Interior Designer

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Interior Designer


Nobody likes living or working in a stark white apartment with bare floors and nothing on the walls. We enjoy color, art, and furniture in our everyday environments. How we decide to design and decorate our homes is a very personal process, however, not very many of us have the time or energy to design our homes the way we'd like to. Lucky for us, there are interior designers. These skilled artists take a bland office, hotel, restaurant, or private residence and create welcoming, warm, and stylish spaces for us to enjoy.

Working independently or in a firm of designers, interior designers are approached by people who'd like to spruce up a space. While interior decorators can make magic by changing the curtains and recovering the furniture, interior designers do more major renovations. They might be called in to tear down walls and gut out entire rooms, install new lighting systems, as well as think about new flooring, paint colors, and furniture. Interior designers meet with their clients, and discuss the changes. Then they get to work sketching ideas about renovations, researching costs and safety codes, and gathering furniture, paint, fabric, and carpet samples for the client to choose from. The client will meet with the interior designer, looking over the samples and the hand drawing and computer designs, working through any design problems until decisions are met.

Often, the interior designer follows through on the plans. They may confirm the required permits have been obtained, facilitate the hiring of plumbers, construction crews, and electricians, and work closely with the technicians who are putting the design in place. They conduct on-site inspections, monitoring both the safety and evolution of the design.

Interior designers go to great lengths to improve our quality of life. They take into account different style traditions from history and the many cultures of the world, in an attempt to bring peace, beauty, and energy to the people who enter the spaces they design.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming an interior designer? First, they have an ability to visualize spaces three-dimensionally in their minds. Interior designers are creative thinkers, practical as well as imaginative, and they love to follow through on ideas, no matter how many obstacles come up in the way. They are interested in experimenting with different materials, textures, and forms. They are able to work well under pressure and enjoy all aspects of a project, including research, writing reports, and meetings. Interior designers also enjoy a challenge, and like learning new things. Finally they should enjoy drawing, enjoy computers, and be interested in technology, history, and architecture.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Meet regularly with clients to discuss ideas and development of project
  • Plan and design building interiors, rooms, shops, residential and leisure spaces
  • Plan interior lighting, air conditioning and heating systems
  • Research safety codes and building regulations
  • Create drawings, samples and decorating instructions, by hand and on computer
  • Hire tradespeople to complete project
  • Visit site to oversee evolution of work
  • Manage business
  • A typical day for a designer will be a long one, especially if the project is interesting, pressing, or fun to work on. A designer will divide each day between meetings with clients and practical work. The designer will spend time in an office, working on sketches, developing computer and actual models, and preparing and giving presentations to clients, as well as supervising the sites during the construction process. This job will allow for travel, to client offices and homes for meetings, and to worksites. There may be some travel to other cities, depending on the needs of the client.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Interior designers tend to be employed by design firms, or work as independent designers. However, they can also be on staff with architectural firms, government offices, hospitals, airlines, development companies, hotel and restaurant chains, and large corporations. They will spend most of their time indoors, in design offices and meeting rooms. They will also spend time on construction sites, which can be dangerous. They usually work long hours when in the middle of a project, including evening and weekend work.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Interior designers may advance to senior positions within a firm, or go on to open their own business. They may become specialists in an area, like feng shui design, hospital design, or environmental design. They may become interior decorators, or open a furnishing, paint, or building supply store. They may take their knowledge of safety and become a building and construction inspector, or they may turn to set and stage design, furniture design, or sculpture. They can also write do-it-yourself books for amateur designers.

  Educational Paths  
There are a few ways to get the training to become an interior designer. There are two- to four-year college programs in interior design, university degrees in interior design, and programs of varying lengths offered by private design schools. Any degree or diploma program should be supplemented with courses in drafting, building design, architecture, furniture history, social studies, sculpture, and drawing. A good path to take would be an arts or fine arts degree in university, followed up by a college diploma in interior design.

Clients will also need to see a portfolio (collection of examples) of your work, so if you are serious about this career, start collecting them now.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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