All About Interior Design Career Options: What to Do with an Interior Design Degree
Interior design is both a creative and a practical field. You'll need both the left and the right brain to be successful. If you're thinking about getting your interior design degree, or you've already gotten one, it's time to learn all about interior design career options. Keep reading for four interesting career paths you could try.
Do you have an eye for style, placement, lighting, and textures? Do you ever enter a room and think about how and where you would rearrange things to fit a certain look or work with the overall design of a space? Are you a creative person who likes to collaborate and work with others?
If that sounds like you, an interior design career might be the perfect fit. An interior design degree opens up a wide variety of career paths that help you put your creative and practical mind to good use.
This article is all about interior design career paths available to you once you get an interior design degree. While “Interior Designer” is the most obvious, there are many other things you can do with this kind of degree.
Let’s get started!
1. Interior Designer
We will start with the most obvious option: an interior designer. Interior designer jobs require you to work with clients to bring their vision to life. This could be with certain rooms in their home, within office buildings, for events, or even weddings.
You’ll need knowledge of different design styles, architecture, budgeting, color, and more. Designing a room is more than that, though. You’ll need to meet with the client and be able to understand their wants and needs with the project. You’ll also need to keep them in the loop throughout the process by showing them design mock-ups, involving them in furniture and color choices, and more.
Interior designers also often take inspiration from art, the surrounding environment, seasons, and client ideas in order to create a room. This Boston tile company, for example, has an entire section of their portfolio dedicated to their inspirations for bathroom tile and design.
And as the famous interior designer Kelly Hoppen said, you need to, “Learn to look not just with your eyes but with your heart.”
Many interior designers have their own businesses, which requires a bit of entrepreneurship and business knowledge. You could also work for an agency of some kind or specialize in certain rooms working for construction and design companies.
2. Production Designer
Production designers are essentially interior design careers for those who love film, television, and theater. Instead of creating rooms based off of client wants and needs, you’ll instead need to design:
These things need to bring the movie, show, or play to life.
You may be responsible for the entire physical concept of a show from the set design to the locations you shoot at to the clothing that the actors wear.
If you’re the leader, then that means that you’ll be delegating these tasks to various teams in the art department, set design, costume designers, and makeup artists. This ensures the design and vision is throughout the show.
On the other hand, if you’re a lower level designer, you may be put in charge of one of these things like designing a specific room on set, finding background decor, choosing and finding furniture, etc.
People in this type of interior design career are usually freelancers that work on various projects for a contracted amount of time. As such, you’ll need a great work ethic and the drive to push yourself to find work and market yourself to potential employers.
You’ll also need excellent communication and leadership skills in order to properly communicate your ideas and plans to a large team. You’ll need to be comfortable directing others and delegating tasks; there’s no way that you’ll be able to do everything yourself on a huge movie set!
3. Furniture Designer
Taking things to a little bit more of a specific subset of design, you could become a furniture designer. Furniture designers can either start their own business or work for large companies that specialize in creating home and office furnishings.
This is a great option for those who like to work with their hands, pay attention to finer details, and create models.
Computer and drawing skills are imperative for all interior design career paths, but perhaps especially for furniture designers. This is because you’ll need to create schematics, scale models, and idea pitches and blueprints.
Many furniture designers also work closely with clients to create custom furniture pieces for both residential and commercial spaces. Many consider this an art form, which is great for the creative mind interior designers have.
Furniture designers also get to work with a variety of materials including wood, metal, textiles, fabrics, and more.
4. Exhibition Designer
Exhibition designers work with art galleries, libraries, museums, historical areas, stores, and other similar spaces. They work to create showcases and exhibits of products, documents, art, and more.
These designers create the layout, pedestals, tables, and the lighting of these exhibits in order to match the feeling of the art and the space while allowing people to view the exhibit in the best and easiest ways.
Most exhibition designers must be able to use computer programs to create 3D models that showcase their vision for the exhibit in order to show the client and to pitch their ideas. This takes knowledge of computers and an understanding of how to work with clients and artists.
Lighting is a large part of the job of an exhibition designer since this needs to not damage the art or historical pieces, but it needs to be bright and widespread enough to properly illuminate the exhibit.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Scott Kaiser and I own, manage, and operate Tiles Plus More, a store the specializes in tile supplies for design and real estate applications. I have over 20 years of experience working with tile and design of floors, walls, backsplash, and more. I also have ample experience with sales and owning/operating a business after running my own design and B2C based business since the early 90s.