Furniture designers are professional artists who create furnishings to be used and enjoyed. If you’ve looked at a chair or table and thought you could design it so much better, or have a fancy for architecture, a career as a furniture designer may be a good fit.
Furniture creation has been an art form for hundreds of years. Historically, many furniture designers created pieces for the aristocracy and nobility. Today, furniture makers design for the masses, creating dressers, beds, sofas, and many other pieces for modern homes, apartments, offices and more.
Furniture designers are proficient in designing and creating furnishings, taking into consideration both functionality and fashion.
They design both exterior and interior furnishings, often keeping in mind things like customer preferences, sustainability, ergonomics, and practicality. On any given day designers will work with clients producing new and unique designs or improving existing designs, forecasting and budgeting, testing new ideas using prototypes or models, preparing detailed final designs after alterations or improvements have been made, and carrying out research to develop new ideas and drawings.
Furniture designers are creative and practical.
They have excellent drawing skills, as well as a thorough knowledge of computer design software. Designers have an eye for grids and patterns, an understanding of layout, plot drawings and plans, good communication and listening skills, and spatial design skills as they relate to dimension and structure.
Like all artists, furniture designers must possess a keen sense of aesthetic beauty and a good eye for detail. These skills enable them to take a project from inception to completion, mixing beauty with practicality to create furnishings that are both functional and comfortable.
Ability to draw and conceptualize three-dimensional objects is also very important in this field. Furniture designers must be able to work with a variety of different materials like wood, metal, fabric, and paper and pencil.
Many furniture designers also find computer skills to be helpful for creating an online portfolio, applying for jobs, and working with design software.
Furniture designers who work for large companies should develop industry connections in order to advance their careers and find placement with a company of their choice. Creating a website, online portfolio, and LinkedIn page may help artists to develop these connections and stay tuned-in to opportunities in this career field. Designers who work for small businesses or as independent contractors may also benefit from an online portfolio or website but may rely more heavily on face-to-face customer interactions and word of mouth.
Furniture designer’s portfolios often start simple. For students, portfolios may include drawings and photographs that show a basic progression from an early method to a more mature style, and a better understanding of materials used in furniture design. Mature artists will fill their portfolio with images of completed products, showing a range of styles and materials. It’s very important for the portfolio to include quality photographs in order to capture quality and level of detail. Online portfolios are becoming more common. Students may choose to use an online portfolio service to simplify the process, while professionals may create their own website.