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Furniture designer

Furniture designers produce designs for mass-produced furniture, furniture made in small batches or unique pieces.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £45,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll find it useful to have an HND, foundation degree or degree in a relevant subject like:

  • 3D design
  • spatial design
  • furniture technology
  • furniture and product design
  • furniture design and make

If you’re planning to work for yourself, you could develop your skills by taking a college course in upholstery or carpentry.

You’ll need a portfolio to showcase your design work to potential employers or customers. 

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Crafts Council is a useful resource for designers and makers.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • creativity and practical ability
  • drawing skills
  • knowledge of computer design software

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • carrying out research to develop ideas
  • working to a 'brief' agreed with a client
  • producing new designs, or improving existing ones 
  • taking into account cost, practicality and availability of materials
  • preparing sketches of initial ideas, by hand or using computer software
  • testing ideas using models, prototypes and computer aided design (CAD)
  • preparing more detailed final designs 

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: £25,000 or more

Highly Experienced: £45,000 (senior designer)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may need to be flexible about your working hours, especially when you have deadlines to meet. If you’re self-employed you may work longer hours to meet customers' needs.

You’ll spend a lot of your time in a studio, but may travel to visit clients and suppliers, and to attend meetings and trade shows.

If you're employed by a company, you may be part of a design team. As a self-employed designer, you’ll have your own workshop or studio, or share premises with other designers.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a more senior position, or into a specialised area, like ergonomics. 

You could also set up your own design consultancy.

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Last updated: 07 December 2016