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Furniture Designer Job Description, Career as a Furniture Designer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Bachelor’s degree

Average Salary $58,000 per year

Job Outlook Good

Basic Job Description

Furniture designers specialize in designing furniture for manufacturers. They design couches, chairs, tables, shelves, and decorative accents for furniture pieces. They have knowledge of design trends, competitive prices and the ability to meet specific needs of manufacturers and other clients. Furniture designers are a type of artist, as they must be able to look over the requests of a manufacturing company and draw out a structure and design that they believe will fit their needs. They can also determine the types of equipment, upholstery, patterns and colors that need to be used in order to create a piece of furniture. Designers can also take old pieces of furniture and design a way to restore it and update the look of it to fit with current trends.

Education and Training Requirements

There is no specific degree for someone who wants to work as a furniture designer. Most designers will get a degree in interior design to learn about physical appeal of furniture, color trends, and keeping up with new trends. Many furniture designers also work with computer equipment to create blueprints and design structures, so many designers may take courses on graphic design as well.

Furniture designers will usually start off working for a furniture manufacturing company or furniture store to gain an understanding of furniture trends and design aspects. Manufacturers are also in the know about furniture design workshops, seminars and specific training courses so someone who plans to become a designer may benefit from attending some of these.

Getting the Job

Furniture designers must enjoy working in a creative environment at all times and have an extreme eye for detail. Designers must also be able to draw out sketches of designs or use computer programs that are able to create an effective design.

Furniture designers must also be able to communicate well with the manufacturer to understand exactly what type of design they are looking for in a product. They should be able to quickly create a rough draft of a blueprint to show the manufacturer so they can look over the designer’s basic idea and let them know of any changes. Designers must also keep in constant communication with designers throughout the entire process to make sure they are giving them the product they want.

Furniture designers must possess an eye for detail and manual dexterity in order to safely operate tools and machinery and create a quality product. Designers will work with many different types of materials including wood, suede, leather, canvas, and metal fixtures and embellishments to create hinges or hold the furniture together. Designers can take classes to increase their knowledge of these materials and learn new tips and techniques on how to properly handle them.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Furniture designers are often self-employed or work in a design factory that designs furniture for several different manufacturers. Self-employed designers will often attend craft fairs or exhibitions to promote their services and find out new products that are emerging onto the market. Once a furniture designer has been working for awhile and has created quality products for a manufacturer, they may gain more clients who are looking for products similar to what they have to offer.

Furniture designers may even move on to opening their own furniture store that sells products they have designed and created. If the designer is also skilled in restoring old furniture, they might even purchase old pieces of furniture to restore and sell as vintage pieces. There is a big market for vintage products, and designers may be able to take advantage of it using their skill.

Employment outlook is not expected to increase or decrease over the next several years. Many furniture designers are part of the baby boomer generation and are looking to retire, so there may be a need to replace designers in these instances. Interior design companies may also want a furniture designer to work closely with their company in order to provide unique, custom pieces to clients who have a specific look they want to achieve in their house.

Working Conditions and Environment

Work environment for furniture designers is variable according to who they work with and the type of work they perform. If a designer is self-employed, they may spend a lot of their time working in an office on a computer where they will draw up design sketches and blueprints. Some designers will work with interior designers and manufacturers, so they will be in constant communication with others throughout the workday. When designers are not drawing and creating designs, they are meeting with clients and manufacturers to take notes on exactly what they are looking for. During the process, designers will often hold meetings several times a week to catch up on progress and communicate about whether or not the design is suiting what the client needs.

Furniture designers often work long or unusual hours to finish up a design. A manufacturer or client may contact a designer last minute to request a design, and the designer may only have a short period of time to complete it. In these cases, designers will need to be able to work effectively under pressure and under a potentially high-stress environment. Designers also need to be comfortable getting their hands dirty and working with a variety of materials. It is not uncommon for a designer to go through a factory and help piece together what is needed to create a quality piece of furniture.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a furniture designer is about $58,000 per year. Salaries vary according to the number of clients a designer has and the size of the manufacturers and companies they work with.

If a designer works for one specific manufacturer or company as part of their team, they may receive health insurance benefits as well as vacation and sick time. Self-employed furniture designers will have to purchase their own insurance and revolve vacation and sick leave around the needs of their clients.

Where to Go for More Information

Custom Furniture Design
50 De Haro Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 431-1551

American Society of Furniture Designers
144 Woodland Drive
New London, NC 28127
(910) 576-1273
International Furniture and Design Association

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production