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Job Description, Salaries, Benefits and Useful Links
Interior designers plan the design of living and commercial environments. They then manage the work of turning their ideas into a reality. They need to design a space that is practical for its purpose as well as visually pleasing.
Projects can be broad in scope, ranging from structural alterations to the choice of furnishings, curtains, wallpaper and lighting. The role includes:
- working to a brief, which details what the space will be used for
- inspecting and surveying buildings
- negotiating fees and setting schedules for the project
- researching and drawing up rough plans
- developing detailed designs and choosing materials
- supervising the work as it is carried out.
Interior designers typically work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some evening and weekend work may be required. Designers are based in design studios, although a lot of time is spent on location. Self-employed designers may work from home.
Salaries may range from around £18,000 to £60,000 a year or more.
An interior designer must have:
- creativity and imagination
- an eye for design, including colour, and good 3D awareness
- the ability to visualise concepts and explain them to others
- good drawing and IT skills
- an interest in changing trends in design.
Around 6,000 to 8,000 people work as interior designers in the UK. The main employers are design consultancies and architectural practices. Some interior designers are self-employed. Opportunities exist throughout the UK. The biggest concentration of consultancies is in the south east of England.
Almost all interior designers have a degree or HND. This may be in interior design or in a related subject such as 3D design, graphic design, fashion and textile design, architecture or fine art. Courses are available across the UK. Foundation degrees and BTEC national diplomas are also available.
Besides on-the-job training, employers may offer short courses in specific areas such as presentation skills and IT packages. Interior designers are expected to keep up to date with new trends and products. Designers who have completed a diploma or degree in interior design are eligible for associate membership of the British Interior Design Association.
It is possible to progress to partner status within a consultancy. After building a reputation, many interior designers choose to become self-employed or work freelance. They may move into areas such as theatre set design or exhibition design.
Read more about interior designer classes