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Career Advice

How to become an interior designer

How to become an interior designer?

Have you got an eye for fabulous furnishings?  Do you have a passion for pouffes or a love of light fittings?  Reckon you could turn your jobdescriptionsense for style into a lucrative and enjoyable career?-  Then this might just be the post for you.

First off it would be a good idea to pin down exactly what an interior designer is, well… An interior designer is someone who works in the design or renovation of internal spaces and is concerned with lighting, furnishings, layout, colour schemes and all other aspects associated with the look or functionality of a space.  They can work on a vast range of projects including domestic residences, retail spaces, offices, civic spaces and pretty much any other interior you can think of.

Day-to-day Work Activities

As you can imagine with such a large range of spaces to be catered for, the work of an interior designer is varied and rather dynamic.  Some of the things that you might be expected to carry-out on a daily basis are;

  • Undertaking examinations and surveys of project space

  • Liaising with clients to establish criteria, aims, timescales and costs

  • Assessing how much a project is likely to costs and negotiating a fee

  • Creating and maintaining a budget for each project

  • Presenting your plans and ideas to clients and adjusting your decisions based on their feedback

  • Creating sketches, designs, models and computer generated images as a reference guide and to communicate your vision to the client

  • Working as a member of a design team

  • Locating and purchasing products including soft furnishings, lighting, electronics, flooring etc. and providing samples to a client

  • Overseeing work on the project at all stages from beginning to completion

  • Making sure that you maintain a keen interest in changing interior design fashions, styles and trends.

Skills to be an interior designer

It goes without saying that in order to be a successful interior designer there are a number of skills and personal attributes that are of skillthe utmost importance. These include creativity, artistic vision and a demonstrable interest in and flair for interior design- some other skills which you may also find useful are;

  • Good drawing skills- this will allow you to create attractive and accurate representations of your ideas

  • Good IT skills- Much of the work of a modern interior designer is done through the use of computers.  You should be a person who is comfortable with using computers and able to adapt well when faced with new softwares

  • Interpersonal skills-  Being an interior designer requires regular communications with clients and co-workers so having the right disposition and attitude will be paramount to your success

  • Well organised-  An interior designer is required to handle a heavy workload and undertake a number of roles within their working day.  Being well organised will allow you to handle the pressures of such a workload and adapt quickly when problems arise

  • Meticulous and attentive to detail-  It is the small things which make up a large part of an interior designers job, so having a good eye for detail is extremely important

  • Outstanding communication skills- Remember that an interior designer is constantly trying to ‘sell’ their ideas to coworkers, managers and clients.

  • Being commercially minded-  An interior designer is also a business person so having

  • A clear understanding of the commercial side of the job works will be of good value

Qualifications needed

As with many of the roles we have features lately, a interior designer does not technically require any qualifications, however the general path which people follow into the career involves a significant level of formal education.

Most employers will request that you hold a decent degree in either interior design or architecture in order to be considered for a junior position.(Check out How to become an architect for more details)  A wide range of universities across the UK offer interior design as a BA course and entry requirements vary greatly between institutions depending on their reputation and number of applicants.  Generally 5 GCSE’s grade A*-C (including maths and english) and 3 solid A levels (often to include art/IT/design).

However it is important to point out that having a relevant degree is not the only thing that will be taken into consideration by potential employers.  As interior design is such a vast and varied role they will also try to assess a candidate’s personality, business sense, creativity, communication skills etc.  Previous experience will also be taken into consideration , in which case a relevant degree may not even be necessary if a candidate can demonstrate that they possess the skills required to carry out the activities of the role.  Therefore it is important that students and graduates do not rely solely on their academic qualifications but seek to gain extensive work experience in the field during and after their studies.

There you have it.  Our quick guide to becoming an interior designer.  If you still reckon it is the career for you, then best of luck- if not then why not take a look at some of the other guides in our career directory?



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