9 Interior Design Careers Worth Considering

9 Interior Design Careers Worth Considering

Interior Designer

When you think about interior design, what comes to mind? You might associate this line of work with stylish homes or swanky hotel lobbies, but in reality, the principles of interior design can be applied to any space imaginable.

There are dozens of interior design careers to explore — including many you may not have heard of before. Keep reading to learn about some of the exciting opportunities for professionals in this field.

9 Fascinating interior design specializations

To help illustrate the plethora of options for trained designers, we put together a list that highlights nine of the areas you can find interior design jobs.

1. Residential interior design

Many professionals begin their interior design careers in this field, which includes houses, condos, apartments, and even tiny homes. Residential interior designers consult with owners to transform a room — or the entire house — into a stylish space that suits their needs and reflects their personalities. These designers must be knowledgeable about fire and health regulations, building codes, and other safety features to ensure the residents’ health and property are protected.

2. Commercial interior design

Companies of all types hire designers to create appealing interiors that reflect the company brand and meet the needs of the business. Commercial interior design is an umbrella term that describes any kind of space wherein making money is a primary goal. This includes:

  • Salons
  • Gyms
  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Retail stores
  • Movie theatres
  • Airports
  • Restaurants

3. Interior design home stager

Working with a professional home stager is a great way for sellers and realtors to stand out, especially in a competitive and fast-moving housing market. Home stagers are adept at transforming an empty house into a beautiful (temporary) home, making it easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. They also frequently work with owners currently residing in the space intended for sale. For these clients, home stagers will advise them on how to declutter, rearrange, paint walls, and generally optimize the space for upcoming showings.

4. Set design for theater, TV, and film

This specialization is perfect for movie, TV, and Broadway fans who want to tell stories and create settings that hold an entire world within them. Set design is incredibly important and can make or break an entire project. These professionals create designs based on the director’s overall vision for the piece plus the style, tone, and time period. This often requires extensive research to ensure cohesion and accuracy.

In the film and tv industry, these professionals are also known as set decorators, and they are responsible for ideating all of the interior and exterior décor in a scene. Set designers must be expert multitaskers, communicators, and collaborators because they work with producers, cast members, and technical teams to bring scenes to life. To learn more about this fascinating field, visit the Set Decorators Society of America.

5. Lighting design

The illumination in a space — or lack thereof — can completely change how an area is perceived and utilized. Lighting design is a highly technical field that requires practitioners to be knowledgeable in physics, optics, lighting equipment and technology, color theory, building codes, and more. They work with all kinds of clients on projects ranging from residential and commercial spaces to theatres, museums, and music venues. Check out International Association of Lighting Designers for more information about this career.

6. Exhibit design

An exhibit designer is responsible for creating bespoke displays that are enjoyed by the public or a specific audience. They must be highly skilled at turning complex information or stories into something that can be experienced in a physical space. Exhibit designers work with galleries, museums, festivals, libraries, convention centers, and private businesses.

7. Sustainable design

As a sustainably minded designer, your job is to curate beautiful, functional, and eco-friendly spaces. The concept of sustainability can mean many different things, but in the realm of design, it generally refers to:

  • Mitigating impact by using materials grown and harvested in an environmentally friendly manner using ethical labor practices.
  • Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Utilizing vintage, reclaimed, recycled, and reusable materials when possible.
  • Promoting healthy indoor spaces by limiting harmful chemicals and pollutants that contribute to poor air quality.

8. Yacht and boat interior design

If you’ve spent any amount of time on a boat, you know that space is limited, to say the least. This niche subset of interior design requires professionals who know how to take big ideas and execute them within incredibly small spaces. You’ll also spend a lot of time finding the right balance of decorative and practical elements, as functionality must be prioritized on a seafaring vessel.

9. Educational facilities interior design

Whether it’s an elementary school or a university campus, learning institutions require spaces that are optimized for many different kinds of activities. These facilities must be capable of serving hundreds or even thousands of students every single day, making thoughtful and functional design imperative.

While your first instinct may be to associate educational design with classrooms, it could also include areas like:

  • Dorms and student housing
  • Dining halls, cafeterias, and coffee shops
  • Libraries
  • Conference rooms
  • Study areas
  • Gymnasiums
  • Laboratories
  • Auditoriums
  • Offices for faculty and administration

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