November 9, 2015 Guest Post
Did you know that interior decorating is generally broken down into two broad realms – commercial and residential? A commercial interior designer might work on spaces like hotels and hospitals; basically, anything that falls outside a private home or office. If this is a profession that you are interested in pursuing, we are sure that you want to know how to proceed. In this article, we have outlined a basic path to becoming a designer.
Commercial interior designers will either work for a specific design firm or be self-employed. In some cases, they may also be employed by a home furnishing store and be responsible for helping customers on design elements. As well as choosing a specific type of space to specialise in (such as schools, stores or airports), you can also choose to specialise in a particular aspect of design (such as kitchens, bathrooms or acoustics).
More often than not, designers will work out of an office (either in the firm’s building or at home). They will, however, spend most of their time with clients at their location. People who work for a firm will usually work standard hours (9 to 5) and some travel may be required.
In order to become a designer, you will need to undertake post-secondary education, either in the form of a university degree or a TAFE certificate. Most programs will focus on general interior decorating, however, some will offer subjects or modules that are specific to the commercial sphere. If you spend two to three years completing your chosen program, you will often be qualified to start as an assistant; if you spend four years, you may begin an apprenticeship.
When applying for jobs, there are a number of additional skills that employers will be looking for. These may include excellent computer skills (as you will be required to use computer-aided design software), engineering and building code knowledge (as each project will need to meet safety and design standards), time management, sales ability and self-motivation. Make sure you include all skills in your resume, as you never know what may get you the job.
For some people, what they will earn is often a catalyst in encouraging them to pursue a particular career or not. Whilst we certainly believe that you should pursue a career based on your passions, we do understand that you need money to live. In 2012, the median annual wage for a designer was $47,600. This figure would be slightly higher in 2014, but many people are surprised at the relatively low earnings. The government sector tends to earn more.
As you can see, becoming a commercial interior designer is no more difficult than becoming qualified for any other job – you will need to complete post-secondary education and will often be mentored for the first few years of your career. When selecting a university degree or TAFE certificate, however, make sure that you thoroughly research all of the programs on offer to ensure that you have chosen one that is most appropriate to your desires.