, and rate experience over a pay cheque in the first year or 2 after graduating, this was a example of how not to do it. Regardless, it provided her with 3 months experience. Her time there was cut short due to the person that hired her, being transfered to another office overseas.
She then spent another 3 months looking for work, she landed a job in a well known high end residential company as a colour consultant. However it only lasted a week due to a huge HR stuff up. Completely devastated and upset with her experiences, she questioned the industry and if it's really worth it. Again, I pushed her and kept her going.
Luckily, 1 month after she landed a job in a small studio in Surry Hills. While the projects were great, her boss had broad experience and was a well known figure in the industry, but was a complete bi*ch. Think The Devil Wears Prade mixed in with every female cartoon villan you could think of. The projects she worked on were quite huge, with huge budgets, open minded clients, etc. That was the plus side, the negative side was filled with greed, unethical behaviour leading to sabotage and lawsuits.In the end it all came crashing down. She put up with this for year.
Another 2 months later and leading to now, she's now working at a residential/commercial/custom making/storefitting/kitchen fitting/design company in Western Sydney. She's an interior design / consultant, and a project manager / coordinator, mixed in with a bit of graphic design / art directing. She's a multi-tasker, while her boss loves her, she is put under alot of pressure. To be honest and bias aside, she is the gun of the business. From the stories she's told me, you would not believe the difference in the attitude/appreciation/needs/wants of the clients from the suburbs to those from the city.
Wow, sorry I didnt realise how long this post has become...
To come to the end of this post, this is one example of what may or may not happen to you. My advice, call/email every company you come across and be prepared to invest alot of time and a crap load of patience, determination and persistance. Don't expect it to be easy, and just because you've landed a job, dont get too comfortable. In terms of your folio and CV, it will constantly evolve. And last but not least, designing the way you want, using the style you want the first few years is a luxury and a myth.
Hope this doesnt put you off, but good luck bud.
Apologies if above english is bad... didnt get a chance to proof it..