As an artist, do you wish to integrate the aesthetics of your design with its functional and technical aspects? As a designer, do you want to design everyday life objects in more unique ways than usual? Furniture Designing might be the answer. A relatively new field, it breaks away from all conventional career paths and requires a perfect amalgamation of design, craftsmanship, and fashion. A highly creative field, furniture designing can be quite rewarding as well. Everyday objects from beds, couches, shelves to tables and chairs can become a three-dimensional canvas to showcase your creativity on.

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Beoming a Furniture Designer_©Shutterstock

What is Furniture Design as a Career?

Furniture Designers innovate, create, execute, and test their products to be comfortable, functional, durable, and aesthetic. They also need to work closely with their clients or manufacturers, understanding their needs and requirements, to ensure their designs serve the user the best. Along with the user’s needs, a furniture designer needs to design according to the latest market trends, manufacturing prices, and basic ergonomics

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Brian Kane, a designer in his Studio_©Winni Wintermeyer

From the structure of the design to the colors, materials, upholstery, and patterns, everything needs to be decided by the designer. A design’s journey from a simple sketch to the actual realization is not a simple process but a back and forth between the designer and client to achieve the best possible design. 

Though the duties might vary according to various projects, some responsibilities of a furniture designer might include:

  • Innovating, creating, visualizing, and explaining the design concepts
  • Understanding the employer/ client’s needs 
  • Designing exterior and interior furnishings
  • Communicating and explaining all design changes to clients
  • Testing, enhancing, and updating existing designs (using computer models or physical prototypes) 
  • Developing a realizable budget for materials and construction
  • Training a production team if specialized construction 
  • Market research to get customer reviewers, to inspire, improve and innovate new designs
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Desiging as Furniture Designer_©NDA

What Skills and Qualifications are Needed?

Furniture Design is a creative field open to everyone with a passion for art and design. Even though anyone can pursue a career, furniture designers tend to hold bachelor’s degrees in relevant fields such as product, interior, and industrial design or architecture to understand designing better. In some rare cases, some might even opt for certificate programs in furniture design. Even with the qualifications, it is the skills that matter the most in a field like furniture design. Along with creativity and technical aptitude, one needs to have design skills, communication skills, sketching ability with strong three-dimensional visualization ability, spatial understanding, and some computer skills as well. 

These skills can be developed through various training and courses. With the right skill set, a furniture designer also needs a portfolio to showcase their best works and experience in the field. Anyone can be successful as a professional furniture designer with skills, experience, and a strong portfolio.

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Typical day of working as furniture designer_©Stocksy

The Working conditions and environment for a Furniture Designer

The working environment in the field of furniture design can vary depending on the project and clients. A furniture designer may work with a large-scale manufacturer to mass-produce a design or with a client to create a custom piece based on their unique demands or even make one’s own design. Depending on such factors, the working conditions for a designer might vary a lot. 

A freelancer would be working alone in a studio, whereas a designer working with a manufacturer or interior designer would be in constant communication and regular meetings. The usual time of a furniture designer is spent designing and understanding the user’s needs. Working hours in the field are not fixed and sometimes might be unusually long. There also can be added stress and pressure as the clients change their designs again and again. 

Usually, a furniture designer can also be found at factories, other than offices and studios, helping in the manufacturing of unique pieces of design. Some aspects of the working conditions might also vary for every individual depending on personal choices as well.

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Vitra Museum of Chair Design on 200 year old history_©ArchDaily

The Future Prospects of furniture design

Furniture design is a growing field. In modern times, as the standard of living improves around the world, the importance of interior and furniture designing is increasing as well. The demand for more unique and artistic furniture is going to increase in the coming years. Today, globally, a furniture designer might earn around $58,000 per year, varying according to the number of clients, projects, size of manufacture, and experience. 

Countries like Italy and France are renowned for wooden furniture designs around the world but in the age of globalization, there are many global brands as well; all providing a platform for upcoming furniture designers to experiment and create something unique.

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Furniture Models_©NDA

Online Courses to get you started in Furniture Design

Want to begin your furniture design career today? Here is a list of beginner-level online courses that anyone can pursue sitting right at the comfort of their home. 

  • Furniture Design and Construction for Beginners (Domestika Course, by Patricio Ortega)

Language: English and Spanish
Duration: 5 hours 18 mins
Available in English and Spanish, the course will teach students about designing, planning, and building wooden furniture. Along with the basic steps, it will help the individual understand and identify their own style. Learn More: https://www.domestika.org/en/courses/1328-furniture-design-and-construction-for-beginners   

  • Furniture Design Foundation (Pratt Institute)

Language: English
Duration: 2 months (October 2, 2021, to December 4, 2021)
An online studio session, this certified course would include live lectures, working sessions, critiques, and reviews. The students would design and model their furniture through innovation and testing. They will learn about furniture formulation, construction, and manufacturing. Learn More: https://www.enrole.com/prattscps/jsp/course.jsp?courseId=XCSI-313&categoryId=4A001EC8 

  • Furniture Design for Beginners (University Arts London)

Language: English
Duration: 6 weeks
It is A certified online course for students and professionals wanting to revisit their basics. It will include how to analyze the consumer and market, understanding various materials and techniques, creating technical production drawings, and producing a finished scale model of the design. Learn More: https://www.arts.ac.uk/subjects/3d-design-and-product-design/short-courses/furniture/furniture-design-for-beginners-online-short-course-csm  

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Design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh at Willow Tearooms_©Culture Trip

Still in need of some inspiration? Throughout the twentieth century, many leading designers have transformed the field of furniture design into a form of art that later inspired many. Designers like Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Llyod Wright, Charlotte Perriand amongst many more, developed iconic styles with their daring and bold designs which were beyond their eras. 

With such inspirations, how about starting your furniture design journey today? Let this article be the first step towards the making of the next successful, world-renowned Furniture Designer.

References

  • Gabellone, A. (2018). 11 Iconic Furniture Designers Of The 20th Century And Beyond. [online]. Available at: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/articles/11-iconic-furniture-designers-of-the-20th-century-and-beyond/ [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  • Ranawat, L. (2020). 3 steps to make a promising career in the furniture industry. India Today. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/jobs-and-careers/story/3-steps-to-make-a-promising-career-in-the-furniture-industry-1748985-2020-12-12 [Accessed at 14 August 2021].
  • Careers State University. Furniture Design Job Description. [online]. Available at: https://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/8018/Furniture-Designer.html [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  • Daevas Design (2016). The Future of Furniture Design and Tech. [online]. Available at: http://www.daevasdesign.com/future-furniture-design-tech/ [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  • Indeed Career Guide (2021). How to Become a Furniture designer. [online]. Available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-furniture-designer [Accessed 14 August 2021].
  • Chainani, N. (2018). The art of furniture design. The Hindu. Available at: https://www.thehindu.com/education/the-art-of-furniture-design/article25751634.ece [Accessed at 12 August 2021].
  • My World of Works, (n.d.). Furniture Design. [online]. Available at: https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/my-career-options/job-profiles/furniture-designer [Accessed 14 August 2021].
  • Study.com (2020). Become a Furniture Designer: Education and Career Roadmap. [online]. Available at: https://study.com/articles/Become_a_Furniture_Designer_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html [Accessed 12 August 2021].
Author

Trying to explore architecture and design with words and a fresh perspective, Rashi is still a student in her Undergrad. Her curiosity drives her to learn new things in life while her passion for writing makes her capture her experiences in her play of words.

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