Furniture designers develop styles inspired from different eras and contemporary furniture and storage solutions for home living and dining rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and a variety of work and leisure spaces, including offices, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, schools, colleges and universities.
Furniture designers may work on a self-employed basis to create individually crafted pieces to meet customer requirements or may work for companies who design and sell furniture to develop designs for products such as tables, chairs and seating, beds and cupboards using computer aided design software.
Health, safety and quality standards are very important and testing materials and prototypes is an important part of the process. Some furniture may incorporate mechanical and electrical elements and finding the most effective, safe and cost effective solutions is key.
Duties may include:
- meeting clients to discuss design requirements, budgets and timescales
- designing and development of prototypes
- researching trends and design concepts, including competitor analysis and market research
- creating new designs using drawings and design software
- using machinery and techniques to work with different materials
- presenting ideas
- communicating designs to suppliers
- handcrafting products
- visiting suppliers to oversee design and large scale production process
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for furniture designers
- creative and imaginative
- strong design, drawing and joinery skills
- strong knowledge of period and contemporary design
- excellent IT skills, computer aided design software, such as Auto CAD 2, Solidworks and Lectra
- ability to use specialised equipment
- commercial awareness, good understanding of the industry and competitors
- knowledge and understanding of safety and quality policies and procedures
- ability to translate designs into products
- good team player
- ability to communicate confidently and effectively
- highly organised, with the ability to manage deadlines and costs
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of furniture designers
- design studios
- interior designers
- furniture designers and retailers
- department retailers
- colleges and universities
England and Wales
Qualifications and training required
Creativity and the ability to problem solve is a key requirement to become a Furniture designer.
Apprenticeships may be offered by some companies. Some specialist colleges and universities offer level 2 or 3 course, one year art foundation and degree/ masters in furniture or industrial design. You may also find work with an HNC or HND in furniture design.
In Scotland you can take a degree in 3D Design or product design with an option in furniture design. Entry requirements are general four Highers including English and Art & Design as well as a portfolio demonstrating relevant ability. You may also find work with an HNC or HND in furniture design. Entry requirements for these courses are normally two Highers.