When you think of what sits in your living room, do you think of the furniture designers behind the sofas and TV stands there? Furniture designers are the brains behind the basic pieces that occupy your house as well as the unique products that turn your house into a home. Like other professionals, they have training that is targeted to their field and use specific talents to create the results that they need.
Furniture design training at all levels
Those interested in the field can seek these online art and design degrees:
- Associate degree. An Associate of Arts or an Associate of Occupational Studies degree in furniture design requires two years of full-time study and includes courses such as drawing, 2D design, 3D design and business practices.
- Bachelor's degree. Bachelor of Art, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Fine Art degrees in furniture design take four years to complete and include a combination of art, general education and technical design courses. A bachelor's degree in furniture design is the minimum requirement to be able to work in many manufacturing and design firms.
- Master's degree. A Master of Fine Arts degree can allow you to concentrate in a specific area such as furniture design. An MFA is a two-year degree program built upon a four-year degree that allows artists, such as furniture designers and makers, to create a portfolio of work reflecting their personal style. MFA students gain expertise in construction techniques, model making, project planning and technology.
Benefits of online degrees in furniture design
While sketching still plays a part in the furniture design industry, most modeling and planning is achieved with computer-aided design, or CAD, software. In order to build a career, graduates of furniture design degree programs must be proficient users of CAD software. Online degrees in furniture design can provide students with the principles of design while giving them experience with CAD technology. Additionally, a wide number of CAD training programs are available online, and these could provide you with the basics or allow you to gain advanced CAD skills.
Careers in furniture design
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial and industrial designers--including furniture designers--held more than 28,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2010. Manufacturing firms, architectural and engineering firms, and specialized design services were some of the highest employers of commercial and industrial designers. Furniture designers can also look for job opportunities as buyers, custom designers, furniture fabricators and more. They can also launch their own business and use the Internet to post videos or to have a business website.
Succeeding in the field requires a mix of analytical, artistic and technical knowledge. Furniture designers need to be able to problem solve and should have an aptitude for creativity, critical thinking, math, physics and visual aesthetics.
Furniture design at a glance
- Annual wages (for commercial and industrial designers): $61,890 (BLS, 2010)
- Associations to join: American Society of Furniture Designers, The Furniture Society
- Key skills: Creativity, mathematical ability, problem-solving ability, knowledge of CAD software
- Magazines you might want to read: Fine Woodworking, Furniture Magazine, Home Furnishings
- Top employers: Manufacturing firms, architectural and engineering firms, specialized design services