how to become an interior designer

What does a Interior Designer do?

An interior designer assists people to decorate their homes, offices, restaurants, stores, and businesses to create the most functional and beautiful decor in a space for the client as possible.

Watch a video to learn what an interior designer does.

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How to Become an Interior Designer

Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design. Many employers want several years of work-related experience as well as on-the-job training. A recognized vocational school would also be helpful. According to O*NET OnLine, over 85% of the interior designers surveyed reported holding a bachelor’s degree.

Job Description of an Interior Designer

An interior designer helps clients obtain the ideal environment for their circumstances. They would determine color schemes, lighting, and materials for the project and be able to give expert advice on any possible building codes or inspection regulations that might be needed for the job. Whether the client needs a positive selling environment, a more pleasing place to eat, or simply a nice space to come home to. To be successful in this career field, instructional designers must be capable and confident when meeting with customers to assess the needs for a project, such as planning the desired design, costs, architectural issues, furnishings, layouts, or color coordination.

Interior designers meet with any contractors that may be needed as well in order to achieve the desired outcome. If any additional sub-contracting is needed for wall coverings, carpets, flooring, tiling or any other related need, the interior designer would make those arrangements and oversee the job. Skills in (CAD) computer-aided drafting or related software to get construction documents would be used as well as scanners, tape measures, graphics tablets or photo imaging software.

Some knowledge of building and construction would be needed as well as public safety and security. Communication skills are very valuable as the need to speak with and listen to a client from the beginning to the completion of the designed project is critical for the success of the job. An interior designer should have sales and marketing skills that would enable them to encourage new business for themselves, their employer or their customers.

Interior Designer Career Video Transcript

Whether visualizing a brand-new building or giving a fresh look to a tired room, interior designers are artists who play with space to create attractive, functional interiors. Interior designers select the elements that define an interior space, from furniture and paint colors to lighting and floor coverings. They may sketch freehand or use design software to create a plan that suits the client’s needs and preferences, and reflects how the space will be used. Interior designers draft project timelines and estimate costs, place orders for materials, and oversee the installation of design elements. At project completion, they follow up with clients to ensure their satisfaction.

Designers must be familiar with building codes, local regulations, and universal accessibility standards. They may work with architects and builders to define permanent aspects of a space, such as the room size and wall or window placement. Some interior designers specialize, for example, in designing healthcare facilities, kitchens and bathrooms, or in using sustainability principles in their work. Meeting with clients during evening and weekend hours may be necessary. A number are self-employed. Typical employers include design firms, architects, and furniture stores. To enter the field, interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design. Some states require licensure.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Interior Designers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-1025.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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