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How to become an interior designer
An Interior Designer At Work

What is the job?

So what is an Interior Designer? Well firstly - they are not the same as interior decorators! Interior designers use a range of design techniques to make the best visual and physical use of space; they plan and organise the design of commercial and domestic interiors such as offices, hotels, shops, public buildings, ships, aircraft and homes. In contrast, an interior decorators sole focus is the selection of furniture and finishes to create a consistent style within a space. The role of an Interior designer is more complex and will also usually involve the use of architectural software(s) and a working knowledge of the architectural/construction process.

Interior designers may specialise in residential or commercial interiors or both. Interior designers formulate designs which are intended to be practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or just improving life style within the home. Commercial contracts include hotels, restaurants, schools and universities, office buildings, factories and clubs. In addition to planning the interiors of new buildings, they may also redesign existing interior spaces. Interior designers in the United States earned a median annual salary of $50,000.

Training and qualifications

Training to become an interior designer can take from two to four years and is available from professional design schools, colleges and universities. One can earn an associate degree or certificate by attending a two to three-year program, or a bachelor's degree by attending a four-year program. 

Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, an interior designer would most likely begin a one to three-year apprenticeship program at a design or architecture firm and work under the supervision of an experienced interior designer before later taking on projects by themselves. 

A graduate with a certificate or associate degree would usually start his or her career as an assistant to an interior designer.

Developing your own portfolio while studying and during an internship or apprenticeship is also a vital part of progressing your career as an interior designer. For freelance work and during interviews for promotions or new jobs a quality portfolio of work will help you stand out from the crowd. 

Essential knowledge and skills

skills of an interior designer
The skills of an interior designer
If you want to become an interior design the key skills that you will need include...
  • Excellent communication skills in order to deal with colleagues, clients, suppliers and craftsmen.
  • Ability to use multiple softwares such as Auto Cad, Archi-Cad, Sketch-Up, Artlantis, PhotoShop etc in order to create plans and 3D visuals to present to a client or local authorities.
  • Strong creative skills matched with a desire to produce original designs. High level of organisation skills - managing finances, project timelines, suppliers deliveries, craftsmen, client objectives - potentially on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy, especially in creating plans and layouts which may need to meet building and safety regulations depending on the project.
  • Resourcefulness and problem solving to overcome issues arising such as unexpected costs, unavailable materials, missed deadlines, personality clashes or multiple other potential issues which can arise during a project.
  • Ability to work as part of a team or as a team leader.

Typical Workday Activities:

A day in the life of an interior designer.
A day in the life of an interior designer
A typical day in the life of an interior designer may include the following activities...

  • Establishing what the client wants to achieve and the budget available for the project.
  • Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space.
  • Developing initial ideas and concepts through sketching preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts.
  • Producing designs using hand drawings and computer-aided design (CAD), showing how the spaces inside the building will be organised, constructed and finished.
  • Ensuring all proposals comply with the relevant regulations.
  • Producing detailed drawings for the contractors to use once proposal is accepted.
  • Detailing to scale the construction and finish of all areas of the project and writing specification of works including schedules for finishes, ironmongery and equipment.
  • Preparing tender documents where necessary for the construction work.
  • Visiting the site to check progress and inspect the work.
  • Project managing for the client where required, to ensure the project is constructed and finished to suit the proposals and to keep control of design issues which may arise on site.
  • Working closely with other construction professionals such as architects, quantity surveyors, structural engineers etc.
  • Searching for and bidding on new projects.
  • Specifying materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Creating timelines for the interior design project and estimate project costs
  • Placing orders for materials and oversee the installation of the design elements.
  • Conduct the construction administration of the project and coordinate with general building contractors to implement the plans and specifications to build the project
  • Visiting the site during the project, to ensure progress is being made in accordance with agreed timelines and plans are being adhered to.

Typical career routes

The job tends to be divided into various levels of seniority, based mostly on experience. As a general rule, the greater the seniority, the more responsibility the designer will have for the overall project.

Environment - Large design firms may have the resources for a more comfortable work environment and state-of-the-art equipment. They also have established connections with related firms and specialists. This can be an important consideration for anyone starting an interior design career.
Clients - If you are self-employed, you may have more say in which jobs you take; however, you are responsible for finding your own clients and connections.

Many interior designers are self-employed or do contract work on top of their jobs at design firms. When deciding where you want to work, you must evaluate the risks and rewards for yourself.
Work Hours - If you are self-employed or work for a small firm, you are more likely to work flexible hours as you adjust your schedule around your clients' needs and deadlines. If you start your interior design career in a large design firm, you will probably have more predictable hours.

Specialist Areas:

interior design career specialists
Many interior designers will specialise in a particular field

As your interior design career progresses, you may discover a preference for one type of interior design over another. You can specialize in designing for corporate settings, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals or other health care facilities, or you may decide to focus on residential design. You may even narrow your focus further to kitchens or bathrooms, for example. If you like choosing colors and fabrics, but would rather not handle the nitty-gritty details, such as safety codes, you may want to be an interior decorator rather than an interior designer. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, interior decorating is less technical than interior design.

Whether you prefer sticking to one interior design style that fits you perfectly, or you want to switch things up now and then, an interior design career gives you many options. Choose from the following types of interior design...
  • Corporate Interior Design - Design ergonomic and efficient work spaces that will project the right image for a company. They focus on creating spaces that are efficient, functional, and safe for employees. They may incorporate design elements that reflect a company’s brand in their designs.
  • Bathroom Design - Help your clients get the bathrooms of their dreams with designs that are elegant and restful as well as functional. You will need expert knowledge of the variety of relevant cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions.
  • Exhibit Design - Create exhibits for clients ranging from art galleries to zoos, or help companies design exhibits for tradeshows and showrooms.
  • Feng Shui Interior Design - Use the principles of Feng Shui to get the energy flowing and create balance in an environment.
  • Green Interior Design - Develop expertise in designing spaces using products and methods that are environmentally friendly. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design 
  • Health Care Interior Design - Help make health care centers such as hospitals, cancer centers, drug treatment centers, nursing homes, social services providers, doctors' offices, dental offices, etc. more efficient and welcoming through interior design.
  • Hotel Interior Design - Create inviting spaces for the hotel industry while considering several important factors such as: comfort, function, aesthetic appeal, concept and budget.
  • Japanese and Asian Interior Design - Bring the graceful, uncluttered aesthetic of Japanese and Asian interior design to clients in any geographic location.
  • Kitchen Design - Give your clients the kitchen they've always wanted. Develop expertise on appliances and efficient kitchen design.
  • Modern Interior Design - Incorporate the sleek look and practical principles of modern design into your work.
  • Residential Interior Design - Work with clients to improve the form and function of their living spaces, while helping them define and reflect their personal style.
  • Restaurant Interior Design - Develop design concepts that will contribute to positive customer experiences and the success of restaurant businesses.
  • Set Design - Use your design skills to work in film, television or theater.
  • Zen Interior Design - Create beautiful interior spaces using the minimalist style of Zen interior design.
  • Universal designers renovate spaces in order to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people and people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone.

*If you enjoyed this article you may also find our interior design process, interior design styles and design presentation boards

Free Website Templates
Sample of the free website templates available

If you are looking for free website templates then you have come to the right place. We have scoured the internet looking for the best totally free, website templates, including fully HTML5 templates, responsive template, animated templates, parallax scrolling templates, templates with bootstrap and much more. So whether it is a simple one column website template you need or a fully responsive business template with eCommerce capabilities you can find it here. Of course all there website templates will require knowledge of HTML and CSS so if you need to brush up on that first then click on the links to learn more.

We have also ranked the providers by stars to give you an idea of both how good we rate the quality of their templates, the ease of use of the website, range of website templates available, design and visual appeal of templates, live demo of templates etc.

How to make your website load faster
Although it is unlikely you will make it to a perfect score the tips below can help you get in the green for page speed

As far back as 2010 Google admitted it uses a web pages loading speed as part of it's ranking algorithm and as the mobile web has grown so has the importance of a website's loading speed. So with that said let's get to the point. Here are my top tips to speed up your web pages...

vector or bitmap graphics
Vector or Bitmap? What is the difference?

Bitmap/Raster graphics and vector graphics are the two main types of image files used in the world of graphic design. People often struggle to understand the difference between vector and bitmap graphics despite the fact that they are very different file types. Both of file types have their advantages, and equally they have their disadvantages so it's important to know the difference between the vector and bitmap so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your design project. Let's start with the definition of each so we know the basics first and your decision of bitmap or vector might be a little bit easier.

Search Engine Optimisation for websites
Search Engine Optimisation for websites

The role of  SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is to optimise a website to make it as visible as possible to internet search engines, in order to increase their rankings, maximise traffic to them and therefore increase their revenue through sales or advertising.

Search engines, especially Google, are very reluctant to reveal how their algorithms work so it is impossible to specify exactly how to optimise a website's search engine performance perfectly, however there are still some tools and techniques which are known to improve a website's visibility to search engines. It is these SEO tools and techniques that are discussed here.

black and white photo colourised before and after
The photo before and after it is colourised

This article will teach you how to colourise a black and white photo using Photoshop in 7 simple steps. Some amazing results can be achieved using this relatively simple colourisation process. You can turn relatively dull black and white photographs into stunning full colour images in just a few minutes.

So let's get started colorising your black and white photos now!

first person shooter game in ue4
A screen shot from the completed FPS game in UE4

This series aims to guide you through the process of creating a first person shooter game using 10 specifically created tutorials, each focusing on a different aspect of designing and creating the game.

The series was created by Nathan Hill, Dylan McGrath and Philip Evans. The game itself is available for download here

This video series is a follow up and update on our previously created text tutorial series available here.

You can watch all the tutorials in the playlist right here (below) or go to our YouTube channel

Create an FPS game in Unreal Engine (UE4)

Different Furniture Styles
Can You Identify These Different Furniture Styles...?
Furniture design has been a part of the human experience since the beginning of history and as such there are a vast array of furniture styles that have developed over time. Some have faded away and can now be only found as antique furniture but other furniture styles live on through reproductions in that style. The fact that some furniture styles are still reproduced and mimicked is testament to the quality and style of that furniture that it is still in demand today.

It can be very difficult to differentiate between these styles though and you may have heard phrases like a "Queen Anne Chair", a "Shaker Kitchen" or "Bauhaus Nesting Tables" without being able to visualise what that actually looked like. Well that is where this article comes in handy as we will list all the main furniture design styles and outline their identifying features so you can tell your Art Nouveau from your Arts and Crafts!

This article outlines the following furniture design styles ...

Egyptian Furniture

Egyptian Style Furniture
Egyptian Style Furniture

When we think of Egyptian furniture we imagine the intricate gold gilded ornate furniture found in the tombs of the Pharaohs as opposed to the simple chairs, tables and baskets of the ordinary Egyptians.

The identifying features of ancient Egyptian furniture are...

  • beech wood and mahogany 
  • ornate designs using different colors 
  • depicting animals, gods and goddesses 
  • gold gilding and inlays 
  • mosaic designs 
  • mother-of-pearl inlays

Greek Furniture

Greek Style Furniture
Greek Style Furniture

Ancient Greek furniture is possibly still most remembered for the famous klismos chair, shown above.

The identifying features of ancient Greek furniture are... 

  • elegant and tasteful
  • detailed carving and inlays
  • select detailing, not cluttered
  • comfortable rather than decorative

Renaissance Furniture

Renaissance Style Furniture
Renaissance Style Furniture

Along with the other arts, the Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth century marked a rebirth in furniture design, often inspired by the Greco-Roman traditions.

The identifying features of renaissance furniture are... 

  • ornate and opulent
  • form above function
  • gilded designs 
  • floral, vegetable and scrolling ornamentation

Jacobean Furniture

Jacobean Style Furniture
Jacobean Style Furniture

After the Renaissance there was a gradual change to a less ornamented, quieter style of furniture.In general furniture profiles became lower and more rectangular.

The identifying features of Jacobean furniture are...

  • stern, square, and frugal
  • colourful upholstery with tasselled trim
  • straight lines & rigid designs
  • sturdy construction
  • dark finish

Queen Anne Furniture

Queen Anne Style Furniture
Queen Anne Style Furniture

The Queen Anne style is a style with a moderate proportion and graceful appearance. It is named after Queen Anne of England who reigned from 1702-1714.

The identifying features of Queen Anne furniture are...

  • graceful and refined
  • cabriole legs terminating in a pad or drake foot
  • fiddle-back chair backs
  • bat wing shaped drawer pulls
  • cushioned and covered with fabric

Colonial furniture

Colonial Style Furniture
Colonial Style Furniture

These pieces were generally sturdy and heavily carved, many with turned legs and bun feet. In the harsher environment of some of the Colonies these pieces were simpler representatives of their parent styles, befitting the more straightforward and utilitarian life of the settlers.

The identifying features of colonial furniture are...

  • less ornate than European furniture of the same style period
  • combing features of previous styles
  • variety of wood types used
  • chair arms have slight outward curve

Rococo Furniture

Rococo Style Furniture
Rococo Style Furniture

In the eighteenth century, furniture design began to develop rapidly and styles such as Rococo and Neoclassicism were commonplace throughout Western Europe.

The identifying features of Rococo furniture are... 

  • Natural motifs
  • Elaborate carved forms
  • Asymmetry
  • Curved forms are common in Rococo
  • Rocaille carving
  • Acanthus leaf

Shaker furniture

Shaker Style Furniture
Shaker Style Furniture

The Shaker style was produced by the religious group the United Society of Believers in self-contained communities in the United States.

The identifying features of shaker furniture are...

  • simple, utilitarian style 
  • straight tapered legs
  • woven chair seats
  • and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs
  • rectilinear and attenuated forms
  • restrained ornamentation

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Victorian furniture

Victorian Style Furniture
Victorian Style Furniture

The Victorian style draws its influence from previous Gothic forms. It is named for Queen Victoria of England who reigned from 1837-1901 and was the first furniture style of mass production.

The identifying features of Victorian furniture are...

  • heavy proportions
  • dark finish
  • elaborate carving and ornamentation.
  • somber appearance
  • balloon-shaped chair backs

Arts & Crafts furniture

Arts and Crafts Style Furniture
Arts and Crafts Style Furniture

Arts & Crafts furniture is simple, with straight lines and little ornamentation.The terms Mission and Craftsmen can also used to describe Arts and Crafts furniture.

The identifying features of Arts & Crafts furniture are... 

  • rectilinear design
  • simple, straight construction
  • exposed joinery
  • using medium or dark stained oak
  • bail handles with rectangular back plate

Art Nouveau Furniture

Art Nouveau Style Furniture
Art Nouveau Style Furniture

The name "Art Nouveau" is French for 'new art', and it emerged in the late 19th century in Paris. The style was said to be influenced strongly by the lithographs of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, whose flat imagery with strong curved lines was seen as a move away from the academic art of the time.

The identifying features of Arts Nouveau furniture are...  

  • intricately detailed
  • lines and curves used as ornamentation
  • inlays and veneers also used
  • hard woods and iron commonly used
  • strong yet slim furniture pieces
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Bauhaus Furniture

Bauhaus Style Furniture

The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus was founded with the idea of creating a 'total' work of art in which all arts, including furniture would eventually be brought together.

The identifying features of Bauhaus furniture are...  

  • minimalist & non-ornamental
  • hand crafted but appears mass produced
  • organic and natural materials
  • mainly black in color
  • smooth and rounded shapes

Art Deco Furniture

Art Deco Style Furniture
Art Deco Style Furniture

The Art Deco movement began in Paris in the 1920s and it represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity. Art deco's linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical organic curves of its predecessor style Art Nouveau.

The identifying features of Art Deco furniture are...

  • practical and simple designs
  • founded on mathematical geometric shapes
  • triangular shapes, chevron patterns, stepped forms, sweeping curves and sunburst motifs
  • new materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, plastics and lacquer
  • exotic materials like shark-skin and zebra-skin.

Modern Furniture

Modern Style Furniture
Modern Style Furniture

The forms of modern furniture sought newness, originality, technical innovation, and ultimately conveyed the present and the future, rather than what had gone before it as revival styles had done. This interest in new and innovative materials and methods produced a certain blending of the disciplines of technology and art.

The identifying features of Modern furniture are...

  • new materials included laminated plywood and fibreglass
  • continued use of steel, moulded plywood and plastics
  • simple and geometric shapes
  •  regular use of polished metal
  • style considered pioneering, even shocking

Scandinavian Furniture

Scandinavian Style Furniture
Scandinavian Style Furniture

Simplicity and function are the guiding principles that have shaped the design sensibilities of Nordic Europe.

The identifying features of Scandinavian furniture are...

  • natural materials, mainly wood
  • favour neutral colour palettes
  • clean, simple lines 
  • optimal function out of every part of the piece
  • robust and fuss-free
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