I’m one week into my interior design courses, and my eyes have already been opened to a much bigger world than I expected. When people think about interior designers, they might just picture professionals picking out pretty furniture and accessories for the home. And yes, residential design is an avenue one can go down. But the field includes a plethora of positions, including many interesting specialties.
Here are a just a few of the many careers one can pursue after studying interior design:
Kitchen & Bath Specialist
With plumbing, ventilation, and gas needs, kitchen and baths are rooms that require special technical knowledge when it comes to design. That is why you will have find interiors designers who specialize in kitchens and/or baths.
In fact, there is a separate professional organization dedicated to this speciality, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). This organization administers their own exam, which paired with professional experience, distinguishes someone as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Certified Bath Design (CBD) or both (CKBD). Cañada College offers a special Kitchen and Bath Design Certificate.
Kitchens are probably one of, if not the most renovated room in a home, so I can see the advantage of specializing in that area of design.
Home stagers furnish properties that are on the market so that potential buyers can better picture themselves in the home. Because it needs to appeal to a wide variety of people, these designs are often less personal than traditional residential design.
With real estate so hot in the Bay Area market, the home staging business is booming. My professor informed us that she has a lot of home staging companies reaching out looking for new hires.
Cañada College offers a special Home Staging Certificate.
For those with a really good eye for color, there is an opportunity to specialize in color design. Some interior designers enlist the services of a separate color consultant to find just the right hues for their project.
Color consultants can also work directly with clients looking to, say, repaint their home but who are having a hard time deciding on the right color. Color consultants might also work on the home decor or furniture supplier side, specializing in textiles.
Requiring both aesthetic instinct and electrical knowledge, it’s no surprise that lighting design is a separate specialty. Lighting designers can keep up with the latest trends and technologies, bringing expert knowledge to this essential element in the home.
Aesthetically and viscerally, lighting design can help distinguish spaces, highlight areas of focus, and set the mood for a space. On the more practical side, lighting design which employs the most up-to-date technologies can also help curb energy costs for a homeowner.
A space planner is responsible for diagramming how an interior space should be organized to create an optimal balance of space and utility. Their services are particularly sought out for office and retail spaces, rather than residential spaces.
Sometimes a space planner’s job is done after the drafting is complete, and they do not need to oversee the actual execution of the plan.
This is an umbrella term for interior design for businesses (so essentially, non-residential design). Professionals in this area will almost always work for a design firm. And often, these design firms will specialize in an area within commercial design, such as:
- Hospitality design – hotels, cruise ships, restaurants
- Medical facilities – hospitals, clinics, other care facilities
- Retail – boutiques, department stores, shopping malls
- Office design
Because these spaces are used by a wide variety of people, designs are often less personal, which some designers may find creatively stifling. It also requires a lot more knowledge of codes, particularly for things like accessibility.
And unlike residential design, this area of interior design almost always requires working with a large number of stakeholders, which can be a little frustrating.
However, there is huge opportunity in this arena and it can be an area of interior design that is quite lucrative.
Keeping my options open
As I continue with my courses this semester, I want to continue to explore these various paths within the interior design field. Luckily, if I decide to continue with Cañada College’s Interior Design certificate program, there are a number of classes which provide a deep dive into many of these specialities.
If I do decide to pursue interior design, it will be interesting to see if there is an area that I find particularly fulfilling and want to specialize in, or if I would prefer being more of a generalist. Only time will tell!