Career Detail

Interior Designer
“How Does the Room Look?”
Designers plan interior spaces of almost every type of building, including offices, airport terminals, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and private residences.
The Job
Whatever space they are working on, almost all designers follow the same process. The first step, known as programming, is to determine the client's needs and wishes. The designer usually meets face-to-face with the client to find out how the space will be used and to get an idea of the client's preferences and budget. The designer also will visit the space to take inventory of existing furniture and equipment and identify positive attributes of the space and potential problems. Then, the designer formulates a design plan and estimates costs. Today, designs often are created with the use of computer-aided design (CAD), which provides more detail and easier corrections than sketches made by hand. When the design concept is decided upon, the designer will begin specifying the materials, finishes, and furnishings required, such as furniture, lighting, flooring, wall covering, and artwork. Finally, the designer coordinates the project until completion.
Work Environment
Working conditions and places of employment vary. Interior designers employed by large corporations or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings.
College Majors
Interior Design
Minimum Qualifications
Postsecondary education, especially a bachelor's degree, is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. Training programs are available from professional design schools or from colleges
Personality traits helpful for this career
Creativity, good communication skills, and ability to listen to detail
Quick Facts
  • Keen competition is expected for jobs because many talented individuals are attracted to this occupation.
  • About 26 percent are self-employed.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages for interior designers were $44,950 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,620 and $61,880. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,750.
Comments and Updates
If you are a professional in this field please post comments so we can make this section the best and most relevant. Comments and updates are reviewed by our staff prior to posting. Post your comments
Sarah T
12/26/2009 8:54:53 P
I an interior designer in New York. The job opportunities and pay fluctuate with the economy and the market. A designer may struggle for work in all markets. In Milwaukee and good designer may make $60K, in New York and other top markets the sky is the limit. $250K and more is not uncommon. You've got to be good. You've got to have connections to high net worth clientele. Once you've got the clientele it's a ball!
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