What is an interior designer

The interior designer - you should know that!

“Oh, you can do that too?” I heard from a customer on one of my last projects. It became clear to me once again that the profession of interior designer is still a mystery to many. Everyone knows what an architect does, but it becomes more difficult to define it with an interior designer.
Many believe that the interior designer simply moves furniture in the room and hangs up one or the other beautiful picture. It's about so much more ...

What does an interior designer do?

An interior designer designs rooms and surfaces that satisfy the customer's needs for aesthetics, functionality and security. The interior designer uses a large set of tools for this:

  • Furniture (selection and placement)
  • decoration
  • Color selection
  • Lighting design (direct and indirect)
  • Room layout / creation of new rooms
  • plants
  • Functional elements

Thanks to these diverse design options, all types and shapes of rooms can be served. From the renovated apartment in an old building to unusual shop concepts (retail design) in retail to feel-good offices in which the employees enjoy working.

The needs of the customer are always in the foreground, as there are no uniform solutions for something as personal as your own four walls. For this reason, interior design projects always start with a needs analysis that works out the needs of the customer. Here, for example, the way of life or family situation play a major role in the design of your own home. In office planning, workflows, processes and employee communication flow into the analysis. This ensures that in the end the rooms are not only designed aesthetically but also functionally.

Duties of an interior designer

  • Needs analyzes / workshops with customers
  • Room concepts
  • Design concepts
  • Visualizations
  • Work out drafts
  • Material and furniture selection
  • Supplier selection
  • Project management (schedules, budget tracking ...)
  • Cost calculations
  • Building permits (e.g. changes in use)
  • Site supervision
  • Coordination of the trades

How do I become an interior designer?

In Germany, the term interior designer is protected by law. You can only call yourself an interior designer if you are registered in the Chamber of Architects. To do this, you need a master's degree or diploma in interior design and must have been in the profession for two to three years beforehand. 14 universities currently offer the course (a complete list can be found here)

However, you can work in an (interior) architecture office without being registered with the Chamber of Architects. Often you will get the title of “planner” or “interior designer” here.

Interior designer vs. interior designer

As mentioned above, the interior designer is not a protected term. So everyone can bear this title, regardless of what training was previously completed.

Interior designer vs. architect

I am often asked whether a normal architect can do the job of an interior designer. In principle, this is certainly also possible, but the architect will always have a different focus. The interior plays a subordinate role here. The architect is a different trade and therefore also a different area of ​​knowledge. The architect has to deal with so many other structural issues that he won't have the time to deal with the interior in detail. It just isn't his job to do that.
The architect is the master of the outer shell, while the interior designer fills the interior. While the architect plans from the outside in, the interior designer plans from the inside out.


You can find more information about interior design on the website of the Association of German Interior Architects.