Furniture Designer

Job Description:

Furniture designers create designs for mass-produced furniture, furniture made in small batches and one-off pieces.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • carry out research to develop ideas
  • work to a plan or ‘brief’ agreed with the client
  • produce new designs or improve existing ones
  • work out costs, practicality and availability of materials
  • prepare sketches for ideas, by hand or using computer software
  • test ideas using models, prototypes and computer aided design (CAD)
  • work with manufacturers on the production process


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
  • design skills and knowledge

As well as:

  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisation skills)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination (ambition & drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a furniture designer, you don’t necessarily need specific GCSE subjects, but a strong foundation in certain subjects can be very beneficial for your education and career in this field. Here are some subjects that are relevant to becoming a furniture designer:

  1. Art and Design: GCSE or equivalent courses in art and design can provide you with essential skills in drawing, design principles, and creativity. These skills are fundamental for a career in furniture design.
  2. Design and Technology (D&T): Courses in D&T can help you understand the materials, construction techniques, and technology used in furniture making. This knowledge is crucial for designing functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture.
  3. Mathematics: Mathematics is important for measurements, proportions, and calculations related to furniture design and construction. It’s useful for ensuring that your designs are structurally sound.
  4. Physics: Understanding the properties of materials and how forces interact with them can be valuable in furniture design. Physics knowledge can help you create sturdy and safe furniture designs.
  5. Woodworking and Craft Skills: If your school offers courses or workshops in woodworking or craft skills, taking advantage of them can provide hands-on experience that complements your theoretical knowledge.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD) software is increasingly important in modern furniture design. Many designers use CAD software to create detailed plans and visualizations of their designs.
  7. Business Studies: If you plan to start your own furniture design business or work as a freelance designer, knowledge in business and entrepreneurship can be valuable for managing your career.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

You could take a foundation degree, higher diploma or degree in:

  • furniture and product design
  • 3D design crafts
  • interior design

You could start by doing a college course like a Diploma in Furniture Design and Making or a course in Craft and Design.

This would teach you some of the skills you’ll need and could help you to get a job as a design assistant with a furniture-making company.

You may be able to get into trainee or assistant designer roles through an advanced apprenticeship like:

  • new furniture product developer
  • fitted furniture design technician
  • bespoke furniture maker

Lastly, keep in mind that creativity, a keen eye for detail, and a passion for design are just as important as formal education when it comes to pursuing a career in furniture design.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical working week consists of 40-42 hours a week.

You may need to be flexible about your working hours, especially when you have deadlines to meet. If you’re self-employed you may work longer hours to meet customers’ needs.

You’ll spend a lot of your time in a studio but may travel to visit clients, suppliers and to attend meetings and trade shows.

If you’re employed by a company, you may be part of a design team. As a self-employed designer, you’ll have your own workshop or studio, or share premises with other designers.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress to a more senior design position, or into a specialised area, like ergonomics.

You could also set up your own design consultancy.