How to become an Interior Designer

Interior designers design and supervise the construction or redevelopment of building interiors.

Personal requirements for an Interior Designer

  • Creative and artistic flair
  • Good at problem-solving and lateral thinking
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Aptitude for technical drawing and illustration

Education & Training for an Interior Designer

To become an interior designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in applied design, interior design, interior architecture or spatial design. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview and submit a folio of recent design work. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of an Interior Designer

Interior designers:

  • Speak to clients and architects to determine clients' needs and intentions, and to ensure safety requirements are met
  • Develop designs that are appropriate, functional and aesthetically pleasing
  • Prepare working drawings and specifications for interior construction, materials, finishes, space planning, lighting, furnishings and equipment
  • Estimate costs of materials, labour and time, and give estimates to clients for approval
  • Organise supplies and prepare detailed instructions for tradespeople
  • Inspect the work of suppliers and tradespeople, and maintain time, cost and quality controls
  • Work with specialists in technical areas concerned with fire, hydraulics, and mechanical, electrical and structural design, ensuring industry regulations are met
  • Prepare and administer tenders and contract documents
  • Re-design the interiors of old buildings and design furnishings to be made by cabinetmakers, antique furniture restorers and other tradespeople
  • Design exhibitions, commercial display stands or stage, film and television production sets.

Tasks

  • Preparing sketches, diagrams, illustrations and plans to communicate design concepts.
  • Researching and analysing spatial, functional, efficiency, safety and aesthetic requirements.
  • Formulating design concepts for building interiors.
  • Detailing and documenting selected design for construction.
  • Supervising the construction of interiors.
  • Selecting, specifying and recommending functional and aesthetic materials, furniture and products for interiors.
  • Negotiating design solutions with clients, management, suppliers and construction staff.
  • Determining the objectives and constraints of the design brief by consulting with clients and stakeholders.

Working conditions for an Interior Designer

Interior design requires an understanding of building construction, lighting, colour and furniture. Interior designers may work individually as consultants or with a design group. They visit clients in their homes and offices, and can often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They usually work for clients on an agreed fee basis.


Employment Opportunities for an Interior Designer

Interior designers can work on a wide range of projects, including residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and institutional developments such as schools and hospitals, as well as stage, film and television productions. Major employers include large construction firms, architects, some government departments and large retail stores. Opportunities also exist for self-employment as consultants. Competition for jobs is very strong. Initially, interior designers may look for work interstate or overseas where a wider range of experience is available.


Specializations

Interior Designer

Interior designers design and supervise the construction or redevelopment of building interiors.

  • Average age
    Average age
    38 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    76% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    45 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,155
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    69% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    14,000 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.8%
    NSW: 37.4%
    NT: 0.2%
    QLD: 14.8%
    SA: 5.4%
    TAS: 0.6%
    VIC: 31.3%
    WA: 8.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.2%
    20-24: 8%
    25-34: 31.1%
    35-44: 27.1%
    45-54: 20.1%
    55-59: 6.2%
    60-64: 4.1%
    65 and Over: 3.2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 27.4%
    Bachelor degree: 44.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 7.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 7.6%
    Year 10 and below: 2.5%
    Year 11: 1.5%
    Year 12: 8.9%
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