Careers in Interior Design: What You Need to Know

By in Career Exploration on

0 Comments / Leave a Comment

interiordesignerYou find yourself being dragged to HomeGoods and TJ Maxx on a weekly basis by your friends, who beg you to find the perfect pillow and bedspread for their apartment. Before they can stop explaining their vision, you wow them with the mix of color and textures you pull off the shelves. They seem impressed, but to you, it just comes naturally!

Maybe you think a career as an interior designer isn’t practical, but in reality, you can be successful designing someone’s dream room or home AND make money doing it. If you’re considering taking the leap into becoming an interior designer, here are some fast facts you’ll want to take into account.

What Exactly Does an Interior Designer Do?

When someone thinks of an interior designer and their main job duty, the first thing that comes to mind is making a room look gorgeous. While that is true, interior designers do much more than that. Along with aesthetics, an interior designer has to incorporate safety features, avoid health hazards and provide functionality.

Code and compliance regulations are very important for an interior designer, especially when providing remodeling advice. You need to have an eye for color and style but also have the brain cells to analyze situations and problems when they arise.

Many times, interior designers will be required to read blueprints for a job and provide budget estimates before they dive into selecting anything such as flooring, lighting fixtures and other décor items.

Are You a Personality Match to Be an Interior Designer?

Being an interior designer isn’t rainbow color palettes all of the time. You have to be ambitious and a self-starter in this industry, considering the majority of interior designers are self-employed.

While that may sound thrilling, a lot of responsibility comes along with being your own boss. Here are some skills to match against your own personality traits. If enough of these traits match your own, you might make a good designer.

  • Analyze information and situations to create solutions.
  • Present ideas in a clear and concise manner for people who do not have a design background.
  • Plan ahead, but also have the ability to adjust to setbacks or account for new information.
  • Lead with confidence and poise.
  • Create designs with scale, color and proportions in mind.
  • Enjoy working with the public.
  • Initiate many bids and projects in order to stay employed.
  • Have an artistic eye for large-scale projects.
  • Be good with numbers and statistics.
  • Listen to the client’s ideas and translate them to paper and then to reality.

Note: Even if you don’t match the above traits 100 percent, that doesn’t mean you won’t make a great interior designer! These are just a few traits that will come in handy, but there are many more.

Another item to keep in mind when you’re debating on whether you want to get into interior design is where you envision yourself living. Many interior designers thrive in cities or larger metropolitan areas because they have a large pool of potential customers.

Most interior designers don’t live in incredibly rural areas because there aren’t enough clients who can afford their services. If you love fields and rolling hills, think about what you want to do as an interior designer.

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator

Interior design is not the same as interior decorating. You might be great with fabrics and colors, but are you good with measurements and angles? Can you use CAD? Do you feel comfortable collaborating with contractors and architects in a project?

You might not feel confident right now, but that’s why getting a degree in interior design is important! If you’re solely interested in decorating, consider sticking with just growing your portfolio. But maybe the words “design,” “build” and “remodel” make your heart flutter — keep reading for more information on how to make that dream a reality.

Commercial Design vs. Residential Design

Do you find yourself staring at the new skyscraper in your city, or do you feel a calling toward redesigning your bathroom?

Commercial design is different from residential design in many ways. In commercial design, you’ll most likely be working with a much bigger budget than a residential design. And there are a vast amount of opportunities! Think about where you visit in one day: The mall, the bank, your classroom — these were all designed by someone! From theme parks to hospitals, the world is your design playground when it comes to commercial design.

Don’t discount the opportunities residential design can hold, though. If you’re still feeling a calling toward home design, keep in mind your job won’t only consist of picking out paint chips and countertops. Remodeling design presents many obstacles such as pre-existing walls, window removal and replacement, and other architectural structures that will have to be navigated.

Residential or commercial redesign might be a great option for those of you who like solving puzzles. If you’ll feel that your creative juices are stifled by the need to work around previous fabrications, stick with new design work.

Average Salary and Job Outlook

Sometimes when a person shows interest in interior design, their main driving goal is the Benjamins. You probably won’t be getting rich quick off of interior design unless you’re a prodigy in your craft, but your salary shouldn’t leave you poor, either.

The average salary sits at around $47,000 a year. That number will fluctuate depending on where you live and whether you work for a firm or if you’re self-employed. Interior design jobs are growing at an average rate, so don’t be afraid to take a leap!

Required Education and Certificates 

Schooling to be an interior designer is no cakewalk. You’ll most likely learn CAD (computer-aided design) programs and how to read blueprints. The industry is always changing, so it’s important to stay updated on new trends and concepts even once you graduate.

Getting into a great interior design school will help your chances of landing a competitive job, and an internship will also increase your odds.

Once you graduate, you’ll have to learn about the particular codes and regulations in your area regarding building and design work. Each state and county has various regulations, and they’re constantly changing.

It never hurts to contact interior design professionals for their advice, especially if they are in your area and are willing to meet up for coffee. Negative talk will be in everything you ever do in life. Don’t be swayed by it, though — if you know your dream is to be an interior designer, go achieve it!

About the Author

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer, blogger, and aspiring world traveler. Sarah is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site on which she shares advice for young professionals on navigating the work world, and finding happiness and success at work. For more on all things career follow her @SarahLandrum

Posted in: Career Exploration
Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.