Have you got an eye for colour? Got a flair for design? Well, that’s a great start! But if you’d like to make it in the world of interior design, you’ll need to be prepared to tackle maths as well as mood boards. And, it’s important that you’re just as comfortable working with others as you are alone too. Sound like something you could be into? Let’s explore the career opportunities within the field of interior design…
What does an interior designer do?
It is, as they say, all in the title with this job role! An interior designer focuses on the decoration and remodelling of building interiors. This means they may oversee a simple room refresh or transform the look and feel of a whole building from the inside.
On a day-to-day basis, an interior designer might meet with clients to discuss briefs for projects, spend time sketching ideas or sourcing products, materials, wall coverings or furniture. They could be pricing up projects based on budgets and defined timescales. Plus, there could be planning to do to ensure things will be completed on time. They may find themselves acting as a project manager for whatever they’re working. This in turn means they may also be hiring and briefing subcontractors. Fancy a 9-5 job? Interior designers often need to be physically present while decorating and other activities are in progress.
Sounds like a fabulously varied role doesn’t it? The job of an interior designer is likely to involve some travel – perhaps even internationally. It may also involve evening and weekend work. Are you a lone ranger? You could find yourself working alone or as part of a wider team. The range of projects interiors specialists work on is also vast – you could focus on people’s homes or hospitality spaces such as hotels or restaurants. There are also opportunities to remodel office and other workspaces too.
Do you need to study to become an interior designer?
Like many creative callings, a design degree isn’t strictly necessary for pursuing a career as an interior designer, but it could certainly help. In the first instance ,certain characteristics may make you more suited to the role. Things like having good attention to detail, an ability to visualise and good spatial awareness are key. Impressive project management abilities such as being able to maintain a good overview of a project and working with a team will also put you in good stead.
Many people do go down the study route, which means interior design is an increasingly a competitive field. You can move into interior design from other design studies or choose a specific course centred on interiors. A interior design course will usually give you a good grounding in the history of interiors and trends. It will most likely also address more practical skills such as drawing techniques, software familiarity and project and finance management.
According to Susie Rumbold quoted in the Times, around half the members of British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) are university graduates. The other half came to interior design as a second career through following a personal interest. The BIID offers a professional pathway for accreditation in six years and also has some good information on how to select an interior design course. Another option is to take an apprenticeship or to pursue internships to help you to gain hands on experience. Whatever angle you come to the profession from, client recommendations, experience and building a portfolio of work will be paramount in helping you to get hired.
How much could you earn as an interior designer?
According to the National Careers Service, interior designers usually earn somewhere between £18,00 and £45,000 a year. However, how much you earn and how you get paid – (e.g. weekly, monthly, or by project) will depend on whether you work freelance or as part of a firm. The salary you are able to command could be substantially more if your work is very in demand or you progress up to creative director level within a respected firm.
Being an interior designer can undoubtedly be a very fulfilling career that puts creativity and communication at its core. What could be better than making changes that people see every day? It’s a career that means always learning and innovating, but is it something you’d like to do?