What you need to know
Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations, as well as universal accessibility standards.
Most interior designers work in offices, but technology has changed the way many designers work. For example, rather than using drafting tables, interior designers now use complex software to create two-dimensional or three-dimensional images.
Some of the things interior designers might do:
- Search for and bid on new projects
- Determine the client’s goals and requirements for the project
- Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
- Sketch preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts
- Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures
- Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
- Place orders for materials and oversee the installation of the design elements
- Oversee construction and coordinate with general building contractors to implement the plans and specifications for the project
- Visit the site after the project is complete, to ensure that the client is satisfied
- Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that are aesthetically pleasing.
- Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.
- Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and creating drawings, so that their drawings can be used by other workers such as engineers or other designers.
- Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.
- Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of certain materials, while keeping the project on time and within budget.
- Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness in order to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.
The average pay for interior designers in the United States ranges from $33,020 to $97,920 as of May 2020.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of interior designers is projected to decline 5 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Job prospects should be best in high-income areas, because wealthy clients are more likely than others to engage in remodeling and renovating their spaces.
Keeping up to date with the newest design tools, such as three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software, also will improve job prospects.
A bachelor’s degree is usually required in order to become an interior designer, as are classes in interior design, drawing, and computer-aided design (CAD). A bachelor’s degree in any field is acceptable, and interior design programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.
Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability for admission to interior design programs.
Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Interior and Environmental Design.