Furniture designers create designs for mass-produced furniture, furniture made in small batches and one-off pieces.
Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000
How to become a furniture designer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
- furniture and product design
- 3D design crafts
- interior design
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
You may need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could get into this career through a furniture design technician, bespoke furniture maker or furniture product developer advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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.
You can get more advice about working in furniture design from Creative Choices.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
What you’ll do
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
You could work in a creative studio, from home or in a workshop.
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.