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How to become an Interior Designer

Interior Designers plan, design and coordinate the creation or renovation of spaces to live or work in, incorporating individual clients’ tastes, as well as functional purpose, into their designs (and budgets). They use elements of design, decoration, safety, traffic flow, building structure, building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, and psychology to complete a project.

Interior designers may be self-employed or work for design and architectural firms. The job often involves collaborating with architects, builders, cabinet makers and other tradespeople, engineers and design consultants. Fields of specialisation include commercial interior design, industrial design, environmentally-friendly and ergonomic design, as well as film set design and construction.

If you love decorating rooms and positioning furniture, and have a great eye for detail, colour and spatial arrangements, a career in interior design could be perfect for you.


About you:


  • Excellent communication skills
  • Creative and artistic
  • Good at problem-solving and lateral thinking
  • Works well independently and as part of a team
  • Aptitude for technical drawing and illustration
  • Spatial planning skills
  • Project management skills
  • Knowledge of industry standard design software


The job:


  • Meeting with clients, architects and tradespeople to discuss the needs of the client
  • Developing designs that meet the brief, are functional, appealing and appropriate for the space
  • Incorporate building safety, planning, and other legal requirements
  • Use design software to create models and visuals
  • Prepare and administer tenders and contract documents
  • Research and prepare plans, diagrams and sketches for interior constructions, materials, finishes, lighting and furnishing
  • Select suppliers for materials and labour
  • Estimate costs and submit quotes for client approval
  • Inspect and supervise on-going work to ensure quality and safety standards, costs and deadlines are met
  • Design exhibitions, commercial display stands or stage, film and television production sets


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: Moderate – around 37% of Interior Designers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 45 hours a week, which is just above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Interior Designers’ salary (average) $55,640* per year (source: ato.gov.au). *Salaries greatly vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing most of your work indoors.


Interior Designers are most in demand in these locations:


Most work for Interior Designers is found in capital cities and larger metropolitan areas. Most Interior Designers work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.


How to become an Interior Designer in Australia


A VET or university qualification in applied design, interior design, interior architecture, or spatial design is the most common pathway.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English, Maths, and Arts or Design.


Step 2 – Complete a relevant VET course to build on your skills and experience, such as:

There are also lots of short courses and workshops you can take.


Step 3 – Consider upskilling with an undergraduate level degree in design to consolidate your knowledge and make yourself more attractive to potential employers.


Step 4 – Start working as an Interior Designer, either freelance or as part of a design firm or business.


Step 5 – Once you have lots of experience, consider starting your own business.


Find out more here –




Similar Careers to Interior Designer


Graphic Designer

Visual Merchandiser



Fashion Designer

Jewellery Designer

Landscape Designer


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What options are there for career progression?


You might start out working for someone else as part of a business or firm, before moving on to work freelance. With enough experience you might even like to start up your own business.


Do I need to go to university to become an Interior Designer?


Not necessarily – VET qualifications can be suitable. However, you might be able to access a wider variety of opportunities if you have a university-level qualification.


Where do Interior Designers work?


Interior Designers usually work in offices and design firms. You might also get the chance to travel to clients’ homes to inspect the area in person too.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Interior Designer?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Interior Designer is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Start taking short courses and workshops to build on your design skills. There are lots of free and even online courses you can take.
  2. See if you can find work experience in design. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
  3. Talk to an Interior Designer to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career in design.

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