Furniture designer

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Furniture designers create designs for mass-produced furniture, furniture made in small batches and one-off pieces.

Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000

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How to become a furniture designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • furniture and product design
  • 3D design crafts
  • interior design

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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College

You could start by doing a college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Furniture Design and Making.

This would teach you some of the skills you’ll need and could help you to get a job as a design assistant with a furniture making company.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You could get into this career through a furniture design technician, bespoke furniture maker or furniture product developer advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

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Career tips

You’ll need to keep a portfolio of work to showcase your design skills to potential employers or customers.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Chartered Society of Designers to get access to professional development training, technical advice and information about setting up your own business.

Further information

You can get more advice about working in furniture design from Creative Choices.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • carrying out research to develop ideas
  • working to a plan or ‘brief’ agreed with the client
  • producing new designs or improving existing ones
  • working out costs, practicality and availability of materials
  • preparing sketches for ideas, by hand or using computer software
  • testing ideas using models, prototypes and computer aided design (CAD)
  • working with manufacturers on the production process

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, from home or in a workshop.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a more senior design position, or into a specialised area, like ergonomics.

You could also set up your own design consultancy.