Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wall coverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for buildings.
- Determine the client’s goals and requirements of the project
- Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
- Sketch preliminary design plans
- Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall coverings, flooring, equipment, and artwork
- Prepare final plans using computer applications like “computer-aided design (CAD)”
- Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
- Oversee installing the design elements
- Search for and bid on new projects
- Work closely with architects, structural engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will look and be furnished
- Read blueprints and be aware of building codes and inspection regulations
Types of Interior Designers
- Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products such as bamboo or cork for floors.
- Universal designers renovate spaces to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people or people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone.
- 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.
- Lighting designers focus on the effect of lighting for home, office, or public spaces.
- Closet designers design closet space for homes to maximize storage and increase orderliness. They work with both fixed structures and stand-alone storage systems.
- Interior Designer: Interior Designers have the responsibility for coordinating and implementing all aspects of project design, space planning, fabric selection, drawings, and furniture specification, bill of materials presentation. Must be a team player and have a commitment to total client satisfaction. Excellent communication and organizational skills are required for this position. Knowledge of AutoCAD is essential.
- Assistant Designer: Assistant Designers work with the Designers as trainees. They have full client responsibility for in-store and in-home consultations, space planning, coordinating deliveries and installations, and generating referrals. They may also perform clerical duties such as answering phones and updating the resource library. Excellent drafting and AutoCAD skills are required for this position.
- Store Planner: These individuals are responsible for the development of fixture plan layouts for retail and support facilities. They are responsible for preliminary development of building elevations, signage, site and space plans for the stores. Candidate must have knowledge of space planning, interior design, and architecture. Must have excellent AutoCAD and presentation skills.
- AutoCAD Draftsperson: These individuals develop detailed drawings of floor plans, elevations, and perspective views. They also maintain the drawings and electronic files and price job packages. Must have excellent drawing and AutoCAD skills. Candidate should also be detail-oriented and technically minded for this position. Excellent communication skills are also required.
- Project Designer: These designers process and manage contract furniture projects including space planning, finish coordination, specification of furniture and furnishings, and completion of installation documents. They also participate in client meetings and presentations, so excellent communication skills are needed. Project Designers interact with end users, firms, and manufacturer representatives. AutoCAD skills are required.
- Space Planner: These individuals are responsible for the creation of architectural layouts and space planning. Must have excellent space planning skills and proficiency in AutoCAD.
- Senior Interior Designer: In addition to the requirements of an Interior Designer, these individuals have intensive communication with clients and other office staff to determine the needs and goals in each project. These include plan and elevation development, materials, appliance and fixture selection, and all other aspects of each project as needed. Excellent verbal, written, and people skills are a must. Must also have 3-5 years of experience, as well as extensive knowledge of AutoCAD. Must also be a team player, able to solve problems, and knowledge of interior design industry standards and resource.
- Assistant Project Manager: This position is responsible for projects from beginning to end. They will assist/attend meeting in a consulting capacity, coordinate documents between the architect and client, write equipment specifications, request pricing from manufacturers, create job proposals, request pricing from manufacturers, expedite purchase orders, coordinate and track equipment deliveries, and assist in AutoCAD drafting and library maintenance. Must have Microsoft Office and AutoCAD skills.
- Interior Design Director: These individuals are responsible for hiring, mentoring, and leading a design team. They also create and operate budgets within set goals, as well as regulate policies and procedures. Interior Design Directors also oversee the design department. This position requires 5 plus years of interior design experience. Also requires previous management or direction of a design team and ability to create a vision within the market. AutoCAD is also a requirement.
- Senior Project Manager: They are responsible for planning, coordinating and administering a large-scale interior design project and/or several small interior design projects. Must be a team player, a great communicator, and a qualified project representative in virtually all situations. May oversee the design/documentation of other staff. Senior Project Managers must have extensive experience in all areas of interior design and be able to work in all phases of a project’s development. Must have computer skills, including AutoCAD.
Interior designers usually work in the architectural, engineering, and related services industry. Some are employed in the construction industry. They also work for the furniture and home furnishings stores industry.
Many interior designers are self-employed, and some of these designers work from home. Technology has changed the way designers work. Most interior designers work full time. They may need to adjust their workday to suit their clients’ schedules and deadlines, meeting with clients during evening and weekend hours when necessary. Interior designers also travel to the clients’ design sites.