Interior Designer Career Information

An interior designer enhances the function, safety and aesthetics of interior spaces while taking into account how different colors, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet occupants’ or visitors’ needs. He or she works with both private and public spaces including residences, shopping malls, schools, offices, and hospitals.

Employment Facts

There were 72,000 interior designers employed in 2008.

Educational Requirements

Training to become an interior designer takes two to four years and is available from professional design schools or colleges and universities. One can earn an associate degree or certificate by attending a two to three-year program, or a bachelor’s degree by attending a four-year program. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, one would most likely begin a one to three-year apprenticeship program at a design or architecture firm and work under the supervision of an experienced interior designer. A graduate with a certificate or associate degree would usually start his or her career as an assistant to an interior designer.

Other Requirements

Many states require interior designers to be registered, certified or licensed. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification administers a written exam that is required by these states. In order to sit for the exam, one needs six years of combined education—at least two years of postsecondary education—and experience. Continuing education is often required to maintain one’s license, certification or registration.

Advancement Opportunities

One to three years of on-the-job training allows interior designers to advance to supervisory positions including chief designer or design department head. These positions are usually available in larger firms. Some experienced interior designers specialize in one aspect of design or open their own design firms.

Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that interior design will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018 but there will be a lot of competition for jobs. While there are a lot of people who want to work in this field, those who have significant formal training and are creative and persistent will fare best.

Earnings

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an Interior Designer currently earns in your city.​

A Day in an Interior Designer’s Life

On a typical design project an interior designer’s tasks include:

  • meeting with a client to find out what he or she wants and needs, how space will be used and what his or her budget is
  • coming up with a design plan, usually using computer-aided-design (CAD), and a budget estimate
  • presenting the design plan and budget to the client and then revising the design plan according to the client’s input
  • upon finalizing the design plan, specifying materials, finishes, lighting, and flooring
  • if required by the municipality and scope of the project, submitting drawings to a building inspector to make sure it meets building codes
  • hiring architects to do structural work, if necessary, and other contractors to handle technical work
  • setting a timeline for the project
  • supervising the project to make sure it is done correctly and according to

10 Things You Should Know About Becoming an Interior Designer

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An interior designer must serve many functions. Is it the right role for you? Image: zhu difeng/Shutterstock

Are you always receiving compliments on your interior design taste? Do you love decorating rooms and arranging furniture? If you answered yes to these questions, then maybe a career in interior design is right for you.

Before you make a life-altering career choice, there are some things you should know about the design world. Interior designers face challenges every day; some of these may not appeal to you, while others may excite you and open doors to a career that you never thought was possible.

Read on to learn the 10 things you should know before becoming an interior designer.

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Interior designers understand color, textiles and spatial arrangements. Image: AKA-PHOTO/Shutterstock

1. There Is a Difference Between Decorators and Designers

What’s the difference between interior decorators and interior designers? In one word: education.

Literally anyone can become an interior decorator. Someone who loves playing with colors, fabrics and textiles can become a decorator by simply printing business cards and promoting themselves to clients. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but educational background is also important.

On the other hand, an interior designer must have an accredited education; an associate or bachelor’s degree is a requisite for working in the interior design field. Do you want to pursue an education, or jump immediately into the decorating world? Keep reading to see if interior design could be the right fit for you.

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Do you have the insight and talent that it takes to become a designer? Image: Klaus Vedfelt/GettyImages

2. You Must Have a Knack for Design

It may seem obvious, but in order to become an interior designer, you need to have an innate flair for color, spatial arrangements, architecture and textiles. Do you enjoy decorating your home and get lots of compliments on your decor? That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be an interior designer, but it’s certainly a good sign.

The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work. Take this fun quiz to see which field you should consider majoring in. Is a career in interior design in your future?

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There is more to interior design than looking at fabric and paint swatches. Image: Gaf_Lila/Shutterstock

3. Interior Design Isn’t All Fabric and Fun

While fabrics, furniture and color may play a large role in interior design, there are plenty of other tasks that are required of interior designers — many of which may seem less like fun and more like work.

Interior designers need to be educated in the history of design, the structural integrity of buildings, building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, ethics, psychology, computer-aided drawing (CAD) and much more.

It might seem that interior designers are expected to be Jacks (or Jills) of all trades, doesn’t it? This broad range of skills is required

New Zealand Interior Designer Wins Award For ‘Best Kitchen In The World’

Trent Stonge

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