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What Does an Interior Designer Do? Interior Designer Job Responsibilities

Considering a career in interior design and wondering what an interior designer does? Learn everything to know about the job before diving in. 

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Have you been thinking about hiring a professional interior designer? Or maybe you have been considering becoming one yourself.

Interior designers are more sought-after than ever: The market for interior designers and interior decorators has been growing since 2018; the industry has seen a major increase in the U.S. alone in the last five years. 

Whether you are seeking out an interior designer or trying to dip your toes into the industry, there is plenty to learn about the profession and the everyday tasks and duties that designers have on their plates. 

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What Are the Basics of an Interior Design Career?

In short, an interior designer’s main job is to make an interior space beautiful and functional and match a client’s vision for their apartment, home, or business.

Interior design professionals consider multiple elements when trying to enhance the aesthetics of a space. They often focus on determining the amount of open space they are working with or selecting decor that will match the room’s lighting, color scheme, and design.

Interior design comes with its own unique requirements. An integral part of being an interior designer is their ability to construct, read, and make edits upon blueprints for new builds.

They need to be up to date on building codes, decorate in a way that meets inspection regulations, and own up to specific standards when it comes to accessibility. As a homeowner, keep this in mind when you are thinking about hiring a designer — they should be more than qualified to upgrade your space.

Types of Interior Designers

People with interior design qualifications can use their skills in multiple ways.

Here are four of the many types of interior designers: 

  • Corporate Designers offer design services in professional work environments, usually working on larger design plans.

  • Healthcare Designers create or help to renovate different healthcare facilities, such as clinics and hospitals.

  • Kitchen and Bath Designers specifically focus on creating spaces in kitchens and bathrooms. Most people think of these functional spaces when they hear interior design.

  • Universal Designers focus on space planning that is more accessible to all, including those with disabilities. A universal designer works to meet accessibility standards and meet a client’s needs with a beautiful space.

Do Interior Designers Need a Degree? 

A number of states do not require any sort of bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or master’s degree for people to work in the interior design industry. For example, to register with the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, you must have an AA degree before taking the three-part test. 

On the other hand, some states have laws that require you to have certain qualifications and certifications to hold the job title of an interior designer. So, make sure you check your state’s rules on this subject if you’re thinking about becoming an interior designer. 

What’s Involved in Interior Design Work?

There is a long list of other tasks that interior designers often handle. Here are some of the projects that you can expect an interior designer to take on: 

Gathering New Design Projects

Being an interior designer involves seeking out potential clients with spaces to revamp and recreate. Networking like this could mean searching for clientele needing their skills or bidding on certain types of projects. 

Meeting Their Client’s Goals

Each job in interior design carries different expectations depending on what the client is looking for. Some clients who recruit your interior design firm or work with you individually may want to achieve a look that requires you to embody the traits of maximalism or any other type of decor style. 

Considering Use of Space

One of the interior designer’s most important tasks is ensuring that their client and their guests can navigate a room comfortably. 

Sketching and Creating Layouts and Design Elements

Designers will want to make it as easy as possible for their clients to visualize the view they have for their upgraded interior. So, creating sketches — like those that include electrical layouts and other key aspects of a room’s design — is of great importance. Using interior design programs for computer-aided design can be indispensable here.

The list above is merely a small glimpse into the interior designer position — there are even more intricate parts of the job that require some deeper attention to detail.

What Else Goes Into an Interior Design Project?

While the aspects of an interior design career mentioned above are important, these are some of the more hands-on and intricate tasks that interior designers may perform during the design process:

Gather Specific Materials and Fixtures

Once interior designers have created a general layout of what the space is going to look like, perhaps after some sketching, they’ll have to go out and search for furniture, flooring, lighting fixtures, and other design elements.

When looking for these pieces, a designer always keeps in mind how people will move through the room while also trying to meet the client’s specific wants and needs. 

Creating a Budget and Project Timeline

Professional interior designers often have a specific time frame for a project. In addition to keeping on schedule, designers have to stick to a budget and follow project management best practices. Using a great budget and project management software helps simplify this process.

Give Orders and Oversee Installations

After selecting decor and design elements for a space, designers take on the responsibility of ordering pieces and fixtures and checking that they are installed correctly. A designer often stays hands-on during the installation process to ensure their client is happy with the finished product.

Coordinate With Construction Workers and Building Contractors

If a designer’s project requires a lot of construction, they keep in close contact with those working on the space. That way, all the intricate details of the project come out as expected, and the client is satisfied with the outcome.

Make Sure the Client Is Happy With the Finished Job

Most importantly, when decor and construction are complete, interior designers work hard to make sure their clients are happy. In some cases, a designer will make revisions and adjustments to the layout of a room so that their client loves their space. So much of being a good interior designer relies on effective communication skills and diplomacy throughout these important conversations.

Final (Design) Notes

Full-time or even part-time interior design is a wonderful career with opportunities for unique and fulfilling work.

Designers work to create, add to, and alter interiors, matching a client’s vision for their space. Not only do interior designers work with clients, but they also interact with architects, creating blueprints and mockups of a space using design software, coordinating with those installing pieces of furniture and fixtures that they have ordered, and so much more. 

Photo Credit: (Left) ELLE Decor


How to Become an Interior Designer | Fairfield University

What Interior Designers Do | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Interior design employment growth highest in 5 years, per most recent data | MultiBriefs

Decorating 101 - Interior Design Basics | The Spruce

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Date Posted
February 9, 2023



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