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Become An Interior Designer

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Working As An Interior Designer

  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • $47,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Interior Designer Do

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.


Interior designers typically do the following:

  • Search for and bid on new projects
  • Determine the client’s goals and requirements for the project
  • Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
  • Sketch preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts
  • Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures
  • Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
  • Place orders for materials and oversee the installation of the design elements
  • Conduct the construction administration of the project and coordinate with general building contractors to implement the plans and specifications to build the project
  • Visit the site after the project is complete, to ensure that the client is satisfied

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.

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How To Become An Interior Designer

Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design.


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.

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Interior Designer jobs

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Interior Designer Career Paths

Interior Designer
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Realtor Property Manager General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Design Director Creative Director
Creative Director & Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director
Design Director
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Delivery Driver Graphic Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Property Manager Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Production Manager Estimator
Estimating Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Maintenance Technician
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Maintenance Technician Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Operations Manager Property Manager
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Engineer Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Project Manager Owner/Operator
9 Yearsyrs
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Interior Designer Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • Arabic

  • Chinese

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

  • Korean

  • Portuguese

  • Japanese

  • Turkish

  • Hindi

  • Persian

  • Ukrainian

  • Armenian

  • Croatian

  • Swedish

  • Bosnian

  • Cantonese

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Interior Designer

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Interior Designer Education

Interior Designer

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Real Interior Designer Salaries

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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Top Skills for An Interior Designer


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Top Interior Designer Skills

  1. Custom Furniture
  2. Space Planning
  3. Auto CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Increased product line, custom furniture sales and consultation revenue.
  • Perform client interviews to identify project objectives, conduct field investigation, inventory evaluation, and space planning requirements.
  • Space planning, interior design, Furniture specification, construction drawings on Auto CAD.
  • Collaborate with architects on floor plans, room size, roof pitch, alterations and general flow issues of a home.
  • Honored with first campus Quarter One Customer Service Award in the Spring of 2005 for excellence in customer service to students.

Top Interior Designer Employers

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