Interior Designer

Interior Designer

Interior Designers specialise in planning, designing, and detailing the production of an environment. The average salary of an Interior Designer is $69,495 per annum.

As an Interior Designer, you'll be responsible for supervising the construction of commercial, industrial and residential building interiors as well as focusing on enhancing living and working environments.

Salary range
Average salary $69,495
salary range
Source: SEEK
Projected job growth
-5% by 2020
Employment by region
The top three regions for employment as an Interior Designer are:
NSW 25.5%
VIC 28.5%
QLD 19.9%

A day in the life of an Interior Designer

Key skills required

The top skills for an Interior Designer are:
  • Creative and artistic flair
  • Problem solving and lateral thinking skills
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Aptitude for technical drawing and illustration
Career pathway planner
Starting out
Starting out

Learn the fundamentals of interior or building design through hands-on experience. Study a diploma and get prepared to kick start your design career.

  • Diploma of Interior Design & Decoration - Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University
  • Diploma of Building Design (CPP50911)

Interior Designer job description

What does an Interior Designer do?

Interior Designers plan, design and coordinate the creation or renovation of the spaces we live and work in.

A skilled Interior Designer is able to produce an interior that is personalised to their client’s taste and serves a functional purpose. As an Interior Designer, you’ll consider elements such as safety, traffic flow, comfort and style in your designs.

Employment opportunities for Interior Designers include self-employment, working in a design or architectural consultancy, or collaborating with other building and design professionals in a business.

You may choose to develop your career in a particular field of interior design such as commercial interior design, industrial design, green (environmentally-friendly) and ergonomic design, or film set design and construction.

Daily tasks for an Interior Designer

An Interior Designer’s day-to-day tasks are varied and call for a blend of creative, technological and organisational skills. These duties may include:

  • Meeting with clients and other tradespeople such as architects or builders to discuss the needs of the client.
  • Developing designs according to a brief that are functional, appealing and appropriate for the space.
  • Using design software (such as AutoCAD) to create models and visuals.
  • Researching and preparing plans, diagrams or sketches for interior constructions, materials, finishes, lighting and furnishing.
  • Selecting suppliers of materials and labour.
  • Estimating costs and submitting quotes for client approval.
  • Inspecting and supervising the work of tradespeople to ensure that quality and safety standards, costs and deadlines are met.

Learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need to succeed as an Interior Designer by reading our tips on how to become an Interior Designer.

A day in the life of an Interior Designer

Working hours of an Interior Designer

As an Interior Designer, you’ll need to be flexible about your working hours to accommodate your clients’ needs. You will need to be available to travel to the job site to consult with clients and tradespeople throughout the day and visit various suppliers to select and purchase materials such as furnishings, textiles and artwork. This could involve working outside of usual business hours, including weekends and evenings.   

On average, a full-time Interior Designer works 43.8 hours per week (Job Outlook).

What is the difference between an Interior Decorator and an Interior Designer?

While interior design and interior decoration often go hand-in-hand, they are also distinct jobs that call for specific skills and knowledge.

An Interior Decorator generally works directly with the person who will be occupying the space, rather than building and architectural tradespeople. Interior Decorators need to understand a client’s individual taste and aesthetic requirements in order to dress an interior space with colour, lighting and furnishings.

An Interior Designer focuses on the planning and preparation of an interior space for effective use and visual appeal. This could include modifying the building structure and will usually involve working with a team of architects, builders, cabinet makers, or engineering consultants. Some Interior Designers choose to broaden their skillset to include interior decoration, or study a qualification that includes both design and decoration aspects so they can offer more services to a wider range of clients.   

How to become an Interior Designer

If you’re interested in becoming an Interior Designer, there are certain skills, techniques and attributes you’ll need to make your mark in the field of interior design and help you stand out from the crowd.

As an Interior Designer, you will focus on making spaces more functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Not only will you work with beautiful things, but you’ll create comfortable and practical working and living environments for your clients. Read more about the job description of an Interior Designer.

What technical & professional skills do I need to become an Interior Designer?

As an Interior Designer, you will need to be able to use both paper and a computer to sketch and draw up your designs. Interior Designers often use programs like AutoCAD and Photoshop to create professional images to show clients their vision before purchasing materials.

If you don’t have any experience using these programs, a design course such as the Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration will train you in the software and skills you’ll need to use in your professional interior design career.

An interior design qualification is highly regarded by employers who value theoretical knowledge as well as hands-on experience, which you’ll gain throughout the course. If you’re looking at starting your own interior design business, a certification can also strengthen your credibility and give you a competitive advantage when attracting clients. 

Do I need a portfolio?

When you apply for a job as an Interior Designer, you will need to have a professional portfolio to showcase your aesthetic and any projects you’ve worked on.

“Your portfolio will allow future employers to see what you’re capable of creating,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Melinda Potente. “It demonstrates your skill level and style and gives people confidence in your abilities.”

When you’re studying your interior design course, you should collect images and samples from the assessments you complete. This material will form a professional portfolio that you can take to future employers or clients after graduation.  

What if I have previous design experience?

If you have already been working in decorating or workplace design but want to broaden into interior design, gaining a qualification can help verify your experience, build your portfolio and help land you your next job. You can also apply for credit (Recognition of Prior Learning), which may shorten the length of your course.

Should I become an Interior Designer?

To be a successful Interior Designer, you will need to have:

  • an eye for colour and design
  • an inherent sense of style
  • a talent for predicting and researching upcoming trends
  • high-level computer skills
  • strong attention to detail
  • solid interpersonal skills to uncover the needs and requirements of your clients

“Interior Designers analyse problems, visualise concepts and communicate their solutions professionally,” Melinda explains. “They will come up with designs and set up multiple consultations to ensure their ideas meet the needs of their clients.”

If you like the idea of setting up your own business, a career in interior design allows you the freedom and flexibility to be your own manager or work from home.