Interior Design

Are you the type of person who walks into a room, and immediately envisions what you could do to make it more pleasing to the eye?

Do you frequently rearrange your furniture, or insist on having your home decorated with the latest styles and home interior trends?

If so, then a career in interior design may be an excellent choice.

But what, exactly, does an interior designer do?

An interior designer is responsible for taking a space inside a residential or commercial area, and choosing a design which will turn that space into a usable, attractive area. In order to achieve this goal, an interior designer must be able to work with the property owner to develop a concept and then bring that idea to fruition.

Interior design did not become an important factor in residential and commercial building until the early 19th century,when homemakers decided to “spruce up” the insides of their homes. Prior to that, buildings were planned and constructed without much prior thought to how they would look on the inside or whether they would be attractive to guests.

Now, interior designers are in high demand, as both residential and commercial customers strive to make their interiors more appealing to those who visit them.

Education Requirements

While it is true that some people just have a natural ability to know what looks good inside a home or office, obtaining an official degree in interior design can go a long way in helping to solidify those skills while building valuable contacts and resources.

While some community colleges and trade/technical schools offer associate degree programs in interior design that can be completed in two years, the gold standard for the industry is an undergraduate degree, which takes four years to earn.

In a typical undergraduate degree program, students can expect to learn how to use technology associated with interior design, as well as creative ways to add life to any work space or home.

Courses that often are included as part of a bachelor degree include, but are not limited to: computerized design, computer-aided drafting,residential/commercial/institutional design, building and safety codes, lighting and textiles, sustainable building practices, environmental design and materials and specifications.

Some programs also offer a master of fine arts degree in interior design, which will take an additional two to three years beyond a bachelor degree to complete. Typical courses taught in this graduate-level program focus on sustainability and social aspects of interior design, as well as management skills that would allow degree holders to pursue management positions within large interior design agencies.

Master degree holders also are eligible to sit for the National Council of Interior Design Qualification exam, which is the professional licensing program for interior designers. According to the American Society of Interior Designers, 26 states currently require interior designers to receive licensure before they are permitted to practice. In addition, most cities and counties also require interior designers to be licensed before they can obtain required permits to conduct their work. It is best to check with your state, city or county before beginning to work as an interior designer to make sure you are meeting all licensing laws. Information about each state which requires licensure also can be found on the society’s website.

Future Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for interior designers is expected to grow by 19 percent until 2020, which is slightly faster than other occupations.

The average annual salary for interior designers is $46,280, with top-tier earners making as much as $84,000.

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