Interior Designer Career Information
What an Interior Designer does
If you wish to become an interior designer, you need to know that interior designing is not the same as interior decoration. The former is all about intelligent and aesthetic use of space. Interior Designers work with engineers, illustrators, administrators and the likes. Good designers pay attention to style as well as function. To be successful in this field you need to be creative.
As an interior designer you will not just design the space but also plan, develop and execute the site. Once that is done you will also design furniture pieces. Your work will focus on researching, planning, developing and implementing designs for indoor environments, such as living rooms or office lobbies. The space designed will have to be beautiful and functional as well.
Interior decoration on the other hand, is a less tedious process. Here all you have to do is select readymade furniture pieces to suit the space and fit it in. Most interior decorators are not academically trained.
For now, let's stick to Interior Design. Apart from having a strong design sense you also need to be fully aware of what your client wants. As an interior designer, you will often work within tight budget constraints and close deadlines. Making innumerable blueprints of your ideas will be a part of your job as an interior designer.
In addition to structuring space and drawing blueprints, you'll also be responsible for choosing furniture, carpeting, paint and fixtures. It also includes preparing tender documents, selecting and entrusting the work to suitable contractors, supervising, checking, certifying bills, etc. If you want to become an interior designer, be prepared to break your head with the clients, contractors, electricians, plumbers etc.
Computer skills will come handy while preparing those innumerable blueprints. Most design fields, these days rely heavily on CAD (Computer Aided Design) and illustration programmes such as AutoCAD.
As an interior designer you could specialise in designing restaurants, private homes, office spaces, hospitals or hotels. Two new avenues related to interior designing - Vaastu Shastra and its Chinese counterpart Feng Shui have only made it richer. If you weave your designs around it, well then you have finally arrived!
Fresh from a design school, your first option is joining an interior designing firm to gain hands-on experience. Nothing can match the real experience you'll gain by actually working at a firm as an apprentice/assistant to an established interior designer. You will hone your skills here.
Once you gain experience (after 2-3 years) and confidence that you can handle a project all by yourself, you can branch out on your own.
As an interior designer, you can even work as a consultant in furnishing companies, stores, paint companies and in educational institutions.
But the real opportunity lies in setting up your own firm. Of course it is easier said than done, but once you establish a name for yourself work will just pour in.
Opportunities for Interior Designers are definitely on the rise. Plush interiors are no longer just the privilege of the rich and famous. With the increase in the average income of the middle and upper middle class Indian families, interior designing is fast becoming a done thing for homes.
The scope has only widened with increased awareness among the corporates to develop a very employee friendly office.
Abilities & Traits Required
• Artistic talent (creativity)
• Strong communication and listening skills (you have to listen to know exactly what your client wants)
• Good reasoning skills
• Excellent ability to visualise concepts (ability to think in 3-dimensional)
• Good commercial sense - you understand costs and are good at convincing people
Above all you have to be creative. A strong vocal chord is another essential criterion. It will come handy when you have to visit sites and scream your lungs out with the workers. As an interior designer, you will need loads of confidence and never let your client know that you aren't sure of something (that would amount to professional suicide).
A diploma or degree in Interior Designing/Furniture Design is a must. Graduation in Commercial Arts or BArch with specialisation in Interior Designing is a better option.
You could even opt for a diploma after HSC or after BFA or Architecture. A BSc in Interior Design is also possible.
Salaries range from Rs 20000-22000 or more per month for trainees. On an average a freelance designer makes at least Rs 40000 a month. The earnings grow with experience. A reputed designer can earn Rs 200000 a month or even more.
Consultants generally charge Rs 10 per square feet for drawings, or around 10-15 per cent of the total cost of the project. The latter goes for turnkey projects too. The contacts you make through networking will often lead to jobs down the line.