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What Is an Interior Designer and How to Become One

Interior Designer

What Do Interior Designers Do?

Interior Designers visualize, plan, and execute the look, feel, and function of the spaces in which we live and work. Their clients can range from homeowners who want to hire someone to visualize the design they want for their home to large businesses that need to make their workspaces comfortable and efficient. They first determine what their client wants for the project space, then they coordinate and select furnishings, paint, and fabrics, before selecting fixtures, lighting, and accessories to finish the look. Interior Designers need to be knowledgeable and familiar with the latest trends and fashions in order to better connect clients with their spaces and create pleasing aesthetics and styles.

How to Become an Interior Designer

To become an Interior Designer, earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in interior design. These programs require you to take courses on design techniques, how to utilize color, texture, and patterns, and the basics in computer-aided design (CAD). You may also choose to attend an accredited design university. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state, so research the qualifications where you live. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) offers certification exams for aspiring interior designers. Acquire an internship or entry-level position at a design firm to gain hands-on experience in the industry. Build a substantial portfolio by designing a variety of living and workspaces. Having an eye for style, layout, design and overall artistic skill are attributes that cannot be taught but are essential.

What Do Interior Designers Do on the Job?

On the job, Interior Designers first meet with their clients to discuss expectations, overall budget, and timeline for the project. They assess the spaces they need to configure, brainstorming ways to best utilize the area. Once they have a vision of the necessary changes, Interior Designers create a blueprint-like draft, typically using computer-aided design (CAD) programs, and review the mock-up with the client. Designers then purchase the materials to furnish the space and oversee the installation process. A visit to the space and a meeting with the client to ensure they are satisfied are the final steps in most projects.

What Are Types of Interior Design Jobs?

There are a variety of specialty areas for interior design. The two most common are residential, working in clients’ homes, and commercial, working in businesses and commercial properties. Interior Designers either charge hourly, often dependent on reputation or a flat project rate depending on the size and complexity of the job.

Interior Designer Job Description Sample

With this Interior Designer job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Interior Designer role.

Job Summary

Our firm is looking for a talented Interior Designer to create beautiful, functional spaces for commercial and residential clients. You will join our team of dedicated designers to ensure all of our customers receive top-notch customer service and that our results exceed customer expectations. We have an extensive list of current clients, but you will also be expected to cultivate relationships with new clientele. Our ideal candidate has at least two years of industry experience and an impressive portfolio of successful designs.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop new client leads and provide bids for projects
  • Discuss goals, expectations, budget, and timeline with the client
  • Study the space (or the blueprints and plans for the space) to consider the practical use and flow of people through and within the space
  • Collaborate with architects, builders, mechanical and structural engineers, and other members of the project team to create and implement a design plan
  • Create preliminary design schemes, either by hand-sketching or computer-aided design (CAD) and send to client for approval
  • Place orders for all supplies and materials
  • Oversee installation of the design elements
  • Debrief with client after project completion to ensure that goals were met and the project was done to the customer's satisfaction

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in interior design, architecture, or related field strongly preferred
  • Certification in an interior design specialty (such as lighting design, universal design, or kitchen and bath design) preferred
  • Portfolio showcasing customized designs
  • 2+ years of industry experience
  • Superior artistic and creative ability
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail and an aptitude for visualization
  • Excellent communication skills