What does a Home Designer do?

Erin J. Hill

A home designer is someone who draws plans or sketches of potential houses in order for them to be built. There are two main types of designer. Architects draw blueprints, or detailed plans, which include dimensions and other specifics used by contractors to build the home. These plans usually include a floor plan and outside view. Other designers only draw the physical characteristics of a home or room without including detailed plans on how to build the home.

The work of a home designer will include the floor plans of a house.
The work of a home designer will include the floor plans of a house.

The most widely known type of home designer is the architect. These are professionals who use specialized tools to draw and plan the appearance and dimensions of a home or building. Formerly, they used drafting materials like paper, pencil, protractors, and rulers to design the homes. Today, they use specially designed software applications to plan homes faster and more accurately.

Home designers interpret blueprints drafted by an architect.
Home designers interpret blueprints drafted by an architect.

Other home designer professionals focus on drawing the physical aspects of the house, including the exterior and rooms. This can include interior decorators who are trained to sketch specific rooms and have a good eye for color coordination, furniture placement, and decor items. When designing a new home or building, this type of designer may work hand in hand with an architect to ensure that his or her design ideas are structurally possible. Sometimes the same person can do both.

Some home designer professionals focus only on drawing the physical aspects of a home.
Some home designer professionals focus only on drawing the physical aspects of a home.

In some areas a home designer will be required to get specialized training. This is especially true for architects. This can range from a certification program to a four-year college degree. Sometimes they can be self-taught on using the correct software, although many employers prefer those with some college classes completed.

Salaries for a home designer vary based on education level, location, experience, and type of work. Most can earn a very good living, especially those who work for large firms or who are self-employed. Many times an experienced architect or designer can work from home using their own computer. This makes it a flexible career option.

The demand for home designers is higher in some areas than in others. How much work there is to go around will depend heavily on the real estate market at any given time, and how quickly contractors need new home designs. Many designers also work on commercial buildings, as these often need new designs more frequently than homes. Some designers may create their designs on “spec,” meaning they sell their designs after they have been drawn. This allows them to sell the same home design to many different clients.

Some home designers sell the same building plans to several different clients.
Some home designers sell the same building plans to several different clients.

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Discussion Comments

Drentel

@Feryll - The home design software you are talking about is a good way for people to get an idea of what goes into designing a house, or any type of building. However, using the software does not make you a professional designer.

There are some aspects of building and structural design that have to be seen in real time to be fully appreciated. Also, there is nothing that equals the experience of a professional when it comes to handling all of the small and not so small problems you will encounter on a building site. What works on the computer software doesn't always translate to the real world.

Feryll

My girlfriend watches home improvement and home renovation shows on TV, and I have gotten into the habit of watching them, too. I noticed the cool graphics they use on one of the shows to demonstrate what repairs and changes could be made to a house and to show how the house would look after renovations.

At first, I thought this was just a program the people on the show had. After doing some research, I have found several types of home design software that will let you take control of every stage of creating and designing your house. And there are also interior design software.

Basically, you can be in control of every aspect of the way your house looks. With the home design software, you can do everything, but actually build the house.

Laotionne

I don't have a good enough understanding of structural design to be an architectural home designer, but I think it would fun to be able to design my own house. I mean, who better to design the house I am going to buy and live in than me, right?

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