Inside Interior Designer Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Changing Home Design...
I was surprised at how I can go into a home and make someone feel completly different about where they live by changing the interior" (Craft Artist/Designer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Interior Design at FAU in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Learning The Basics...
I was surprised there's more to interior designing than I thought. You have to learn the basics, from fabrics to colors." (Interior Design; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Diablo Valley College in California; completed Associate degree in 2011

"How Much We Spend...
It's surprising to know that when working in Interior Design, the color scheme that your clients want for there home doesn't always go. The amount of money someone will spend on things that feel tacky or trashy to you, I what they love." (Interior Designer; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Art Institution Of Charlotte in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2004

"The Effect Of Design...
I was surprised to learn how much the design of well or poorly functioning spaces really effects people. I learned that a majority of people do not understand how much design effects their lives and most do not have the ability to visualize what a designer can see. People are surprised that design can help them function better in spaces physically and can have an incredible mental impact as well." (Interior Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, female
School: Studied Interior Design at University Of New Haven in Connecticut; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"It Takes Longer Than You Think To Be A Designer...
I was surprised at how long it took to even get a chance to do any real design work for a client. You are expected to work in the fabric room and under a designer for several years before you are able to move up and interact with clients." (Interior Design; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Cal State University Long Beach in California; completed Bachelor degree in 1995

"Interior Design Is Not Just Picking Paint Colors...
Many people would be surprised by how little design you actually get to do in this profession. Most of what I do is client relations, vendor relations, following up on orders for clients, and solving problems with orders." (Interior Designer; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Seminole State College in Florida; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Large Variety Of Project Types For Interior Designers To Explore...
First students would be surprised to know Interior Decorating and Interior Design are two different things. If one wants to decorate then the field of design and architecture is not for you. Students would also be surprised to know that there are many avenues to take with the career of an interior designer. First, there is the path choice of residential vs. contract design. I myself have worked in both but primarily in contract. Within contract design a designer has many choices on what type of design to specialize in. A designer can specialize in healthcare, corporate, hospitality, historic preservation, institutional design or performing arts." (Interior Designer; 2014)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Interior Design at BGSU in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2000

"People Skills Are Crucial...
I am most surprised that I have to work with others so often. The skills I learned working with teams in school have given me my best skills." (Industrial Design; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Industrial Design at The University Of Kansas in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"The Chain Has Broken, Grow And Luster Advance...
There are so many readily available opportunities for designers to network, market, and grow there business today. Not only can the necessary materials be done easily by just the owner, but with technology and shared vision, there are simply no limits, astonishing" (Designer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Design at Lincoln College in Florida; completed Diploma degree in 2011

"Less Job Opportunities For Someone With An Interior Designer Certificate Than You Might Think...
I was surprised that the certificate issued to me upon completion of the program did not qualify me for a lot of interior design jobs that are available. The certificate is not as widely accepted as the program had lead me to believe." (Interior Designer; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, female
School: Studied Interior Design at The Art Institute Of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2006

"More Selling Than Creativity Involved...
I think most people would be surprised to find the extent to which interior design has more to do with selling than creativity. My more creative outlet comes when I "moonlight" as a visual merchandiser. Much more creative than interior design." (Interior Designer; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Miami Dade College in Florida; completed Associate degree in 1973

"Need To Connect With Clients...
I was surprised by how much one on one time you spend with your clients. This job is very extroverted. You have to be a people person because their is always another person that will scoop up the client if they are not happy with you. I was also surprised by how few jobs are currently available in this area. Ever since the recession began fewer and fewer people are paying to have their homes designed by professionals." (Interior Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Interior Design And Architecture at Academy Of Art University in California; completed Associate degree in 2008

"It surprises me how much Interior Design can help people. How a certain environment, color or even a comfortable chair can uplift a mood or inspire feeling. I felt a bit shallow going into the field but it truly is important and improves lives." (Interior Designer; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, female
School: Studied Interior Design at Johnson County Community College in Kansas; completed Associate degree in 2012

Career Background

Interior Designer

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Focus On Behind The Scenes Of Interior Design...
In order to be a successful designer, it helps to work within a design firm and see what design area you enjoy the most. Design can encompass residential, commercial, healthcare, and hospitality among other avenues. Be open to the different tasks you are asked to do, as you will spend a lot of time working on other things besides design." (Interior Designer; 2014)

"Designers Finding Their Stride The First Years Out Of College...
For a new interior designer just out of school, I would let the new designer know that it may take several projects and project types before they find their niche in design. It can be frustrating in the beginning, drafting in CAD or BIM, learning building code, understanding architecture and design principals, passing the required exams, but if they stick with it, they will find their design stride and possibly their niche in design. I would also encourage them to try to find work at a large firm with a full set of consultants and also try to work at a small studio where they may have to take on more responsibility. Creative types thrive in different types of work environments, and just because the first job out of college may not have panned out, they may just have to try a different work environment." (Interior Designer; 2014)

"Work Hard Play Hard...
You have to have a lot of patience in order to achieve your goal." (Interior Design; 2014)

"Get An Internship In A Small Firm...
Becoming a designer is easier if you get a good internship in a small firm you graduate. In a small firm you can work one on one with a designer and learn faster." (Interior Design; 2014)

I would say that the customer is always right but that does not mean that they always know what they want or are doing." (Craft Artist/Designer; 2014)

"Always Have Several Good Quality Internship Options Available After Graduating...
Be sure you have several prestigious places you wish to do your internship with after you receive your certificate, you probably won't get your first choice and you must do a 2 year internship for your certificate to mean anything and for you to have any credibility as an trained interior designer. The quality of your internship will be the basis for your design career." (Interior Designer; 2013)

"Pay Attention...
When taking on this role of Interior designer, imagine who is buying from you and what they are buying form you. Always take class to improve your technique and skill. Pay attention the latest fashion craze. learn from your mistakes." (Interior Designer; 2013)

"Learn To Work With Others...
To be successful as an interior design it's important to listen well to better understand your clients as well as have good patience to work with those who need help." (Interior Designer; 2013)

"Be A Worker... a designer is like this "be yourself at large, then frame it beautiful" therefore the task at hand is to create a full portfolio of work when seeking to start in the industry. Even though you are eager to see the runway or showcase up close, be well rounded. Know your tastes so you won't clash with work environments and be bored or restricted to advance. Be able to refer to the owner of the company, the style, and currency value of venues. Be interested in getting an income for your business as well, be an affiliate" (Designer; 2013)

"Compromise Is Not A Bad Word...
It is crucial not to get caught up in ego. Be flexible and understand that compromise is not always defeat." (Industrial Design; 2013)

"A Glorified Furniture Salesperson...
For me, it was shocking to realize the extent to which an interior designer is basically a glorified furniture salesperson. The sooner you can come to terms with that, the more gratifying your overall career will be." (Interior Designer; 2013)