Becoming an interior designer requires decorating and furnishing enclosed spaces from private homes and commercial buildings to the interiors of boats, ships and airplanes. Interior designers may also plan additions to a home or design the remodeling process. They frequently specialize in a particular venue, such as office spaces, private homes or even specific rooms within homes, such as bedrooms, kitchens or baths.
To become an interior designer, you must enjoy the idea of aesthetically transforming a space according to the desires of the owners, whether that space is a private home or a private jet, a small bathroom or a high-rise office tower.
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in interior design usually qualify for entry into a formal one- to three-year design apprenticeship program where they gain relevant experience by working under the direction of a professional interior designer. Following this apprenticeship, the aspiring designer qualifies to take a licensing exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). On passing, individuals are granted the title of Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer, depending on the state.
Some interior designers concentrate on decorating commercial buildings, while others focus primarily on private residences. Regardless of the specialization space, interior designers share a number of basic responsibilities, including:
Becoming an interior designer requires balancing artistic taste with business acumen. Excellent communication skills are vital to clearly understand the client’s desires even if the client is unable to articulate them clearly. Computer skills can prove invaluable, especially with budgets and in rendering potential designs. The interior designer needs to be organized, schedule oriented, flexible and persuasive.
Nearly one-third of all interior designers freelance or operate their own independent interior design businesses. About 10 percent work for architectural or landscaping firms. Others find employment in retail furniture, home furnishing and department stores.
Economic growth is expected to substantially increase the demand for interior designers, which is helped by the popularity of interior design programs such as “Trading Spaces,” “Design on a Dime,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “While You Were Out” and “Clean Sweep,” to name but a few.
Competition for interior design assignments, however, is also expected to be high as more and more individuals are attracted towards this occupation which combines art, creativity and profit.
As of 2006, the median salary for interior designers was $42,260, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since nearly one-third of all interior designers are self-employed, these figures can vary widely depending on such factors as the area of specialty, geographic location and the experience of the interior designer.