Interior designer

Design, arts and crafts

Career outlook for interior designer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would plan and supervise the decoration of people’s homes, offices, hotels, shops and restaurants so they are attractive places to live and work.

It would be your job to come up with designs for the inside of buildings. You’d ask your clients what they’re going to use the room for and create a scheme that is practical as well as beautiful.

You would:

  • Meet clients to discuss their requirements and ideas
  • Develop designs to suit clients' needs, their budget and the type of building
  • Prepare initial sketches or models for the client to approve
  • Advise on colour schemes, fabrics, fittings and furniture
  • Work out costs and prepare estimates
  • Create detailed drawings from the initial sketches, usually using computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Find fittings, furniture, fabrics, and wall and floor coverings

The client may ask you to recommend or hire people to carry out the work on site.

If so, then you’d contact the necessary people, explain the requirements and schedule the work. You’d need to organise deliveries of the materials and supervise the progress of the work, sorting out unforeseen problems.

As well as being creative and artistic, you will also need to make sure you are organised and aware of building and safety regulations.

Working conditions


You may need to work long, irregular hours, which could include evenings and weekends.


You will usually be based in a studio, but will also spend a lot of time visiting clients and sites. As a freelance designer, you may work from home, share offices or rent a studio.


You will spend a lot of time visiting clients and sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Making decisions
  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Researching
  • Designing
  • Creative
  • Problem solving

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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Most interior designers have a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in Interior Design, 3D Design or Art and Design.

You can enter some Interior Design, Art and Design or 3D Design National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF level 5) with no formal qualifications but most courses require National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

Useful subjects

  • English (often required by courses)
  • maths (often required by courses) 
  • Art and design (often required by courses) 
  • Other design-centred subjects
  • Practical technologies
  • Social studies subjects such as history

You will also need

A portfolio of your work when applying to courses and to jobs.