Interior design begins with a style and a color palette. From there, furniture, flooring, window furnishings, rugs, architectural detailing and other features are added to improve functionality and build upon theme. Often a commercial professional in this field will be employed pre-construction to ensure than windows, stairwells, escalators, walkways and rooms are located in optimal places. To become an interior designer, one must obtain a Bachelor's Degree and participate in several years of apprenticeship work.
When a professional interior designer gets started, he or she begins by assessing the client's wants and needs. They examine budgets, look at lifestyle, scrutinize the home for wasted space, seek color or style preferences and identify pros and cons of the current interior space.
Next, the designer will estimate the costs and create a design image with computer-aided interior design software. After presenting the proposal, the client will either approve or deny the sketches. Then it is either time to implement the project or "go back to the old drawing board," as they say.
There are several different realms for professionals in this field to focus their sights. For instance, some designers work at furniture, home or garden stores selling merchandise and recommending color and theme options. Other times, interior designers may run their own businesses as consultants, with administrative assistants onboard to order samples, liaise with contractors and draw up documents.
Some designers focus on office interior design or commercial interior design, while others specialize in custom designs for individuals or realtors trying to stage homes for sale. Special certification may be acquired for kitchen or bathroom design. Other designers may be masters of acoustics and soundproofing, security, home theaters, home spas or gardens.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average annual income for interior design professionals is around $42,260. The middle 50% earned between $31,830 and $57,230, with the lowest 10% earning $24,270 and the highest percentile earning over $78,760. Architectural and engineering designers earned the highest salaries, with specialized interior design services right behind. Furniture stores and building supply dealers garnered most of the lower salaries. The income a professional interior designer makes largely depends upon the years of experience, specialization, reputation and employer.