How do you become an Interior Designer?

When you were a child, were you constantly moving your furniture around? Or have you always had a passion for creativity and design? Then maybe being an interior designer is the career for you. Continue reading to learn more about what university degrees and college courses are available and the work experience you can gain to help you become an interior designer.

What do Interior Designers do?

As an interior designer, your main task is to meet and discuss with clients what they want or their different ideas for their space. Developing your designs and using client ideas to form a budget which fits with the needs of your client.

Your creative side will be more than occupied when preparing the first sketches and mood boards for clients to love and hire you as their designer. Working off client ideas, your goal is to advise on the space, colours and fabrics to use to maximise their dream. Create detailed final plans using different software to create the perfect visual for your client.

We hope you are good at Maths as calculating costs and preparing estimates for how much the work may cost is a part of the job. Also, working out your wage, and the prices of fabric, decor and if tradesmen are needed for the work.

Having contacts and companies that you work with regularly, makes it easier to deliver your ideas to make them a reality. Finding suppliers, the coverings for walls, floors and other decors; pleasing your client and delivering within the time frame.

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What qualifications do you need to be an interior designer?


There are plenty of courses at university that you can take; these may be interior design, art and design, and spatial design. These courses help you learn key concepts and ideas needed to effectively mix textiles, the placement of furniture and identify new trends. To enrol in foundation degrees or national diplomas, you need 1 or 2 A-levels. However, with most degrees, you need 2 to 3 A-levels for most universities.


If you are doing A-levels, one of your subjects could be art and design. Whilst, level 3 diplomas in interior design or art and design give you the option to start your learning at an earlier age. For these subjects, you will need 4 or 5 GCSEs at a grade of 9 to 4 in English, Maths and a creative subject (Art, Design & Technology or Graphics).

Work Experience

There are plenty of ways to get experience; the most popular option is the “furniture design technician advanced apprenticeship”, which is a great gateway into interior design. Apprenticeships don't require a creative subject at GCSE, so this allows you to enrol still. Your entry requirements are 5 GCSEs between grades 9 and 4, including English and Maths.

Skills needed to become an Interior Designer

Attention to Detail

Being an interior designer is an incredibly artistic and creative career. Your attention to detail will help you adapt your vision and ideas to your client’s desires. Your detail-oriented techniques will help you solve problems that may occur during the design process.

Design and Trend Knowledge

Knowing different styles and trends can maximise your client base. You can cater to people who want the French country aesthetic or a more modern mid-century style. Keeping up to date with design trends and styling elements used for years allows you to influence different styles and aesthetics for your clients.

Colour Basics Knowledge

You will come into contact with colour daily, whether it's purple, red or even chartreuse. Your skill with colour theory is vital for any designer; you know how to use colour effectively; it could be maximising space or creating a mood in a room.

Salaries of Interior Designers in the UK

On average, your starting salary as an interior designer is around £36,000 per year; however, it can depend on projects, customers and the length of a project. Your average starting salary as an interior designer can range from £18,000 to £25,000, and With the most experienced designers, your salary can exceed £60,000 per year.

Interior Designer Salaries in the UK

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Overview of Interior Designers

Profession Group Specialised Design Services
Minimum Age 18 (Enrolling in Courses)
Education Requirements College or Degree
Salary Indication £36,000
Related Jobs Architect, Designer or Stylist

FAQs about Interior Designers

  • What is the lowest paying salary for an interior designer in London?

  • The salary for an interior designer in London is around £21,000, where the highest is £63,000 per year.

  • How many hours do interior designers work a day?

  • The average work day ranges from 8 to 10 hours, making it around 40 to 50 hours a week.

  • What types of Interior designers are there?

  • There are many different types of interior designers; these are:

    • Aviation
    • Marine
    • Education
    • Workplace
    • Retail
    • Restaurants
    • Hospitality
    • Residential

See more of our professions guide