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Working As a Furniture Designer

  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $90,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Furniture Designer Do

Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and the usability of products when developing new product concepts.

Duties

Industrial designers typically do the following:

  • Consult with clients to determine requirements for designs
  • Research the various ways a particular product might be used, and who will use it
  • Sketch out ideas or create renderings, which are images on paper or on a computer that provide a better visual of design ideas
  • Use computer software to develop virtual models of different designs
  • Create physical prototypes of their designs
  • Examine materials and manufacturing requirements to determine production costs
  • Work with other specialists such as mechanical engineers or manufacturers to evaluate whether their design concepts will fill needs at a reasonable cost
  • Evaluate product safety, appearance, and function to determine if a design is practical
  • Present designs and demonstrate prototypes to clients for approval

Some industrial designers focus on a particular product category. For example, some design medical equipment, or work on consumer electronics products, such as computers and smart phones. Other designers develop ideas for other products such as new bicycles, furniture, housewares, and snowboards. Self-employed designers have more flexibility in the product categories they work on. Designers who work for manufacturers help create the look and feel of a brand through their designs.

Industrial designers imagine how consumers might use a product and test different designs with consumers to see how each design looks and works. Industrial designers often work with engineers, production experts, and market research analysts to find out if their designs are feasible. They apply the input from their colleagues’ professional expertise to further develop their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with market research analysts to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.

Computers are a major tool for industrial designers. They use two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software to sketch ideas, because computers make it easy to make changes and show alternatives. Three-dimensional CAD software is increasingly being used by industrial designers as a tool to transform their two-dimensional designs into models with the help of three-dimensional printers. If they work for manufacturers, they also may use computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software to create specific machine-readable instructions that tell other machines exactly how to build the product.

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How To Become A Furniture Designer

A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. It is also important for industrial designers to have an electronic portfolio with examples of their best design projects.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. Most industrial design programs include courses that industrial designers need in design: drawing, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and three-dimensional modeling. Most programs will also include courses in business, industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods that industrial designers need when developing their design.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Many schools require successful completion of some basic art and design courses before entry into a bachelor’s degree program. Applicants also may need to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs by collecting examples of their designs from classroom projects, internships, or other experiences. Students can use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on contracts for work.

Some designers have a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree which helps further develop a designer’s business skills. These skills help designers understand how to fit their designs to meet the cost limitations a firm may have for the production of a given product.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Industrial designers use logic or reasoning skills to study consumers and recognize the need for new products.

Artistic ability. Industrial designers sketch their initial design ideas, which are used later to create prototypes. As such, designers must be able to express their design through illustration.

Computer skills. Industrial designers use computer-aided design software to develop their designs and create prototypes.

Creativity. Industrial designers must be innovative in their designs and the ways in which they integrate existing technologies into their new product.

Interpersonal skills. Industrial designers must develop cooperative working relationships with clients and colleagues who specialize in related disciplines.

Mechanical skills. Industrial designers must understand how products are engineered, at least for the types of products that they design.

Problem-solving skills. Industrial designers identify complex design problems such as the need, size, and cost of a product, anticipate production issues, develop alternatives, evaluate options, and implement solutions.

Advancement

Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools or in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios in addition to teaching. Some experienced designers open their own design firms.

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Average Yearly Salary
$90,000
Show Salaries
$64,000
Min 10%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$125,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Universal Furniture International
Highest Paying City
Hoboken, NJ
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Furniture Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Furniture Designer in the United States is $90,110 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $64,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

Real Furniture Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Furniture Designer Cambium Business Group Inc. Buena Park, CA Mar 01, 2011 $100,000
Furniture Designer Cambium Business Group, Inc. Buena Park, CA Mar 20, 2012 $100,000
Furniture Designer H. Thomas Keller & Assoc. LLC High Point, NC Mar 05, 2010 $77,000
Furniture Designer and Fabricator Bjork Carle Woodworking Inc. New York, NY Oct 15, 2007 $70,000
Master Furniture Designer and Prototype Maker NK Cabinets, Inc. CA May 04, 2009 $61,942
Project and Furniture Designer Intec Group, Inc. Fairfax, VA Jul 12, 2015 $60,000
Furniture Designer Thomas W. Newman Hoboken, NJ Mar 18, 2011 $60,000
Furniture Designer Lastrada Furniture and Interior Lauderhill, FL Mar 27, 2009 $60,000
Furniture Designer Anthony Lawrence of New York Inc. New York, NY Sep 02, 2014 $55,000
Furniture Designer Polo Ralph Lauren New York, NY Apr 12, 2010 $52,500
Master Furniture Designer and Prototype Maker NK Cabinets, Inc. CA Apr 07, 2010 $50,798 -
$52,885
Furniture Designer Universal Furniture International, Inc. High Point, NC Jul 09, 2016 $48,069
Furniture Designer A & J All Woodworks Los Angeles, CA Mar 04, 2008 $47,855
Furniture Designer S.I. Wood Furniture Corp. New York, NY Sep 25, 2010 $46,958
Furniture Designer S.I. Wood Furniture Corp. New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $46,958
Furniture Designer Fursys USA Inc. Fort Lee, NJ Sep 09, 2014 $45,914
Furniture Designer Fursys USA Inc. Fort Lee, NJ Sep 02, 2014 $45,914
Furniture Designer Fursys USA Inc. Fort Lee, NJ Sep 27, 2011 $45,000
Furniture Designer Olollo Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $45,000
Furniture Designer Spazio Washington LLC Washington, DC Oct 01, 2010 $44,000 -
$60,000
JR. Furniture Designer Blumenthal Distributing, Inc. Ontario, CA Jun 09, 2016 $44,000
Furniture Designer Capris Furniture Ocala, FL Apr 22, 2009 $43,785
Furniture Engineer and Designer Olollo, Inc. New York, NY Sep 17, 2013 $42,250
Furniture Designer Polkraft Builders Corporation Northbrook, IL Sep 19, 2012 $41,949
Furniture Designer Trendwell Inc. New York, NY Jun 01, 2013 $40,560
Junior Furniture Designer Blumenthal Distributing, Inc. Ontario, CA Sep 03, 2014 $40,000
Interior and Furniture Designer Polo Development Corp. New York, NY Oct 01, 2009 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Furniture Designer

  1. CAD
  2. Design Furniture
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared and presented final working drawings for manufacturing department using Auto CAD.
  • Design furniture based on the style of residences and businesses.
  • Received several customer service awards for job performance.
  • Develop space planning, design and presentations.
  • Originated and developed creative design concepts to create both functional yet aesthetically appealing spaces in both residential and commercial spaces.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Furniture Designers

  1. Washington
  2. Idaho
  3. Oregon
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Arizona
  7. Vermont
  8. Massachusetts
  9. New Jersey
  10. Nevada
  • (249 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (131 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (157 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (240 jobs)
  • (259 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)

Furniture Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

51.6%

Female

35.2%

Unknown

13.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Asian

11.2%

Black or African American

9.7%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

10.0%

Italian

6.7%

Portuguese

3.3%

Bulgarian

3.3%

Chinese

3.3%

German

3.3%

Romanian

3.3%

Mandarin

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Polish

3.3%

Korean

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%
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Furniture Designer Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

18.0%

Rhode Island School of Design

9.0%

Pratt Institute-Main

9.0%

Academy of Art University

7.9%

Arizona State University

5.6%

Auburn University

5.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.4%

New York School of Interior Design

3.4%

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

3.4%

University of North Texas

3.4%

Kendall College

3.4%

Fashion Institute of Technology

3.4%

San Diego State University

3.4%

Purdue University

3.4%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.4%

San Francisco State University

3.4%

University of Montana

2.2%

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

2.2%

Itawamba Community College

2.2%
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Majors

Graphic Design

24.1%

Interior Design

18.6%

Fine Arts

10.7%

Architecture

9.5%

Woodworking

8.5%

Business

7.3%

Drafting And Design

2.7%

Interior Architecture

2.7%

Marketing

2.4%

English

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.8%

Computer Applications

1.5%

Environmental Design

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.2%

Design And Visual Communication

0.9%

Nursing

0.9%

Computer Programming

0.9%

Education

0.9%

Project Management

0.9%

Industrial Engineering

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.5%

Other

18.7%

Masters

17.1%

Associate

8.4%

Certificate

3.7%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Updated May 19, 2020