An interior designer works with clients and contractors from a variety of fields to transform the interior space of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Whether decorating or completely remodeling, an interior designer takes the lead of a team that may include carpenters, architects, engineers and plumbers. An interior designer shoulders the ultimate responsibility of creating an interior environment that the client finds beautiful, functional and safe.
Unlike some other creative fields for which one's work may supersede the need for formal education, a bachelor's degree in a relevant field is standard for interior design. The need for a specialized degree is commensurate with the scope of a designer's responsibilities. In addition to an appealing aesthetic sensibility, an interior designer must possess expert knowledge of a wide range of practical design elements, including architecture, finishes, fabrics, furniture, lighting and paint, to name only a few. An interior designer must understand the business side of design, as well, and is expected to both capably estimate the cost of proposals submitted for client approval and orchestrate a collaborative effort with contractors from a wide range of disciplines. This requires knowledge of building codes, computer software, and excellent communication skills.
Many interior designers work for firms within the design services industry, while others are employed as staff members of architecture and engineering firms. Some designers prefer to specialize in any of a number of different sub-fields, such as industrial spaces, airports or kitchens. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, about 30% of interior designers were self-employed.
Interior Designer Tasks
- Estimate material requirements and costs, and present design to client for approval.
- Coordinate with other professionals, such as contractors, architects, engineers and plumbers.
- Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings.
- Subcontract fabrication, installation, and arrangement of carpeting, fixtures, accessories, draperies, paint and wall coverings, art work, furniture, and related items.