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Interior designer

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Summary of occupation

Interior designers plan and design the interior environments of a range of buildings, from homes to corporate offices. They make effective use of interior spaces by ensuring that all the needs of the occupants, and functions of a space are catered for.

Interior designers work to a design brief and need to carry out detailed research that includes consideration of their client's wishes, ensuring the designs they produce reflect the client's image and identity. They may work on the construction or the redevelopment of building interiors, to develop designs that are appropriate, functional and aesthetically pleasing.

ANZSCO description: Plans, designs, details and supervises the construction of commercial, industrial, retail and residential building interiors to produce an environment tailored to a purpose, with particular emphasis on space creation, space planning, and factors that enhance living and working environments.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Commercial Interior Designer, Environmental Designer, Residential Interior Designer, Retail Interior Designer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An interior designer needs:

  • creativity, imagination and artistic flair
  • good communication and listening skills
  • good colour sense and an eye for detail
  • an aptitude for illustration and technical drawing
  • to demonstrate flexibility in their approach to tasks
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • an understanding of building construction.
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Working conditions

Interior designers need to be able to develop designs that suit both the client and the characteristics of a building or room. A designer can work in property and business services, or provide services in construction or retailing. They may be self-employed or work with a design group. They can be expected to visit clients in their home or office, and can work long hours including weekends and evenings.

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Salary details

On average, interior designers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an interior designer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Interior designers need a high level of computer skills. They should be competent with computer-aided drawing (CAD) software, and design software such as Photoshop and InDesign, as well as MS Office.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an interior designer you usually need to complete a formal qualification in interior design, interior architecture or environmental and spatial design.

The Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a degree majoring in interior architecture or environmental and spatial design.

Curtin University offers a four year Bachelor of Applied Science (Interior Architecture). Edith Cowan University offers a three year Bachelor of Design (Environmental and Spatial Design). Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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