Interior Designer Kaitātai o-Roto

Interior designers plan, design, decorate and furnish spaces in residential, commercial, retail and leisure environments.

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Interior designers may do some or all of the following:

  • discuss design ideas and provide advice to clients
  • analyse clients' requirements
  • plan and design building interiors, rooms, shops, and residential and leisure spaces
  • plan interior infrastructure such as lighting, air-conditioning and communication cabling
  • prepare drawings, samples and decorating instructions
  • advise on hiring tradespeople
  • design furniture or fittings
  • buy and arrange furniture and fittings
  • work with architects and other contractors.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for interior designers includes:

  • any work related to rebuilding or refitting building interiors
  • industrial design or other design work
  • architecture or architectural draughting work.

Personal Qualities

Interior designers need to be:

  • imaginative and creative
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good communicators
  • persuasive and able to negotiate
  • able to relate to a wide range of people
  • able to inspire confidence in their clients
  • able to accept criticism.


Interior designers need to have knowledge of:

  • past and present styles of architecture, design and decorating
  • interior materials such as paint, fabrics and glass
  • building regulations
  • how to analyse a client's requirements and create a design to fit
  • design, drawing and presentation skills.


Interior designers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines
  • work in design studios and on-site at private, public and commercial properties.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include history of art, design and visual communication (graphics), maths, physics, and painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking combined.

Interior Designers can earn around $55K-$95K per year.

Pay for interior designers varies depending on experience and where they work.

  • Interior designers with up to seven years' experience usually earn between $55,000 and $95,000 a year.
  • Senior interior designers with more than seven years' experience can earn between $90,000 and $120,000.

Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide FY 22-23', 2022.

Interior designers may progress to set up their own interior design business, or move into management roles.

Interior designers may specialise in:

  • commercial or residential work
  • colour consulting
  • feng shui design
  • kitchens
  • lighting
  • room styling
  • home staging for real estate sales.

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become an interior designer. However, employers usually prefer you to have a Bachelor's degree in interior architecture, interior design, industrial design or spatial design.

Interior Designer