Interior Design Careers: Basic Info

Interior Design Careers involve working in conjunction with architects and their clients to create a functional, attractive living space - whether for spaces industrial, residential or commercial. The designer must be able to manage materials, budgetary concerns, planning and construction. Their position is as an artist, overseer, manager, consultant and engineer.

An interior designer is also referred to as an interior architect, because their job extends beyond simply finishing the inside of a building - but to how to interiors shape the building itself. As a result, an interior designer must be well-versed in graphic design, which means strong math and logistical skills. A keen eye for detail and sharp aesthetic sense is also important. A designer often works as part of a team, especially on large jobs. The designer must have excellent communications skills to cope with the demands of working with architects, shop fitters, builders, electricians, plumbers, decorators, furniture and materials providers, projects managers, etc. Increasingly, designers must have a thorough knowledge of computer design programs. This is often a faster method of drafting, and can be easily and quickly sent to all interested parties. 

A Day in the Life

A day might begin with a visit to a prospective new client. The client's work has either been sourced through the designer's company, or independently via networking. Designers are contract workers, and the details of their employment may have been finalized weeks or months before work commences. The meeting begins in their office, where ideas are thrown around, sketched and written down. The designer and client then visit a prospective site, which is currently in the early phases of construction. Here the designer meets others involved in the project - including architects, project managers, etc. They discuss ideas from the consultation, before going back to the on-site office and drafting them out in a more professional manner. The designer will examine blue-prints of the building's construction, make copies and take them back to their office. 

Here, they will work on the early ideas, drafting the designs up on a computer program, or by hand. Calculations will be made from initial measurements taken on-site, or from blueprints. The designer will make notes regarding particular problems that arise, and will troubleshoot the details with their client and site staff at a future date. The designer will be in constant communication with others involved in the construction of the building, whether by email, appointment or phone. The designer may be working on more than one project at a time, so simultaneously may be sourcing fabrics, furniture, etc. whilst drafting designs, while supervising the fitting of another project.


Depending on local regulations, it is possible to train as an interior designer at trade school, design school, or community college. Those interested in exterior architecture would do well to enroll at university. This will give you a greater depth of knowledge, and will open doors for you later in your career. Courses vary from 1 - 3 years. Ensure your course is accredited with the national Interior Design Association. Beyond ensuring your course is of high quality, this allows you to network, learn about industry trends and participate in professional development.

Designers' earnings fluctuate according to hours, experience and client requirements. As your portfolio and reputation within the industry grows, so too will your earnings.