How To Become An Interior Designer

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a space. Interior designers make interior spaces both functional and fashionable. They select decorative items for a space, as well as follow building codes and regulations in order to make sure that the space is functional for its purpose.

Interior designers need a bachelor’s degree in their field. Depending on the state, an interior designer may also need to be licensed in the state in which they work.

Why Become An Interior Designer

Interior designers have a wide range of responsibilities. They meet with potential clients, both commercial clients and residential clients. They search for and bid on new projects. They talk to clients about what their vision is for the project, what they would like to accomplish with both function and fashion, their budget, and other questions.

An interior designer will sketch initial designs for the space. These sketches will take many things into consideration, including regulations and codes, lighting, furniture, fixtures, and more. They often collaborate with architects, civil engineers, and construction laborers to help a project come together.

Interior designers use computer software in order to create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional sketches, to help them further visualize and guide them through the design process. They oversee the construction for the project and coordinate with others to make their vision and the vision of their clients come alive.

This is a good job for people who are artistic and creative, interested in design, and want to help others achieve their decorating goals, both commercially and residentially.

Interior Designers should possess the following qualities and skills:

Interior Designer Work Environment

Interior designers work in a number of different environments. About 20 percent of interior designers are self-employed and have their own design studios. Others work for specialty interior design firms, architectural firms, furniture stores, and more. They work in an office environment.

Interior Designers spend much of the day in front of a computer, using software to help design a space according to their clients’ specifications. These software systems help them realize designs in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. This job also involves extensive traveling. Interior designers must go to the sites of their clients, whether they are residential or commercial.

They discuss their clients’ needs, survey the site, and help come up with a vision. An interior designer often will work weekend hours and evening hours in order to meet deadlines.

Interior Designer Salary

The median annual salary for interior designers was $52,000 in 2017, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many factors that determine what salary a person will earn. One such factor is the industry a person works in. Interior designers who worked for engineering and architectural firms earned $59,000 in 2017 as a median annual income.

On the other hand, those who worked for popular furniture stores earned $45,000 as a median annual income. This is important to consider when thinking about what environment you might want to work in. Many interior designers have their own businesses and work for themselves, allowing to set their own rates for clients.

Average Interior Designer Annual Salary

$58,210

The average annual salary for interior designers is $58,210 a year. Salaries start at $27,240 a year and go up to $93,780 a year.

Average Interior Designer Hourly Wage

$27.99

The average hourly wage for a interior designer is $27.99. Hourly wages are between $13.10 and $45.09 an hour.

Stats were based out of 56,070 employed interior designers in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Interior Designers

Top Paying Cities For Interior Designers


Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Interior Designer Career Outlook

Employment for interior designers is expected to grow by 4 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is a slower rate of growth than most other occupations in the United States. Overall this accounts for 3,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

Most interior designers will be employed by commercial industries, especially construction. They will be employed to remodel and renovate commercial buildings and other facilities like schools, hospitals, hotels, spas, company buildings, and more. Those who have extensive knowledge of niche areas, such as sustainable design, will be more likely to be hired. Many companies are interested in eco-friendly design.

Interior designers are not often hired for residential projects, as it is quite expensive to do so. They will be hired by wealthy clients to remodel and renovate their homes, especially when clients are moving into a new space or designing for the holidays or seasonal decorating.

Interior Designer Degree

Interior designers typically need a bachelor’s degree in their field. Programs in interior design, architecture, art and design, or similar programs would be good for those interested in this field. In these classes, students take classes in drawing, art history, computer-aided design, studio design courses, and more.

Licensure varies by state. In some states, people must be licensed in order to do interior design work. Designers must take a state exam, named the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. Prerequisites for the exam include a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience.

It is important to check out your individual state to see requirements. Your license will allow you to work in the state where you are licensed. It takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Interior Designer Coursework

There are many courses that a person will take during an interior design program. These courses will mainly focus on lecture courses and studio design work. Below we have listed a few of the courses that can be found in a typical interior design undergraduate program.

Interior Design Studio: In this course, students are introduced to the interior design profession. This is a studio course. Students learn about lighting, color, and how to design for commercial and residential spaces. They learn about space planning, layouts, color schemes, furnishings, materials, and more.

Drafting for Interior Design: Students learn basic drafting skills used in interior design. They learn about drafting materials and the tools needed to produce drawings. They learn about scale, elevation, and other concepts of drafting.

Computer Aided Design: Students will use computer-aided design software in order to design and draft. Students will learn how to create floor plans, furniture plans, and more. They will learn how software can help them in their career to visualize their work.

Interior Designer Career Path

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Interior Designer A chief designer works as the head of a large interior design firm, supervising other interior designers. Their responsibilities include overseeing the entire interior design team, communicating with clients about commercial and residential projects, planning projects, developing a budget, and working to make sure a project is finished by deadline and under budget. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for this position, plus several years working in the industry. This is a great job for people who want to advance in the field and hold a more supervisory role.

Related Interior Designer Careers

Interior design is a rewarding career. If you are considering this career, there are many other careers to consider as well. Below we have listed some similar occupations.

Architect: Architects plan and design both commercial and residential properties, such as homes, office buildings, schools, hospitals, government buildings and more.

Fashion Designer: Fashion designers create their own clothing. They may sell their designs to other fashion houses, or create their own fashion line.

Graphic Designer: Graphic designers design graphics, logos, brochures, posters, flyers, and other visuals for companies, in order to advertise to consumers.

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