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Career as an Interior Designer

Who is an Interior Designer?

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

What does an Interior Designer do?

Interior designers typically do the following:

  • Search for and bid on new projects

  • 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, including electrical layouts

  • Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures

  • Prepare final plans, using computer applications

  • Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs

  • Place orders for materials and oversee installing the design elements

  • Visit after the project to ensure that the client is satisfied

Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and builders, to determine how interior spaces will function, look, and be furnished. Interior designers read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

Although some sketches or drawings may be freehand, most interior designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for the majority of their drawings.

Many designers specialize in a particular type of building (home, hospital, or hotel), a specific room (bathroom or kitchen), or a specific style. Some designers work for home furnishings stores, providing design services to help customers choose materials and furnishings.

Some interior designers produce designs, plans, and drawings for construction and installation. This may include floor plans, electrical layouts, and plans needed for building permits. Interior designers may draft the preliminary design into documents that could be as simple as sketches or as inclusive as construction documents, with schedules and attachments.

Types of Interior Designer work:

Sustainable designers

Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products, such as bamboo and cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Such certification indicates that a building and its interior space was designed with the use of sustainable concepts.

Universal designers

Universal designers renovate spaces, to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people and people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entry without steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.

Kitchen and bath designers

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

Lighting designers focus on the effect of lighting for home, office, and public spaces. For example, lighting designers may work on stage productions, in gallery and museum spaces, and in healthcare facilities, to find appropriate light fixtures and lighting effects for each space.

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired –

  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.

  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • Interior designers are charged with creating spaces that are not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. These spaces must meet client requirements, as well as government regulatory requirements. As a designer, you are responsible for ensuring the success of a project, which means that you will have to have a wide body of knowledge.

Skills –

Interior designers need to have a wide body of knowledge in order to have a career as an interior designer. This body of knowledge includes things they need to know to be professional, as well as things they need to know about design.

Interior designers not only need to have design skills and knowledge, they also need to meet certain requirements, including certifications, business systems, and interpersonal skills.

  • Professional practice

  • Design

  • Products and materials

  • Interior construction, codes, and regulations

  • Communication

  • Human environment needs

Interior designers are charged with creating spaces that are not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. These spaces must meet client requirements, as well as government regulatory requirements. As a designer, you are responsible for ensuring the success of a project, which means that you will have to have a wide body of knowledge.

Technology Skills

  • Archicad

  • Autodesk Revit & 3D Max

  • Vectorworks

  • Live Home 3D

  • AutoCAD

  • Chief Architect

  • SketchUp

  • 3D Homeplanner

Abilities –

  • Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style, to develop designs that look great and are aesthetically pleasing.

  • Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.

  • Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and making drawings, so that furniture and furnishings will fit correctly and create the appropriate environment.

  • Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.

  • Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of selected materials, while keeping the project on time and within budget.

  • Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness, to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.

Personality –

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Education –

  • 4 year B.Des courses in Furniture, Textile, Ceramic & Glass Design

  • 2.5 year M.Des courses in Furniture, Textile, Ceramic & Glass and Lifestyle Accessory Design

  • 4 year BFA program in Interior Decoration

  • MBA in Interior Design and Management

  • 3 year B.Sc in Interior Design

  • 1 year Graduate Diploma in Interior Design

Interior design courses of a acceptable standard are offered at the following colleges-

  • IIFA Multimedia, Bangalore.

  • IIFA Lancaster Degree College , Bangalore.

  • Sai School of Interior Design, New Delhi.

  • IILM School of Design, Gurgon.

  • National Institute of Design (NID), Delhi.

  • Arch Academy of Design, Jaipur.

  • National Institute of Technology, Raipur.

  • Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore.

  • National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi.

  • Zee Institute of Creative Art (ZICA), Indore

Job outlook –

In India, depending on the employer and one's experience the salary, including bonuses and commission for assistant interior designers ranges between Rs. 30,000 to Rs.40,000 per month. For senior interior designers, the salary, including bonuses and commission is approximately Rs. 800,000 to Rs. 3,000,000 per annum.

Becoming an interior designer is not easy because the industry is closed. However, if you have the basic principles and the passion, you can become an interior designer. One way of entering the industry and creating a good impression with potential future employers is to get internships to gain real world knowledge. Between 2008 and 2018, the interior design employment was expected to grow from 19%-20% thus proving that the industry is growing.

Interior design does not have the structured career path or clear promotion-based approach found in many other industries. This is partly due to the very diverse nature of the design world and its liking for self-employment, but also because this is a creative industry. To a large extent, interior designers must make their own career – initiative, ambition, and individual skill and creativity are the key to success. Luck can be an important factor too.

Some features that affect the pay packet of an interior designer are regional differences, name, repute, experience and demand.

After gaining some experience, you can start up your own business. Self-employment is very profitable as when you become an established interior designer you can ask for the moon.

Top Companies

  • Work with top notch architects and architectural firms

  • Work with renowned builders

  • Hospitals and other medial facilities

  • Town and city planning bureaus

  • Hotels and health resorts

  • Design studios and exhibition organisers

  • Event management companies

  • Innumerable public and private sector establishments

YouTube Links for further reference:

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