What does an Interior Designer do?
Interior Designers plan, design and coordinate the creation or renovation of the spaces we live and work in.
A skilled Interior Designer is able to produce an interior that is personalised to their client’s taste and serves a functional purpose. As an Interior Designer, you’ll consider elements such as safety, traffic flow, comfort and style in your designs.
Employment opportunities for Interior Designers include self-employment, working in a design or architectural consultancy, or collaborating with other building and design professionals in a business.
You may choose to develop your career in a particular field of interior design such as commercial interior design, industrial design, green (environmentally-friendly) and ergonomic design, or film set design and construction.
Daily tasks for an Interior Designer
An Interior Designer’s day-to-day tasks are varied and call for a blend of creative, technological and organisational skills. These duties may include:
- Meeting with clients and other tradespeople such as architects or builders to discuss the needs of the client.
- Developing designs according to a brief that are functional, appealing and appropriate for the space.
- Using design software (such as AutoCAD) to create models and visuals.
- Researching and preparing plans, diagrams or sketches for interior constructions, materials, finishes, lighting and furnishing.
- Selecting suppliers of materials and labour.
- Estimating costs and submitting quotes for client approval.
- Inspecting and supervising the work of tradespeople to ensure that quality and safety standards, costs and deadlines are met.
Learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need to succeed as an Interior Designer by reading our tips on how to become an Interior Designer.
A day in the life of an Interior Designer
Working hours of an Interior Designer
As an Interior Designer, you’ll need to be flexible about your working hours to accommodate your clients’ needs. You will need to be available to travel to the job site to consult with clients and tradespeople throughout the day and visit various suppliers to select and purchase materials such as furnishings, textiles and artwork. This could involve working outside of usual business hours, including weekends and evenings.
On average, a full-time Interior Designer works 43.8 hours per week (Job Outlook).
What is the difference between an Interior Decorator and an Interior Designer?
While interior design and interior decoration often go hand-in-hand, they are also distinct jobs that call for specific skills and knowledge.
An Interior Decorator generally works directly with the person who will be occupying the space, rather than building and architectural tradespeople. Interior Decorators need to understand a client’s individual taste and aesthetic requirements in order to dress an interior space with colour, lighting and furnishings.
An Interior Designer focuses on the planning and preparation of an interior space for effective use and visual appeal. This could include modifying the building structure and will usually involve working with a team of architects, builders, cabinet makers, or engineering consultants. Some Interior Designers choose to broaden their skillset to include interior decoration, or study a qualification that includes both design and decoration aspects so they can offer more services to a wider range of clients.