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Interior designer

Interior designers work with clients to create inside spaces that are functional and attractive. They help to plan the layout and decor of building interiors, and may work with contractors to bring their designs to life.

Average salary*

£18000

-

£45000

Typical hours per week

40 - 42

How to become an interior designer

There are several routes to becoming an interior designer. You could complete university or college course, an apprenticeship, or on-the-job training.   

You should explore these routes to becoming an interior designer to find out which one is right for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, some employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site, which will require you to have a valid CITB Health, safety and environment test.

University 

To become an interior designer you could complete a relevant foundation degree, higher national diploma (HND) or undergraduate degree, such as: 

  • Interior design 
  • Interior architecture 
  • Spatial design 
  • 3D design 
  • Art and design. 

You could also move into interior design after studying architecture, fine art, graphic design, or textile or furniture design. 

You'll need: 

  • 1 - 2 A levels, or equivalent (foundation degree or HND) 
  • 2 - 3 A levels, or equivalent (undergraduate degree).  

> Equivalent entry requirements explained 

> Find a university course 

> Funding advice 

College/training provider 

There are various college courses you could take to help you on your journey to becoming an interior designer, such as: 

  • Level 3 Diploma in Interior Design 
  • Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design 
  • A Level in Art and Design  

To enrol on these courses, you’ll need 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and an art or design subject.  

> Equivalent entry requirements explained 

> Find a course near you 

> Funding advice 

Apprenticeship 

There aren’t  many specific apprenticeships for interior designers. You could complete an advanced apprenticeship as a furniture design technician to help you get into the role, or train as an apprentice painter and decorator.

You may need GCSEs (including English and maths) or equivalent to do an entry level apprenticeship, but not all employers ask for formal qualifications.  

You’ll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.  

> Find an apprenticeship near you 

> Guide to apprenticeships 

Work 

If you can find work as a design assistant, your employer may support you to gain professional qualifications on the job, to help you become an interior designer. 

Work experience 

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as an interior designer. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV. 

> Find out more about work experience 

Skills  

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as interior designer include:  

  • Creative design skills 
  • Understanding of building and construction 
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Verbal communication skills 
  • Ability to work well under pressure 
  • Logical thinking skills 
  • Ability to use your initiative. 

What does an interior designer do?

As an interior designer, you will help to curate or renovate the inside spaces of buildings, so they are functional and aesthetically pleasing to your client. You may be recommending wall colours, lighting, fittings, furniture and fabric to enhance a space. Alternatively, you could oversee structural design elements within a room, such as in- built shelving, stairs, ceiling designs and more. 

The job role of an interior designer involves the following duties:  

  • Meeting clients to understand their requirements and budget 
  • Surveying, measuring and analysing how the project space will be used 
  • Considering colour schemes, materials and fabrics, fittings, decorations, furniture, and environment 
  • Developing sketches and mood boards for your client to approve 
  • Preparing detailed drawings and designs to suit clients’ needs, usually on a computer 
  • Sourcing suppliers of fittings, furniture and interior decorations and materials 
  • Working with fitters, electricians, painters and decorators, architects and other construction professionals to complete a project. 

How much could you earn as an interior designer?

The expected salary for an interior designer varies as you become more experienced. 

  • Newly trained interior designers can earn in the region of £18,000 
  • Experienced interior designers with some experience can earn up to £45,000* 
  • Self-employed interior designers set their own pay rates. 

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. 

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Jobs

Check out the latest interior designer vacancies:  

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come available. 

Career path and progression

As an interior designer, you could progress to work on larger, more high profile projects. 

You could choose to be employed and work as part of an established practice, or set yourself up as self-employed. 


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