Interior designer

Last updated: 24 Feb 2023, 10:14

Works on the design or renovation of internal spaces.

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Job description

Interior designers use 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. They formulate designs which are intended to be practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style.

Designers may specialise in residential or commercial interiors or both. 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 interiors.

Work activities

  • Establishing what the client wants to achieve and the budget available for the project.
  • Considering the needs of people who will use the building.
  • Developing initial ideas and concepts.
  • 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, building services engineers and builders.

Work conditions

Travel: a regular feature of the working day.
Working hours: can involve additional hours including weekends and evenings to meet with clients and to supervise projects.
Location: throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: very possible.

Typical employers

  • Design and architectural firms
  • Design management
  • Textiles
  • Set design.

Career development

Some designers specialise in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.


Salaries vary considerably depending on your employer, your qualifications and your specific job description. For those working freelance earnings will be on a job to job basis.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to non-graduates and graduates of all disciplines though the normal route into this career is to complete a course in interior design. The Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) do not accredit any interior design courses.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Archictecture
  • Art & design.

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not required.

Specific entry requirements

Proficiency in a design package may be required. Most courses will require applicants to produce a portfolio of work showing aptitude in this field.

Tips for applications

Work on your portfolio to showcase your designs.

Skills and qualities

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Strong creative skills matched with a desire to produce outstanding design.
  • High level of organisation skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Resourcefulness and ability to manage several tasks and projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.

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