Student Info & Guide

So you wanna be an Interior Designer

by on August 13, 2014 | Top Stories, Career Guide

Interior Designers and Decorators

Interior designers and decorators are involved in the design or renovation of internal spaces. This includes alterations to structures, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, lighting and colour schemes. Their work can be in a commercial, leisure or domestic property setting. Interior designers and decorators need to combine the efficient and functional use of space with an understanding of aesthetics.

Job description

Interior designers and decorators need to determine the objectives of the design to be implemented by consulting with clients, undertaking research and analysing functional requirements or studying layouts.

Their work involves creating interior decorating schemes and planning furnishings for homes and commercial buildings. Some designers and decorators work on stage scenery and window displays.

They need to produce sample products or design illustrations, or instruct other workers in making models or patterns of products. This involves detailed working drawings, designs, plans, models and schemes which are often generated using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Besides establishing design concepts, interior designers and decorators need to source for products and provide samples for clients, survey buildings, supervise work on-site, establish cost, work with architects to determine the best use of space, and keep up to date with new developments in the design industry.

Work environment


Interior designers and decorators in big organisations work in well-lit, comfortable and air-conditioned environment. Those who work in smaller companies may work in cramped offices. Those who freelance basically work from home and at their clients' premises.

It is common for designers to use sophisticated computer software and technology, to plan layouts and prepare drawings and specifications for construction on computers. Interior designers and decorators may have to carry heavy and bulky books of past work and samples with them when meeting clients.

On-site work can take place at office spaces and industrial premises; retail locations; hotels; residential developments; domestic properties; and other buildings.

Places of employment

Interior designers and decorators in big organisations work regular hours and are well paid. Those who freelance work irregular hours because they tend to suit their hours to the time when their clients are available. This means that working nights and during weekends is normal.

Interior designers and decorators travel a lot. They have to travel to meet clients, view locations which they are designing, such as showrooms and exhibition areas.

Skills and Attributes

Candidates must have an appreciation for beauty and the desire to create things with imagination. They must have a good eye for designs, structures, patterns, colours, forms, sense of balance and proportion. They must also have excellent communication and problem-solving skills.

Job Entry Requirements

The minimum job entry requirement for interior designers is usually a diploma or bachelor's degree in design or interior design.

Find out where you can pursue a certificate, diploma or degree in interior design.

Career Advancement

Designers can advance to be supervisors, chief designers or heads of a design department.

With further studies, interior designers can become architects. Some choose to open their own companies or lecture in colleges and universities.

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