We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Interior designer

BETATry an improved version of this page

  1. More about how to get into this career
  2. We've included current opportunities to help you with your next steps
Try it out

Interior designers plan and supervise the design and decoration of the inside of buildings.

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 need a high level of design skill.

Completing a higher education course in an art or design-related subject will help. Related subjects include fine art, 3D design, spatial design and interior architecture. 

You could also begin work as a design assistant and work your way up. To get work as a design assistant, you’ll usually need a college course in interior design.

Paid or unpaid work experience can give you the chance to develop your portfolio (examples of your design work), make contacts and impress potential employers.

The British Institute of Interior Design and Creative Choices have more information on careers in interior design.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • practical skills
  • excellent organisational and project-management skills
  • drawing, computer-aided design (CAD) and model-making skills
  • the ability to work out costs and keep to budgets
  • business skills if self-employed

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • meeting clients to discuss their requirements and ideas
  • developing designs to suit clients' needs, their budget and the type of building
  • preparing initial sketches for the client to approve
  • advising on colour schemes, fabrics, fittings and furniture
  • working out costs and preparing estimates
  • creating detailed drawings from the initial sketches, usually on a computer
  • finding fittings, furniture, fabrics, and wall and floor coverings

You may also recommend or hire people to carry out work on site, and supervise their progress.

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £23,000

Experienced: £25,000 and £40,000

Highly Experienced: £45,000 or more (senior designer)

Freelance designers set their own rates. Creative directors can earn up to £75,000 or more. 

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may need to work long and irregular hours, which could include evenings and weekends.

You’ll usually be based in a studio, but you'll spend a lot of time visiting clients and sites. If freelance, you may work from home, share offices or rent a studio.

6. Career path and progression

You could move into related work like theatre set design, visual merchandising or exhibition design.

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 02 April 2018