Become an Interior Designer

Much like a fashion designer, an interior designer can use his or her art and design degree and apply it towards a non-digital career in the arts. If you're interested in a career in the arts but want to utilize your digital skills, read more about multimedia artists and graphic designers.

Nature of Interior Design Work

Interior designers enhance the function and aesthetics of interior spaces. Their main concerns are how colors, textures, furniture, lighting and spaces work together to meet the needs of their clients.

In the past, most interior designers focused on decorating-picking a style and color palette, furniture, floor and window coverings, artwork and lighting. Recently however, a growing number of designers are becoming more involved in architectural detailing, such as crown molding, built-in bookshelves and renovation.

The designer usually meets with clients to find out how the space will be used and to get an idea of the client's preferences. Then, the designer formulates a design plan. Designs are usually created by using computer-aided design systems these days. Then the designer will select the materials, finishes and furnishings required.

Training and Qualifications for Interior Designing

A bachelor's degree is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. After the completion of formal training, interior designers will enter a 1- to 3-year apprenticeship to gain experience before taking a licensing exam. Most apprentices work in design firms under the supervision of an experienced designer, but graduates also may choose to gain experience working with an in-store designer in furniture stores.

Employers prefer interior designers who are familiar with computer-aided design software and the basics of architecture and engineering. In addition to possessing technical knowledge, interior designers must be creative, imaginative and able to communicate their ideas visually, verbally and on paper. Designers need to be well-read, open to new ideas and influences and observant of changing trends.

Employment and Job Outlook for Interior Designers

Interior designers held about 72,000 jobs in 2006. Approximately 26 percent were self-employed, and roughly 26% of interior designers worked in specialized design services. The rest of the interior designers provided services in architectural and landscape architectural firms, furniture stores, building material and supplies dealers and construction companies.

Before the recession hit, employment of interior designers was expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. Because of economic expansion and growing homeowner wealth, the demand for designers was increasing. It is uncertain how this industry will now be affected with the recent economic decline.

Earnings of an Interior Designer

Median annual earnings for salary interior designers were $42,260 in May 2006. The middle 50% earned between $31,830 and $57,230. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,270, and the highest 10% earned more than $78,760.

Interior design salaries vary widely with the specialty, type of employer and number of years of experience. Among salaried interior designers, those in large specialized design and architectural firms earn higher and more stable salaries.


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