Interior designers consider the tastes, needs, and budget of their clients, and then prepare drawings and specifications to enhance the interior of homes, businesses, and public buildings. Most specialize in residential or business design, while others may further specialize in specific types of rooms. Their designs may include specifications for interior construction, furnishings, lighting, finishes, bookshelves, floor coverings, and many other aspects of an interior. Their designs must meet Federal, State, and local laws and codes, and public designs must include disabled and elderly access.
Interior designers must have well-developed artistic abilities and a desire to create. They need to have self-discipline, imagination, and persistence. It is also important for them to be able to work independently and to effectively communicate their ideas in written, verbal, and visual ways. Problem-solving skills are essential, as well as sharp business and sales ability for those who start their own business or do freelance work. Above all, a strong esthetic sense is the most important trait an interior designer can possess.
In 2002, interior designers earned a median annual salary of $39,180. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $21,240, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $69,640. The highest median annual salaries were found in architectural, engineering, and related services, and the lowest in furniture stores.
Training and Education
Unlike all other design professions, interior design is subject to governmental regulation. In 22 States and the District of Columbia, State governments register or license interior designers. In order to be eligible to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification examination, an applicant must possess at least 6 years of combined interior design education and experience, including at least 2 years of postsecondary education. A bachelor's degree in interior design can be very helpful, and is obtained by enrolling in a professional accreditation program certified by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research. For those interested in freelance work or business ownership, courses in business management, marketing, and art are recommended.
Out of the nearly 532,000 design jobs in 2002, about 60,000 people were employed as interior designers.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of interior designers is expected to increase about as fast as the average, due to a general rising demand for interior designs.