Interior Designer Job Description
Interior designers work closely with contractors, architects, and structural engineers to design functional, safe, and appealing interior spaces. Airports, homes, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, offices, and shopping malls all provide opportunities for interior designers.
Most interior designers use computer aided design (CAD) software to create their designs. Using software is not only faster than drawing than by hand, it also allows designers to make large changes with minimal effort. Since it’s often necessary to go through multiple revisions of a design with a client, this software saves a considerable amount of time.
Some interior designers are generalists, and will work on any project. However, many choose to specialize in one type of design. Examples of specialties within this field include:
Universal designers. These designers create spaces that are accessible to everyone. They are often employed to make a space accessible to elderly or handicapped people, without sacrificing the integrity of a design.
Kitchen and bath designers. If you were to take a survey of people and ask them which room they’d like to redesign in their home, most will probably say either their kitchen or their bathroom. This provides lots of opportunities for kitchen and bath designers, though the specialization is very competitive.
Lighting designers. One of the most important elements to having a comfortable and functional space is good lighting. Lighting designers often work in hospitals, museums, office buildings, and homes to develop appropriate lighting for each space.
Closet designers. If there’s one thing most homeowners struggle with, it’s a lack of storage space. Closet designers help maximize the amount of storage in a home.
Work Environment and Schedule
About one third of interior designers are self-employed, and many work from their homes. If working for yourself isn’t your thing, you can also find employment opportunities at architectural and construction firms, home furnishing stores, and interior design agencies.
Since much of their work has to be done at times that are convenient for their clients, interior designers have to be very flexible with their schedules. Providing consultations on nights and weekends is very common, as those are times when clients are most likely to be home from work.
The majority of interior designers work with clients in their local area, but some work with clients all over the country. Those with national clients have to travel frequently, and may be away from home for extended periods of time.
Because this is a deadline-driven occupation, working overtime is often required.
How to Become an Interior Designer
A bachelor’s degree is required for most interior design positions. A degree in interior design can be helpful, but isn’t necessary. Professional designers come from all types of academic backgrounds.
In many states, it’s necessary to obtain a license before you can refer to yourself as an interior designer (even though anyone can do interior design work). In most states, passing the National Council for Interior Design exam is sufficient for becoming licensed.
California has their own exam, which is administered by the California Council for Interior Design Certification.
There are currently 56,500 interior designers in the United States, with 2,840 new interior designer job openings created each year.
Interior Designer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Interior Designer Salaries
Interior Designer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most interior designers make between $35,300 – $66,000 per year, or $16.98 – $31.71 per hour.