How To Become an Interior Designer In Australia?

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Students want to know how to become interior designers in Australia and how long it takes.


If you love decorating rooms and have a knack for design, an interior design career could be the right fit. However, you must know the right path to pursue your dreams before becoming an interior designer.


To become an interior designer in Australia, you must fulfil specific requirements. Just like any other profession, interior designers face unique challenges every day.


It is essential to understand that interior designing is more than simply beautifying the interior space. Clients of interior designers can range from large corporations to homeowners and are responsible for designing different kinds of spaces.


No matter the size of the project, an interior designer ensures to make a space safe, functional and attractive for everyone keeping in mind the client's requirements.


In this blog, you will learn about becoming an interior designer in Australia, interior design jobs, how long it takes, what they do, how to get into it, salary, and more.



1. What Does an Interior Designer Do?


An interior designer is a professional who can make a space decorative, functional, and usable. They are trained in interior decoration and have studied interior designing courses to understand the nitty-gritty of this industry.


The interior designer can work for different clients related to various properties. Their primary responsibility is to create aesthetically pleasing practical spaces and practical rooms. 


An interior designer can work for architectural firmsconstruction companies, retailers, consultancy agencies providing interior design-related services, interior design companies, and more.


Some interior designers may take the route of freelancing as well. They deal with high-end interior design firms. However, the interior designer has to be careful while designing a space for a client because each client will come with unique requirements. It's the designer's responsibility to meet the client's expectations.


As said, interior design is not just about choosing aesthetically appealing items for space; they must know the art of finding the proper object for the right place. When choosing the things, be they décor items, furniture, etc., they need to consider whether the selected items will complement the space.


Before choosing an item for the interiors, they must also consider the available space, lighting, and other factors. In addition, an interior designer will consider the theme of the space so that every item complements the overall theme.



2. Responsibilities and Duties of an Interior Designer


  • Understand a client's requirements by carefully listening to them and offering them decoration ideas that match their requirements. The decoration ideas should be as per the budget requested. 

  • An interior designer will have to draw, sketch, and even present a visual representation of the decoration idea they have in mind for the said space. Once done, the client will review the visual image and share feedback. 

  • The designer must consider the visual and technical aspects of the space, such as lighting, furniture, layout, and décor and ensure a balance between appearance and functionality. 

  • Work on the decoration process by choosing a suitable colour scheme, furniture, decorative items and accessories, and patterns to create the correct visual appearance. 

  • The interior designer will plan for the decoration process and do the work considering the budget. 

  • Request the client to check the materials, accessories, furniture, and more and get feedback on whether they like it. Alternatively, the designer may ask the client to pick these items. 

  • The designer must know how to create a space for a client by balancing colour scheme, furniture, lighting, fixture, and pattern. 

  • The designer must create a project timeline and share it with the client. While the design is under process, the specialist will update the client. 

  • The designer must know the latest interior décor style, themes, decorations, and colour schemes.



3. Qualifications To Become an Interior Designer in Australia


Aspiring interior designers need to fulfil interior design qualifications. A candidate who has completed an interior designing course from a recognized institute will have a better chance of finding a good-paying job


In addition, a candidate can go for a diploma in interior design, which will cover both the practical and theoretical aspects of the interior designing course.


Bachelor's degree in design and a Diploma in Interior Design are the two education options that one can go for. However, these days top interior designing firms look for similar qualifications; that's why ensure to complete at least a diploma to start your career as an interior designer.


If you want to go for a specialized profession, a Master of Design degree will be useful. A Master of Design can land you better jobs in different sectors, such as the film industry, textile design, kitchen design, etc.



4. Steps To Become an Interior Designer in Australia


Follow the below steps to launch your career in interior design:



Step 1: Get Qualified


Start by identifying the area within the interior designing industry that interests you. It is essential as different roles require different qualifications to pursue them.


Job Title Qualifications Required
Commercial or Residential Interior Designer

Interior Stylist

Colour Consultant
Diploma of Interior Design
Interiors Consultant for a retail store or supplier


Real Estate Staging Consultant

Project Manager
Advanced Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration
Sustainability Design Consultant

Exhibition Designer

Set Designer
Bachelor of Design


Almost all entry-level interior design training courses and degree programs are available to study online. Alternatively, consider enrolling in a trade school, interior design school, or local community college to learn technical skills and knowledge in interior design.



Step 2: Build Work Experience


Getting hired by an interior designing firm can be challenging without prior work experience. Most firms or clients want to see your work samples to determine whether your skill level matches their expectations.


To build industry experience, you may:


  • Undertake an internship in an interior design firm while studying. You will get work opportunities to create your portfolio to show potential employers.


  • Alternatively, you can work as an intern in a design firm, take classes, or earn a certification to gain the necessary practical design skills before seeking clients or roles.



Step 3: Advance Your Learning


Consider completing a postgraduate degree, like a Master of Design, to progress your skills and pursue a specialisation in this field.



Step 4: Engage in Self-Promotion


Most interior designers are solopreneurs or entrepreneurs. Whether you work for yourself or a firm, you must create a brand and self-promote your skills so that people approach you for your experience, inspiring ideas, and work.


Social media can be an excellent way to repost inspiration, upload your work samples, and create your brand. It will help you make your name in the market and source private clients. 



5. Types of Jobs Available For an Interior Designer In Australia



Interior Decorator


An interior decorator is responsible for defining the aesthetics of the completed space. The professional will discuss space planning, fixture option, finish, colour coordination, and layout planning.


They must also coordinate with vendors and contractors to select interior products, materials, and furniture.


The interior decorator has to ensure transparent communications with the client to meet the requirements. For example, some companies may ask for Adobe Photoshop and AutoCAD skills.



Junior Interior Designer


A junior designer will work with a senior designer and within a team, fulfilling a project's goal. The designer will assist with the design concepts and communicate with the clients, ensuring to meet their needs and requirements.


The professional will have to place orders for furniture, take care of the aesthetic specifications and client purchases, and maintain budget requirements. Junior designers must exhibit team player skills because they will work with multiple people.


For this job, a degree in architecture or interior design is required.



Furniture Designer


A furniture designing career is multi-faceted, much like other interior designing careers. They will be responsible for prototyping and building models. 


The clients can range from large corporations to individual people. Primarily, a furniture designer will be responsible for designing custom furniture for clients that will fit a space.


The designer may design furniture for showrooms, houses, offices, and commercial properties. Furniture designers have in-depth knowledge of carpentry designs, craftsmanship, and furniture architecture. 


The most common materials a furniture designer works with are textiles, fabric, metals, and wood.



Kitchen Designer


As the name suggests, a kitchen designer is someone responsible for the usefulness and aesthetics of the kitchen. They usually work with architectural designers and contractors to determine the kitchen floor planning.


A kitchen designer will design a kitchen in such a way that it enhances the look of the space and is practical so that people can move around easily. They must know the art of balancing functionality and design.


A client may already have a floor design and share it with the kitchen designer, or the kitchen designer does everything from scratch. Based on the client's requirements, a kitchen designer must work accordingly.



Exhibition Designer


Interior designers who work in historical sites, galleries, libraries, and museums are called exhibition designers. However, exhibition designers can also work for boutiques and retail stores.


They will have to prepare a specific theme for the exhibition and choose décor items accordingly.


They will have to assemble the equipment displayed in such a way that they look appealing. An exhibition designer must have additional certifications, such as 3D imaging and modular stand design.


Moreover, the exhibitor designer must have good knowledge of floor management.



Corporate Designer


Corporate designers create a practical and beautiful space for working professionals for a company. They incorporate practicality and aesthetics, keeping in mind their brand value. They may work for start-ups and small and even large corporate offices. 


However, no matter the corporate size, they are responsible for creating a functional and efficient space.


From the placement of the computer desks to creating cabins for the company, a corporate designer is responsible for all. The crux is to create a space that will allow the employees to work efficiently and become productive.



6. How To Apply For an Interior Designer Job In Australia?


Before applying for an interior design job in Australia, hone your expertise and get a relevant degree in interior design. This will help you showcase your skills.


Next, understand the core principles of interior design and keep yourself up-to-date about the latest interior design trends.


Then, create a resume highlighting your skills, qualifications, work experience (if any), and your objective about why you want to become an interior designer.


Once you are ready with the basics, you can look at online job portals to apply for interior design positions. Remember that some jobs may ask for job experience; if you are a fresher, look for jobs that hire freshers. Set your expectations right and take a look at the job responsibilities.


There are different types of interior designing jobs. Look for a job that you want to do and that will help you grow. Apply for multiple positions and not only for one. There are many companies in Australia that post interior designing job requirements online. 


You can also connect with recruitment agencies. They are well-connected and can help you find an interior designing job that pays well.



7. Interior Designer Salary in Australia


The median salary of an interior designer is AU $72,833 per year. For a newbie, the expected wage is AU$42,470. The highest salary, however, can go over AU$128,000.


The compensation depends on qualifications, work experience, skills, additional certifications, and job location.


For junior interior designers in Australia, the average salary typically ranges around AU$ 42,470. Those with approximately 4-9 years of experience in interior design can anticipate earning around AU$ 70,000 annually. Furthermore, professionals with ten or more years of experience can earn approximately AU$ 90,000 annually.


8. What Type of Interior Design Makes The Most Money?


An interior design degree opens up numerous opportunities for specialisation and diverse career paths. Below, you'll find a selection of roles in the industry, along with their respective national average salaries.


  • Set designer: $157,429 per year

  • 3D Modeller: AUD 127,253 per year 

  • Interior Decorator: AUD 125,026 per year

  • Interior Stylist: $111,106 per year

  • Junior Interior Designer: AUD 98,301 per year

  • Colour Consultant: $96,407 per year

  • Interior Design Consultant: $90,150 per year 

  • Retail Store Designer: AUD 89,924 per year

  • Commercial Interior Designer: AUD 67,789 per year

  • Lighting Designer: AUD 65,127 per year

  • Industrial Designer: AUD 62,914 per year 

  • Furniture Designer: AUD 60,000 per year

  • Exhibition Designer: AUD 58,190 per year

  • Kitchen Designer: AUD 57,808 per year



9. Benefits of Becoming an Interior Designer in Australia


An interior design career is ideal for those interested in designing who don't mind the challenges they often face while working. There will be specific requirements for different clients, and you must know how to satisfy every client with additional needs.


Moreover, there is a budget to take care of. If these things excite you, then yes, a career in interior design will be a good option for you. Check out some of the advantages of becoming an interior designer:


  • The interior design industry is growing by leaps and bounds in Australia. There is a huge requirement for skilled interior designers. For someone with the expertise, knowledge, education qualification, and creativity, this industry can offer you boundless potential.


  • As an interior designer, you will be responsible for the blank canvas, which is the space of a property. You have the freedom to decorate the space using your knowledge. And the challenge of creating a functional and appealing space can be very satisfying for many.


  • An interior designing career is not for everyone. This job is for you if you feel satisfied filling up a vacant space that caters to the client's requirements.


  • An interior designer's life is hard to predict. If you work for a showroom today, you could work for a residence tomorrow. You are responsible for deciding the wall paint, furniture, decorative items and accessories, and much more. The work lifestyle of an interior designer is always upbeat!



10. How Long Does It Take To Become an Interior Designer in Australia?


If you are going for a diploma in interior design, it will typically take two years. The course will be full-time. In the course, you will study space planning, furnishing, materials, colours, history of contemporary style and decorative arts.


But if you pursue a bachelor's degree in interior design, the course duration will be three years.



11. Does Interior Design Have a Good Future?


There has never been a better time to step in and turn your passion into an interior design career.


As people stayed indoors during the COVID, they have gotten tired of their homes and are looking for a refresher. Due to increasing demand for well-made interior spaces, the need for construction and renovations has skyrocketed over the last quarter in Australia.


With exponential growth estimated in the interior design market, there is strong future potential for Interior designers, particularly those that use technology and software for e-designing.


According to Labour Market Insights, the government expects a 19.1% job growth rate by creating 4300 new jobs in the interior design industry between 2021 and 2026. Over this period, the number of workers will likely increase from 22,800 in 2021 to 27,200 in 2026.


Also, the industry's interior designers with relevant design degrees are much more highly regarded. So, investing time in getting qualified will make you more employable.



12. Is Interior Design a Good Career in Australia?


Suppose you are artistic with personal ingenuity and seeking a creative career. In that case, you will find an interior designing profession highly fulfilling.


The job lets your creativity shine while paving new roads to specialise and pursue diverse and exciting career paths.


Here are some convincing reasons that make pursuing a career in interior design worthwhile:


  • It is a perfect profession to show off and nourish your artistic expressions and creativity while making a living off your passion.

  • Interior designing is a continuously progressing industry with a robust future job outlook in Australia.

  • You get ample scope to specialise in what you love doing: Sustainable design, kitchen design, commercial interior design, film and television design, lighting design

  • You can travel abroad or work with acclaimed overseas designers, companies, artists, and professionals.

  • The interior design sector has numerous residential, corporate, business, and events domains. The industry offers endless potential for people with relevant skills, expertise, and ingenuity.

  • The ability to convert spaces that enhances people's lives and bring their visions to life makes the professional emotionally satisfying. 

  • The profession also offers great earning potential. Though you may make a modest salary in the initial stages of your career, as your reputation as an interior designer expands, you can advance your role and salary. 

  • Exciting and varied work is another advantage of pursuing the role of an interior designer.  

  • Working with other people passionate about this industry, such as decorators, suppliers, and tradespeople, makes the creative process an incredibly fulfilling, informative, and captivating experience.

  • You will find career advancement opportunities by pursuing multiple career paths in retail design, residential design, corporate design, or visual merchandising. 

  • As more and more people realise the benefits of hiring interior designers to create inspiring and creative spaces, the popularity of the interior design industry is continuing to grow in leaps and bounds. 


It leads to boundless possibilities for interior designers to activate their creative muscles and become part of exciting projects worldwide.



13. Frequently Asked Questions FAQs



Do Interior Designers Make Good Money in Australia?


The starting salary of entry-level professionals at a design firm and early-stage business owners could be higher. However, your earnings can increase significantly if you commit wholeheartedly to the design industry and build experience and expertise.


Interior designers in Australia make a base salary of $44,000 to 74,000 a year, along with hefty bonuses and commissions. It is a stable income that can fully sustain you long-term. If employed by a large design firm, they may also earn additional benefits, like health insurance etc.


Furthermore, the profession gives a good scope to specialise and grow your salary throughout your career.



What is The Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decorating?


Interior designers and Interior decorators are often used interchangeably; however, both roles differ in skill sets and expectations.





There is no standard program defined for Interior decorators. They usually have a Certificate IV or Diploma in Interior Decoration. Interior designers, on the other hand, complete a bachelor's or associate's qualification in interior design, architecture, or a related field like a Bachelor of Interior Design.


Interior designers require more education than interior decorators because they provide more advanced expertise and are more practically involved in the overall design or renovation project.





Interior decorators are primarily involved in curating and designing spaces. Interior designers do the same but are responsible for creating functional and elegant spaces. The interior designer uses their creative flair to work per their client's aesthetic and functional expectations.


Additionally, Interior decorators primarily work on redecoration projects that don't need considerable building and repairs. Interior designers often work on large-scale projects focusing on visual and functional aspects.





Interior designers require additional skills such as knowledge of building codes and regulations and technology integration into their designs. These skills help them complete complex projects and create specialised designs and sustainable and accessible interiors.





Due to being involved in more complex projects and specialised designs, Interior designers earn more than interior decorators. According to PayScale, the average salary for an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator is AU$60,177 and AU$55,000, respectively.



Is Interior Design a Low-Stress Job?


Interior designing may also cause you stress due to the following reasons:


  1. Full-time interior designers spend around 45 hours per week at work. Working in a busy schedule with long and unsociable hours can be stressful. 

  2. Besides their core designing work, they also require to do administrative tasks. Juggling with numerous tasks at once can be exhausting. 

  3. Interior designers may encounter demanding clients with unrealistic expectations and disagree with your selection. Dealing with them and managing their expectations with decorum and patience is a significant challenge. 

  4. Working with contractors, subcontractors, or vendors who are tough to work with may also contribute to burnout. 

  5. Due to intense competition, promoting your business and skills as an interior design business to get the first few projects when starting can be mentally demanding. 

  6. Another big headache for interior designers is managing several aspects of their business, including costs, vendor delivery schedules, supply chain issues, labour shortages, coordination with vendors and subcontractors, deadlines, fast turnarounds, and admin work.

  7. A low salary at the initial stage of your career or business is also a challenge.



Do Interior Designers Have To Work With People A Lot?


Yes. The role of Interior design is more than just design work; it is people-pleasing work.


  • Your day-to-day schedule involves a lot of collaborative communication with suppliers, contractors, sub-contractors, and vendors. 

  • You must communicate with your current clients to address their needs effectively, match their expectations, and make them feel comfortable and reassured throughout the design process.

  • Interior designers may also require to constantly interact with their design and architectural team to ensure the project is on track at all development stages. 

  • Additionally, you often meet with potential clients to secure future projects.



Is Interior Design a Skill or Talent?


Interior designers are creative professionals with excellent design skills and creative talent. You need both to bring your client's vision into reality while maintaining consistency and cohesion.


Great people skills are also inevitable in developing reliable and respectful relationships with each client and succeeding in the interior design industry.


Interior design is ideal for showcasing your unique skills and talent, embracing your passion, achieving your fullest potential, and making money.



Is It Hard to Succeed in Interior Design?


Interior design is an undoubtedly challenging industry where you will likely face difficulties finding the right vendors and suppliers, meeting clients' expectations, ensuring quality control throughout the supply chain, and bringing down project costs.


Seeking mentorships and connecting with other interior designers to exchange ideas and share meaningful conversations will help make your professional journey easy and fulfilling.


Suppose you are keen to work hard and sharpen your skills throughout your career. In that case, nothing can stop you from becoming a successful interior designer.



What Is The Most Difficult Part of Being an Interior Designer?


As an interior designer, cost and time management are the hardest to deal with. Working with clients with massive expectations and wanting luxurious designs at an economical price is mentally draining.


Secondly, working long hours that leads to lesser projects and low salary makes it difficult for interior designers.



Can an Introvert be an Interior Designer?


Yes. Introverts make great interior designers as they have all the essential attributes required to work in this profession.


They are creative, imaginative, focused, good listeners, good problem-solvers, and detail-oriented individuals with a strong sense of style. All these qualities help them develop beautiful, functional, and unique designs that impress their clients.


However, there are some drawbacks of an introverted nature in the Interior designing profession:


Due to their less outgoing nature, they may need more communication skills. However, it doesn't mean they cannot pursue this career option.


  • Solution: Undertaking some personality development courses and practising communicating with colleagues and clients a bit more can help them become effective communicators.



Introverts may find it tough to network with people and promote their talent and skills across them.


  • Solution: One of the ways to solve this drawback is to join professional organisations, attend industry events, and participate in online forums. All these initiatives will give you more opportunities to build a strong network of industry contacts and find potential clients.



Is It Hard To Be an Interior Designer?


When planning to pursue a career in Interior Designing, knowing the negatives of interior design is essential:


  • Different clients have varying expectations and budgets, which makes it harder for designers to stick to them.

  • Adapting to e-designing or digital design processes to create floor plans, source furniture online, scale rooms, meet clients, etc., can be difficult for most interior designers who have been doing these tasks physically till now.

  • Selling design Ideas is another big challenge that designers face when trying to get their ideas across to clients.

  • Staying updated on the latest design trends and introducing trendy designs while sustaining a timeless style is a tricky aspect of this profession.

  • From physically sourcing materials and creating plans to coordinating with clients and the team, an interior designer's role is highly time-consuming and requires a lot of multitasking.

  • Dealing with lengthy paperwork such as accounting, time tracking, invoicing, and filing receipts can take much time and energy. 

  • Delays caused due to labour shortages and supply chain issues can adversely impact your interior designing career.

  • Getting your first break in this competitive industry can be challenging if you have yet to build a reputation. It takes time to get yourself known among people and make a profit. 

  • The profession is lucrative for well-established people who have mastered their art. However, as an entry-level professional, you may need help to earn a decent income. You might even require working for free to establish your presence in the employment market.

  • Interior designing is highly technical and may require you to gain mastery in various technical skills such as, sketching, using CAD and 3D modelling software to create 3D visualisations to present design concepts to clients, digital imaging, measuring spaces, calculating amounts of wallpaper and tiles required and more.

  • Most interior designers find it tough to scale a room flawlessly as scaling demands a good eye and experience. 



Can I Teach Myself Interior Design?


Consider taking online Interior design courses. We have listed some here:



Undergraduate Certificate in Interior Design – Curtin University


It is the foundation-level interior design course that helps you explore the role of the interior architect.



Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration – Torrens University


The course gives you a hands-on introduction to the interior design industry. You will develop residential and commercial skills and learn about materials and finishes, design processes, and popular software such as AutoCAD and SketchUp.



Diploma of Design – Torrens University


It is the ideal design course to launch your career in the interior design industry. It gives you an overview of graphic design, interiors, digital media, and fashion while offering access to the design community.



Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Interior Design (Residential) – Torrens University

This course explores the core theoretical and practical elements of residential interior design. It also develops entrepreneurial skills and industry experience to succeed in business.



Bachelor of Interior Design (Commercial) – Torrens University


This qualification teaches you about designing interiors for offices, hotels, and other commercial spaces. It discusses lighting, sustainability branding, and using industry-standard software and helps you build a diverse design portfolio.



Associate Degree of Interior Design (Residential) - Torrens University


This course teaches about techniques, form, and technology in residential interior design. Expand your creative network and portfolio using industry-standard software like Adobe Suite and SketchUp Pro.


If the interior designing course is a good fit for you, go for it. Good luck!


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