A Furniture Designer makes furniture, home accessories and related products. They generally oversee the whole design process; from establishing user requirements to the production and presentation of the final product.
The products could be intended for both homes and businesses, produced either in small batches or as part of a large-scale production intended for the national and international markets.
Some Furniture Designers may only be responsible for a specific part of the production process, i.e. designing the product, and other professionals would be responsible for the other parts of the production process, i.e. manufacturing, testing, marketing and distribution.
Designers often work in a large team focusing on numerous areas such as fabric choices and colours as well as working with professionals who specialise in areas such as product functionality and market research.
Most professionals working in this role are based for the majority of time in workshops or studios.
Certain travel will be required as part of the job; meeting clients at various locations, holding meetings with suppliers to discuss costing, and attending trade shows to ensure that they are up to date on developments within the industry.
Working hours for this position are often irregular. Designers work at least the normal working hours (9-5, Monday to Friday), but are often expected to be flexible with overtime; late night and weekend work may be required to meet strict deadlines. This is particularly true for those who are self-employed as they would also be putting in the extra hours for business administration, marketing and budgeting.
The starting salary for this position is around £16,000, increasing to £25,000 and above with relevant work experience and a good portfolio. Well-known and independent designers can earn much higher.
Many Furniture Designers are freelance; working independently and selling their designs to large manufacturing companies. As a result, their income may fluctuate sharply throughout the year depending on demand and work availability.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
It is not a formal entry requirement to have a degree to enter this role. However, with growing demand many employers increasingly look for individuals who have obtained design-related degrees, particularly favouring degrees in the following areas:
Design and craft training courses also support a strong application.
The majority of employers will also ask to see a portfolio highlighting any work that the applicant has undertaken in their studies or career to date.
Many Furniture Designers with the correct experience within the role become self-employed, giving them the opportunity to be their own boss and control their own hours and income.
Others may become Senior Designers or Product Managers, overseeing more junior members of the team. Moving from working in small studios to larger organizations is another way in which professionals can advance their careers, opening up new opportunities for themselves.
According to government statistics, jobs in this and closely-related roles are projected to grow by 5.3% over the period to 2024 (Source: LMI for All).
Charted Society of Designers