Practitioners’ Viewpoints of Competencies for Entry-level Interior Designers

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Siriporn Kobnithikulwong


In the late 20th century, a major alteration of the interior design profession emerged based on its unclear status, which was related to the background in interior decoration and architectural design. The interior design practice was also recognized as more important than earlier. At that time, there were many research works examining necessary competencies for entry-level positions in order to fill in a gap between interior design practice and academic worlds. Presently, the interior design discipline has faced with significant challenges again. Nonetheless, studies related to the young designer’s competencies have disappeared, while the gap between the practice and academic sections has been growing. Thus, the current research aims to connect the mentioned gap by exploring the entry-level interior designer’s competencies based on viewpoints of experienced interior design practitioners. The semi-structured interview was applied to collect data from 21 senior interior designers. All interviews were transcribed and coded into three aspects of the competency, namely 1) abilities and skills, 2) personalities, and 3) strengths and weaknesses. The coded answers were analyzed with the literature review in order to conclude meaningful results. The results reveal that necessary competencies for entry-level interior designers, especially abilities and skills, are mainly influenced by the profession’s background in interior decoration and architectural design. Competencies related to personalities, strengths and weaknesses are primarily correlalted to the individual’s factors. Nonetheless, all three aspects of the competency can be cultivated and trained in the interior design education. The results will provide helpful guidelines to the academic section to develop curricula that are not only corresponded to the practitioner’s viewpoint, but also enhance young interior designers’ potential to progress the profession.


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