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What is Interior Design?
An interior designer constructs aesthetically pleasing environments using material, color, fabric, spacing, shelving and lighting in order to meet the needs of clients. Designers must be knowledgeable in multiple fields, including architecture, design, safety regulation, and art and must be able to keep pace with trends while remaining creative and distinct. Designers will collaborate with architects, electricians, contractors and landscapers in order to complete the designs to spec. Designers must also be able to read blueprints, know fire codes and regulations, and be knowledgeable of software relating to design.
A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required to begin apprenticing as an interior designer, though those with an associate's degree can work as assistants. Individuals will study a variety of topics during the four year that it typically takes to earn a bachelor's degree. Some individual's will also take on internship opportunities or seek employment during the course of their education in order to augment their studies with practical experience. Interior design requires an understanding of several different fields often reflected in a typical curriculum.
Interior design majors will have varied courses which may include:
- Furniture Design
- Spatial Planning
After graduating, designers will be able to pursue apprenticeships that may last between 1-3 years prior to a graduate practicing interior design. Most states require licensing and the exam is administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, requiring 6 years of combined education and experience and at least 2 years of post secondary education. Accreditation bodies for programs include the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
Employment Opportunities and Certification
Interior designers will work with architects to assist in the designing or remodeling of a space. This will be done based on client's desires and realized through a process of sketching and modeling utilizing a variety of mediums. An understanding of costs and planning is necessary to determine the length of time and materials necessary to realize the client's visions. The use of computer aided design (CAD) software is commonplace among interior designers and proficiency in its use is a requirement for success.
Individuals may specialize in a particular type of architecture and design, utilizing motifs from a particular time period to establish a style or mood. Others may specialize in a particular type of building or buildings, such as offices, hospitals or hotels. The variety of specializations available to interior designers is many, and allows for flexibility. Some may choose to be sustainable designers, focusing on efficiency of resources to maintain more environmentally friendly spaces, or may focus entirely on lighting and how such fixtures may affect the atmosphere of a room. Often times, such interior designers will work with one another, each focusing on his or her specialty in order to produce a final design.
Interior designers may pursue certifications to expand their area of expertise. Such certifications are generally available through trade or professional associations and demonstrate proficiency in a particular area of design, such as kitchens closets. Interior designers with such certification may find themselves in higher demand due to their ability to focus on a larger area of design. By earning such certifications and renewing them as needed individuals will be able to build client confidence, with successful designs in those areas adding to one's portfolio and increasing a demand for their work.
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
Work opportunities are available for interior designers and the field is expected to expand in the coming years as demand increases. Work environments will widely vary as locations for jobs will change. The average salary of an interior designer is approximately $45,000 per year. Entry level positions will start around $26,000. Interior design is a competitive profession requiring determination, skill, innovation and experience to progress and succeed.