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Careers Advice

Inside the industry & how to start a career

Interior design is a popular career choice and not easy to get into. We are often asked for an insight into the industry as a designer- so we’ve based our advice on what’s most frequently asked.

What do interior designers do?

Everything to do with designing and fitting out interior spaces, whether public buildings, pubs and clubs, hotels, cruise ships, offices or private homes. Skills needed for public buildings tend to be more architectural, involving technical drawing and specification. Most work in private homes is more to do with decoration than design – fabrics, furnishings, furniture and lighting, but can sometimes involve designing and managing building alterations. Kitchen design and bathroom design are other specialist areas for interior designers.

How can I get into the design industry?

Decide on which segment of interior design interests you – are you drawn to technical design planning or detailed decoration? Your preferences will help you identify suitable employers to target. Entry is not easy so gaining qualifications and/or relevant experience before getting a design job is essential.

Experience: Try to get work experience within a design environment, or look for work within a design-led furnishing retailer, for example.

Qualifications: There are some good degree courses available and it’s something worth taking advice on. Talk to course tutors, careers advisors and past students before committing. There are also shorter courses – full-time, part-time and correspondence. These vary in quality, so check them carefully. Some qualified designers at Jane Clayton have gained relevant knowledge from the KLC interiors courses,

Background: Students planning to work in interior decoration usually have art, fine art, textiles or related disciplines somewhere in their background, often followed by an interior design degree. Those who are interested in the more architectural aspects of design will often have technical drawing, CAD and interior design. As for most skilled jobs, Maths and English skills should not be overlooked. Even in the best jobs, creative design work is likely to be accompanied by deadlines, problem solving and admin.

Tip: Take a lot of time and care when applying for interior design jobs. The ability to produce top class visual work is essential, so make sure all aspects of your CV and portfolio reflect this.

What sort of salary can I expect as an interior designer?

With a few notable exceptions, the chances are that as a designer you should not expect a salary wildly above average. For most, this is outweighed by the enjoyment of working in a creative and rewarding environment, within an industry you show a real interest and passion for.

Get further information from:

Institutes, such as the British Institute of Interior Design,
Directory listings, such as
Specialist agencies, such as