Interior Designer: Duties & Salary

Interior DesignInterior design involves more than couches and color schemes. It goes beyond decorating and involves developing creative solutions to fulfill the intended purpose for a specific environment.

Duties of an interior designer
Interior designers plan, design, and furnish the interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. They do not design on a whim — their work must be both aesthetically pleasing and inherently practical. Many interior designers choose to specialize in a particular area of interior design, such as kitchen and bath, lighting, ergonomic design, or green design.

Where to find interior design jobs
About 26 percent of interior designers were self-employed in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Another 26 percent worked in specialized design services. The rest of the interior design jobs were found in architectural and landscape architectural services, furniture and home-furnishing stores, residential building construction companies, and building material and supplies dealers. Interior design jobs may also be done on a freelance basis.

Interior design programs
To snag an entry-level interior design job, your best bet is to secure a bachelor’s degree first. Interior design programs typically include courses in architecture, color and fabrics, computer-aided design, drawing, ergonomics, ethics, furniture design, perspective, psychology, and spatial planning. Make sure that the interior design program you’re considering is accredited by either the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or the National Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Then, once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree, you may complete a one- to three-year apprenticeship and become eligible to sit for your state licensing exam.

Demand for interior designers
Thanks in part to uber-popular home improvement TV shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Trading Spaces,” and “Design on a Dime,” demand for residential design services has taken off. In fact, employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19 percent by 2016, faster than average for all occupations, reports the BLS. Those with formal training as well as a strong blend of creativity and perseverance will experience the best job prospects. In May 2007, median annual earnings of salaried interior designers were $43,970.

Interior design forges a perfect marriage of fashion and function. As an interior designer, you can’t have one without the other.