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Interior Designer: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Interior designers require a fair amount of formal education. Learn more about the education requirements and job duties to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Interior designers use their training and talents to create spaces that suit their clients' needs. This may involve aspects of the structure of the building, as well as choosing furniture, accessories, fabrics for draperies and other design elements. A degree in interior design is required, and some states mandate licensing.

Essential Information

Beautiful, comfortable indoor spaces don't just happen by accident. They are carefully planned by interior designers who combine their artistic and technical skills to create safe and functional spaces where we work, live and play. Most of interior designers hold bachelor's degrees. In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states require professionals in this field to obtain licensure to either perform interior design work or to be able use the designation interior designer (www.bls.gov). Employment opportunities are expected to grow for interior designers in the coming decade.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Some states require licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4%
Average Salary (2015)* $55,510

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Designers can work on everything from shopping malls to corporate offices to hotel lobbies by combining aesthetics with practical considerations. The designer first consults with a client to determine what is wanted and offers recommendations. The designer then proceeds to create a detailed plan, addressing a number of considerations, including color schemes, furnishing styles, materials and placement of specific items, while making sure to remain within budgetary constraints.

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Job Duties

During the initial interview with a client, an interior designer usually asks many questions to determine the scope of the project and the client's particular tastes or vision. Once the specifications are understood and the area to be designed has been carefully inspected, the designer creates two or three possible plans and presents them for selection and approval. The design process usually involves initial sketches that continually evolve before being finalized using computer-aided design (CAD) software. All components must be taken into account, including flooring, lighting and wall coverings as well as the people that will be using the space.

Interior designers can purchase items and furnishings through catalogs and stores, but they could also make different industry contacts to receive discounts on some products. Depending on the project, an interior designer might need to meet with architects, inspectors, plumbers, electricians, painters and other specialists to coordinate plans and make sure all requirements are met. The designer oversees the installation of the interior space at different stages to make sure everything goes according to plan and make corrections as needed. Once the project is done, the client is brought in for a final inspection and approval. If the client requires any changes, the interior designer must complete them in a timely manner.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for interior designers was expected to grow 4 percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The highest growth was predicted for interior designers working in specialized design companies. The BLS stated that interior designers specializing in areas such as kitchen design and those working in high income areas might have the best job prospects. In 2015, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $55,510 for interior designers.

Interior designers may focus on residential, commercial, or industrial design, combining elements to create an environment suited to the clients' needs. They help clients select furnishings and may be required to meet with builders and other construction personnel. Slow job growth is expected from 2014 to 2024 in this field, but prospects should be better for interior designers employed by specialized design firms.

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