Design consultants oversee the renovation or remodeling of an indoor space. Consultants often specialize in commercial or residential interior design, focusing on both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the space. They advise clients on color, furniture, artwork, lighting, and texture, combining design elements to meet the client’s criteria.
Design consultants may work for design consulting firms, architectural firms, construction companies or retail stores. Independent or self-employed design consultants work on contract for both businesses and individuals.
Design consultants typically hold an associate or bachelor’s degree in interior design. Candidates with certificates or associate degrees can start out at design assistants, while those with bachelor’s degrees can often qualify for a design apprenticeship program. Curriculums include instruction in computer-aided design (CAD), drawing, design, architecture, ergonomics, ethics, and other related subjects.
Many states require interior designers to complete a licensing or registration program. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification administers the exam, which requires a combination of education and experience.
Design consultants help to make living and work environments comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and safe. Many consultants specialize in designing for niche markets, such as kitchens and bathrooms, home theaters, conference facilities, outdoor living spaces, hotels, restaurants, and resorts.
Consultants who specialize in ergonomic and green design are especially in high demand as safety requirements become more stringent and people are more concerned about environmental issues.
Design consultants must do any or all of the following:
Design consultants generally work in office environments during regular work hours. Those who work for smaller companies or those who freelance may work from home and have flexible hours, including some nights and weekends.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment among design consultants is expected to grow faster than average, at 19% through the year 2018. Opportunities in ergonomic, green and healthcare design should be most promising.
According to a May 2008 government report, the average salary for a design consultant was just under $45,000, with the median salary ranging from $34, 500 to $62,000. Salaries in this field can vary greatly according to years of experience, the size of the firm, and design specialty.