Interior designers study the principles of design and the history of trends in commercial, industrial and residential interior design. They use this knowledge to create beautiful and interesting spaces for people to inhabit. However, not everyone who graduates with an interior design degree goes directly into this profession. Instead, some interior designers focus on other areas of design or specialize in a related field.
One job where an interior designer can use many of his skills is home staging. Home stagers specialize in preparing model homes as well as private homes that are about to go on the market. A home stager may be able to purchase new furnishings and set up the model space, or the seller's budget may restrict him. In these cases, the home stager must find creative ways to rearrange existing furniture and decor to make the space as inviting and attractive as possible. The work a home stager does can have a significant impact on the final sale price, and real estate agents are willing to pay for stagers who have a record of good work.
Interior concept artists don't actually arrange physical spaces but instead create two- and three-dimensional representations of spaces. While some interior designers do their own sketches to show to clients, others rely on concept artists whose skills are with paint, markers, pencils and digital imaging software. A concept artist's designs cost far less to produce than a finished space and serve as the starting point for a major design project.
Industrial design is concerned with the design of useful products including tools, furniture and fixtures. Interior designers have relationships with the field of industrial design since they must select existing products, or commission custom products, to use in the spaces they're responsible for. Interior designers who transition to the field of industrial design need a strong knowledge of materials and engineering.
One job that calls for the same set of skills as interior design is set designing for film, television and theater. Set designers work with directors and producers in much the same way that interior designers work with homeowners. They work toward creating a specific mood or capturing a style of decor in a constructed set that will serve as a backdrop for actors on the stage or in a filmed production. Set designers need to know about the history of interior design to create spaces that are convincing in period pieces, as well as an understanding of dramatic storytelling to make spaces suggest something about the characters that inhabit them.