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Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations, as well as universal accessibility standards.Duties
Interior designers typically do the following:
Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will function, look, and be furnished. Interior designers read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations. For more information on structural engineers, see the profile on civil engineers. For more information on builders, see the profile on construction laborers and helpers.
Although some sketches or drawings may be freehand, most interior designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for the majority of their drawings. Throughout the design process, interior designers often will use building information modeling (BIM) software to create three-dimensional visualizations that include construction elements such as walls or roofs.
Many designers specialize in a particular type of building, such as homes, hospitals, or hotels; a specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens; or a specific style. Some designers work for home-furnishings stores, providing design services to help customers choose materials and furnishings.
Some interior designers produce designs, plans, and drawings for construction and installation. These may include construction and demolition plans, electrical layouts, and plans needed for building permits. Interior designers may draft the preliminary design into documents that could be as simple as sketches or as inclusive as construction documents, with schedules and attachments.
The following are examples of types of interior designers:
Healthcare designers use the evidence-design process in designing and renovating healthcare centers, clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and residential care facilities. They specialize in making design decisions based on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, residents, and the facility.
Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products, such as bamboo and cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Such certification indicates that a building and its interior space were designed with the use of sustainable concepts.
Universal designers renovate spaces in order to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people and people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entranceway without steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.
Kitchen and bath designers specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and have expert knowledge of the variety of cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions for these rooms.
Corporate designers create interior designs for professional workplaces from small office settings to large-scale corporations within high-rise buildings. They focus on creating spaces that are efficient, functional, and safe for employees. They may incorporate design elements that reflect a company’s brand in their designs.
Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design.Education
A bachelor’s degree is usually required, as are classes in interior design, drawing, and computer-aided design (CAD). A bachelor’s degree in any field is acceptable, and interior design programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation accredits more than 180 professional-level (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) interior design programs.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association accredits kitchen and bath design specialty programs (certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree levels) in 45 colleges and universities.
Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability for admission to interior design programs.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Licensure requirements vary by state. In some states, only licensed designers may do interior design work. In other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may do such work; however, only licensed designers may use the title “interior designer.” In still other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may call themselves interior designers and do interior design work.
In states where laws restrict the use of the title “interior designer,” only those who pass their state-approved exam, most commonly the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, may call themselves registered interior designers. Qualifications for eligibility to take the NCIDQ exam include a combination of education and experience. For example, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design and 2 years of experience.
California requires a different exam, administered by the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC). Qualifications for eligibility to take the CCIDC exam include a combination of education and experience.
Voluntary certification in an interior design specialty, such as healthcare interior design, allows designers to demonstrate expertise in a particular area of the occupation. Interior designers often specialize to distinguish the type of design work they do and to promote their expertise. Certifications usually are available through professional and trade associations and are independent from the NCIDQ licensing examination.Important Qualities
Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that are aesthetically pleasing.
Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.
Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and creating drawings, so that it can be used by other workers such as engineers or other designers.
Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.
Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of certain materials, while keeping the project on time and within budget.
Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness in order to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Interior Designer
Top Careers After Interior Designer
Hispanic or Latino10.1%
Black or African American0.6%
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Fashion Institute of Technology14.8%
Savannah College of Art and Design11.0%
New York School of Interior Design6.2%
Florida State University5.4%
Harrington College of Design5.2%
Michigan State University5.1%
Iowa State University4.3%
Art Institute of Pittsburgh4.2%
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising3.7%
Arizona State University3.7%
University of Alabama3.6%
Academy of Art University3.6%
Indiana University of Pennsylvania3.6%
Eastern Michigan University3.5%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.4%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro3.1%
West Virginia University3.0%
Northern Arizona University2.9%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Director, Exterior and Interior Design||Karma Automotive, LLC||Costa Mesa, CA||Jul 09, 2016||$225,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Unispace Inc.||Westwood, MA||Mar 05, 2016||$130,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.||Santa Monica, CA||Nov 16, 2015||$125,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Volkswagen of America||Santa Monica, CA||Jul 22, 2016||$115,000|
|SR. Interior Designer||Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.||Santa Monica, CA||Apr 06, 2015||$115,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Unispace Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 14, 2016||$110,000|
|Interior Designer||Martin Brudnizki Design Studio LLC||New York, NY||Nov 08, 2016||$110,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Inner View Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 29, 2016||$105,000|
|Interior Designer||Pierce Allen, Inc.||New York, NY||Jun 11, 2015||$100,000|
|Senior Interior Designer||Inner View Inc.||New York, NY||Apr 03, 2015||$100,000|
|Interior Designer||BKH New York Inc.||New York, NY||Feb 28, 2016||$100,000|
|SR. Interior Designer||Grand Performer Inc.||Orlando, FL||Sep 24, 2015||$100,000|
|Interior Architect, Designer||Cumar, Inc.||Everett, MA||Jan 09, 2016||$54,600|
|Interior Designer||Shakuff LLC||New York, NY||Sep 19, 2016||$54,262|
|Intermediate Interior Designer||Perkins Eastman Architects P.C.||New York, NY||Feb 11, 2015||$54,101|
|Interior Designer||Smart Space, LLC||New York, NY||Jun 12, 2015||$54,101|
|Manager of Interior Design||YT Resolution Services, LLC.||New York, NY||Jan 16, 2015||$54,101|
|Interior Designer||Seoul SHIK POOM, Inc.||Englewood, NJ||Oct 29, 2015||$54,101|
|Intermediate Interior Designer||Perkins Eastman Architects P.C.||New York, NY||Apr 14, 2016||$54,101|
|Senior Interior Designer||Gortaroe Construction of Ny, Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 22, 2015||$54,101|
|Interior Design Coord||R. Crowe P.A.||Wellington, FL||Dec 11, 2015||$44,907|
|Interior Designer||Avigail Eisenstadt Design Group LLC||Inwood, NY||Jan 05, 2016||$44,871|
|Interior Designer||Purchasing Partners, Inc.||Dunwoody, GA||May 09, 2016||$44,349|
|Interior Designer II||Pierre-YVES Rochon, Inc.||Chicago, IL||Jan 09, 2016||$44,290|
|Interior Designer||Callisonrtkl Inc.||Seattle, WA||May 02, 2016||$44,096|
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