Career and Job Search Guide

Interior Designer

Interior designers decorate and design the inside of buildings. They determine what colors, furniture, textures, and lighting to use inside buildings. Interior designers design the interiors of all types of buildings from homes to airports. Interior design can improve office productivity, increase sales, attract wealthy clients, create a relaxing atmosphere, or increase the value of a building.

In the past, most interior designers determined a decorating style and then choose colors, furniture, floor and window coverings, lighting, and art. However, more designers are now involved with designing architecture by determining building layouts and the location of doors, windows, stairways, etc. Interior designers must be able to read blueprints, understand building and fire codes, and understand where accessibility services for handicapped people should be located. Designers sometimes work with architects, electricians, and contractors to make sure building designs are compatible with building codes and regulations.

Most designers follow the same process. First, designers must determine what the customer wants. The designer usually meets personally with the customer to determine what the client wants done with the space, what designs the customer prefers, and how much money they want to spend. For example, if the designer is remodeling a kitchen, he or she would determine the cooking habits and preferences of their clients. The designer would then visit the space to determine its best uses.

The designer then develops plans and estimates costs. Designs often use computer-aided design (CAD) to create detailed plans. After the plan is created, it is submitted to the customer for input.

After the final design is agreed upon, the designer will select the materials, furnishings, flooring, lighting, art, and floor covering. To make sure the plans do not violate building codes, the designer will submit their plans to a construction inspector. Sometimes projects require structural work, so the designer will collaborate with an architect or engineer. Electricians, plumbers, and other technical experiments are also sometimes contracted for projects.

The designer then finally develops a timeline and coordinates the project. After the project is completed, the designer meets with customers to determine if they are satisfied, and if not, the designer makes necessary changes.

Designers working for furniture or home and garden stores offer design services and sale merchandise. In-store designers select a style, color scheme, and accessories. However, in-store designers usually do not visit their clients' buildings and are usually required to only sell their company's merchandise. Some interior designers supervise employees working for them. Designers running their own businesses spend a lot of time attracting more clients and managing their businesses.

Some interior designers specialize in residential or commercial building while others specialize in certain clients, such as hospitals. The majority of specialties are experts about certain rooms, such as bathrooms. Some designers also specialize in acoustics, security, home theaters, spas, and indoor gardens.

Ergonomic, elder, and environmental design is becoming more popular. Ergonomic design emphasizes furniture that promotes good posture and decreases muscle strain. Elder design is intended to help disabled and elderly people move freely in their homes. Green design is intended to decrease energy usage and be environmentally friendly.

Work environment. Interior designers working for large corporations or design firms usually work 40 hour weeks in comfortable offices. Designers working for smaller firms or freelance designers adjust their schedules to meet their clients' deadlines. Consultants and self-employed designers usually work long hours in congested offices.

Interior designers must stay on budget, please clients, and meet deadlines, which can be stressful. Designers with their own businesses are under pressure to attract new business in order to enjoy a steady income.

Designers spend their time in their own offices, studios, or in clients' private residences. They also travel to showrooms, design centers, and manufacturing facilities. Because of technology, designers can work with clients throughout the world, conduct research, and purchase supplies on the internet.