Interior Design Job Types : A Complete Guide

Apr 08, 2023

Interior Design Job Types

Introduction to Interior Design

Interior design is a dynamic field that focuses on creating aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces. It involves the use of colors, textures, furniture, and lighting to create an environment that is not only visually appealing but also comfortable and functional. In this article, we will explore the various types of interior design jobs available in the industry and provide you with insights on how to pursue a career in this exciting field.

The Different Job Types in Interior Design

There are several specialized areas in the field of interior design, each with its unique characteristics and requirements. Here are some of the most common job types in interior design:

Residential Interior Design

Residential interior designers work on designing and decorating private homes, apartments, and other living spaces. They focus on understanding the needs and preferences of their clients to create customized living spaces that reflect the client's lifestyle, personality, and taste. Residential interior design projects can range from designing a single room to creating a cohesive design concept for an entire home.

Commercial Interior Design

Commercial interior design encompasses the design of various types of commercial spaces, such as offices, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and healthcare facilities. There are several sub-specialties within commercial interior design, which include:

  • Retail Design: Retail designers specialize in creating inviting and engaging store layouts that encourage customers to explore and make purchases. They design spaces that showcase products effectively and create an enjoyable shopping experience for customers.

  • Corporate Design: Corporate designers work on designing offices and other workspaces. Their focus is on creating efficient, comfortable, and productive environments that promote employee well-being and reflect the company's brand and values.

  • Hospitality Design: Hospitality designers focus on designing hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, and other hospitality spaces. They aim to create welcoming and memorable experiences for guests, emphasizing comfort, functionality, and aesthetics.

  • Healthcare Design: Healthcare designers work on designing hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. They prioritize functionality, safety, and comfort for patients, staff, and visitors while adhering to strict regulations and guidelines.

Sustainable Interior Design

Sustainable interior designers focus on incorporating environmentally friendly materials and practices into their designs. They strive to create spaces that have minimal impact on the environment and promote the well-being of both occupants and the planet. Sustainable design principles may include energy efficiency, waste reduction, and the use of eco-friendly materials.

Universal Design

Universal design is an inclusive design approach that focuses on creating spaces that are accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Universal designers prioritize functionality, safety, and accessibility to ensure that their designs can accommodate the needs of diverse populations.

Education and Training for Interior Design Careers

A successful career in interior design typically begins with a formal education in the field. Most interior designers have a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field, such as architecture or fine arts. Coursework typically covers subjects like design principles, color theory, space planning, materials selection, and computer-aided design (CAD).

In addition to formal education, many interior designers gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions in the industry. Some countries or states may also require interior designers to be licensed or registered, which may involve passing an exam and meeting other qualifications.

Developing a Portfolio

A well-rounded portfolio is crucial for aspiring interior designers seeking employment or freelance opportunities. A portfolio showcases your design style, creativity, and technical skills, giving potential employers or clients a glimpse of your capabilities. When building a portfolio, include a variety of projects that demonstrate your versatility, such as residential and commercial designs, as well as sustainable or universal design examples.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The job outlook for interior designers varies depending on factors like location, experience, and specialization. Overall, the field is expected to experience modest growth in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of interior designers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Salaries for interior designers also vary based on factors like experience, location, and type of projects. On average, interior designers can expect to earn a median annual wage of around $57,000, with the potential for higher earnings for those with more experience and a strong portfolio.


Interior design is a diverse and exciting field with various job types that cater to different interests and skill sets. Whether you're drawn to residential design, commercial design, or sustainable design, the opportunities to make your mark in the world of interior design are plentiful. By obtaining a solid education, gaining practical experience, and building a strong portfolio, you'll be well on your way to pursuing a successful career in interior design.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator? An interior designer typically has formal education and training in the field, focusing on space planning, materials, and building codes. An interior decorator, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the aesthetics of a space, such as color schemes, furniture, and accessories.

  2. Do I need a degree to become an interior designer? While it's possible to find work without a degree, most interior designers have a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field. A formal education can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the industry.

  3. How can I gain experience as an interior designer? Internships and entry-level positions in interior design firms or related industries can provide valuable hands-on experience. Networking and attending industry events can also help you make connections and find opportunities.

  4. What are some important skills for an interior designer to have? Strong communication and listening skills, creativity, problem-solving, attention to detail, and proficiency in design software like CAD are all essential skills for an interior designer.

  5. Can interior designers work freelance? Yes, many interior designers choose to work freelance or start their own design firms. This allows for greater flexibility and control over the types of projects they take on. However, it also requires skills in marketing, networking, and business management to succeed as a self-employed interior designer.

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