In Summary - Interior Architect / Designer
The Work - Interior Architect / Designer
Job titles associated with this occupation inlude Interior Architect, Interior Designer, and Interior Decorator. They are similar, but with certain differences, primarily in terms of the level of education associated with each role.
Traditionally, interior design focused on the decorative and soft furnishings side of interiors, as opposed to the architectural and technical aspects. Blurring of the lines around these titles has resulted primarily from improvements in interior design education. This has increased the scope of the profession and led many interior designers to become more involved in the technical and architectural sides of things.
Interior architecture is about the art and science of designing an interior space taking into account all elements of the build. A designer with some training in interior architecture cannot call themselves an interior architect, unless they have relevant professional accreditation from an architectural body.
Interior design takes into account all aspects of planning and designing interior spaces in the built environment. The role of any two interior designers can vary greatly.
Interior decoration is concerned solely with the decoration or ‘art’ of a space including soft furnishings and colour schemes.
The interior designer's responsibilities include:
- Project evaluation and management
- Planning of space, layouts, circulation and configuration of furniture and fittings in an interior of a building
- Selection of samples, sourcing and specifying materials, fabrics, furniture, fittings and colours
- Aesthetic decisions in the decoration of an interior
- Acting on behalf of the client and presenting documentation to planning authorities, building regulations and fire and safety
- Providing estimates (using quantity surveyors) and project costing
- Selecting architects, engineers, building contractors, craftsmen and suppliers
- Supervising the project until its completion
Interior 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, he or she may also redesign existing interiors.
Jobs may range from accomplishing single detail in a private residence to designing and co-ordinating the entire interior arrangement of a large building complex. He or she must consider the functional needs, personal habits, and tastes of the client and design the interiors to suit project requirements, the client's personality or the corporate mission.
The interior designer may be required to design unique and original interior arrangements using existing furniture or custom designed furnishings. The presentation to the client usually includes perspectives, floor plans, elevations, colour charts, photographs of furnishings, and samples of materials for upholstery, curtains, and wall coverings.
Once the client accepts the plan, the interior designer undertakes all aspects of project management in accordance with the code of practice. Every item involved in design is the concern of the Interior Designer, from the final presentation to the installation of the last fitting.
Interior/exhibition designers often use design software packages when creating designs.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Confer with client to determine factors affecting planning interior environments, such as budget, architectural preferences, and purpose and function.
- Advise client on interior design factors such as space planning, layout and utilization of furnishings or equipment, and color coordination.
- Coordinate with other professionals, such as contractors, architects, engineers, and plumbers, to ensure job success.
- Review and detail shop drawings for construction plans.
- Estimate material requirements and costs, and present design to client for approval.
- Subcontract fabrication, installation, and arrangement of carpeting, fixtures, accessories, draperies, paint and wall coverings, art work, furniture, and related items.
- Formulate environmental plan to be practical, esthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity or selling merchandise.
- Select or design, and purchase furnishings, art works, and accessories.
- Render design ideas in form of paste-ups or drawings.
- Use computer-aided drafting (CAD) and related software to produce construction documents.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Interests - Interior Architect / Designer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
In addition to knowledge and aesthetic sense, the successful Interior Designer must possess physical endurance, mental agility, the flexibility to cope with a diversity of work and the ability to deal tactfully with clients of varied backgrounds.
As an interior designer, you must be able to work with construction specialists including architects, quantity surveyors, engineers and builders. As an exhibition designer you will tend to work more closely with exhibition organisers and graphic designers.
Interior designers must be able to visualise and communicate ideas clearly and accurately in the drawings produced, keep up-to-date with new design developments. Working to strict deadlines and tight budgets is typically required.
Freelance designers need a thorough knowledge of business practice if they are to remain successful in a highly competitive area of the design industry.
Entry Requirements - Interior Architect / Designer
The route into this career is to follow a course of study in interior design. A number of Institutes of Technology and colleges offer relevant courses, ranging from Level 6 to Level 8, in Interior Design, Interior Architecture, and Interior Design and Technology.
Accredited part-time and online courses are also available.
Last Updated: November, 2015
Pay & Salary - Interior Architect / Designer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 19k - 37k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.