Interior design career in Kenya, prospects, and salary

Interior designers’ work is to plan and design the interiors of buildings. They bring both technical understanding and artistic talent. The way into the profession leads through a degree in interior design. One can work as a freelancer or as an employee. Interior designers in Kenya tend to be women.

House transformation by an interior designer
House transformation by an interior designer /

What do interior designers do in Kenya?

Make interior designers plan, for the following:

  1. Exhibition stands
  2. Waiting rooms in doctor’s offices
  3. Barrier-free senior facilities
  4. Sports halls and swimming pools
  5. Restaurants and bars
  6. Libraries
  7. Canteens
  8. Laboratories
  9. conference rooms
  10. Cinemas and concert halls

A typical day of an interior designer in Kenya

As an interior designer, you also have the option of becoming self-employed. Below is an example of your everyday life in your own interior design office.

  • 08:00 a.m: After you have arrived in your office, you dedicate yourself first to responding some e-mails if you don’t carry work home. The previous evening you sent Mr. Makori the plans for the remodeling of his house and a suggested date for the meeting. He confirmed this appointment by email.
  • 9:30 a.m: You have an appointment to call Ms. Mali Safi. She inherited a listed house and would like to modernize it. After a short conversation, she agrees that she will come to you at 4 p.m. the next day and discuss her initial ideas.
  • 10:30 am: The design of a dental practice is about to be completed. You drive to the construction site and look at the progress. It’s good that you stopped by, because the site manager has a few questions about the lighting concept. You explain to him based on your plans where which lamp is intended.
  • 12:00 o’clock: On the way back from the construction site you buy something for lunch, maybe some chips or KFC, or something healthier in a kibanda, it’s your choice. When you get to the office, you take a break.
  • 12:45 p.m: You have some time until the next appointment so that you can collect suggestions for remodeling Mrs. Mali Safi’s house.
  • 1:30 p.m: A house is to be visited. Mrs. Otieno recently bought this and would like to refurbish it. In order to be able to create a concept, it is important that you get an idea of ​​the conditions on site. You also photograph the individual rooms. You ask your customer what function and atmosphere each area should have.
  • 4 p.m: You are back at your desk. Before you visualize the drafts on the computer, you first draw everything in the classic way with pen on paper. Mrs. Otieno would like a simple and modern facility. You think about which furniture and colors fit into the corresponding rooms. Then you start with the first sketches.
  • 6:30 p.m: The last thing you do for the day is to prepare for tomorrow’s appointment with Mali Safi and create an initial concept for the modernization. You can clarify further details and wishes with her in a conversation the next day.
  • 19:30 o’clock: With so many new orders and ongoing projects, it’s easy to get off work a little later.

What does an interior designer in Kenya do?

House transformation by an interior designer
House transformation by an interior designer /

1. To advise customers

After accepting an order, you will continue to maintain intensive customer contact and advise them throughout the project. To do this, you not only use your specialist knowledge, you also need sensitivity, for example to mediate between wishes and realistic implementation. You try to fulfill all your clients’ wishes and to meet their taste. That’s why you listen to them carefully during the first planning meeting and clarify the most important issues with them. Then you design the first concept.

2. Develop and implement furnishing concepts

Your main task is to develop design concepts and ensure smooth implementation. In order for the latter to work, it is important that the designs both please the customer and are technically and structurally feasible. For this reason, after approval by the client, you transfer the true-to-size sketch into a computer-aided design program (CAD). With this you ensure that all teams involved use the same plan and know what to do. If something seems unclear, you are ready to clarify the questions. You coordinate the craftsmen, carry out orders and make sure that everything is properly in its intended place.

3. Select material

Choosing the right materials for each project requires knowledge of them and the regulations that determine what properties a material must fulfil. For example, there are strict fire protection guidelines when designing exhibition stands. In a primary school it is important to work with floors that are resistant to abrasion. So you ask yourself questions about the condition and lifespan, among other things. In addition, you choose the wallpaper color, the lighting and the furniture to match your room concept.

4 Create a relevant atmosphere

Some industries require a very specific atmosphere, for example in the healthcare sector. There is often a very pure, bright and open atmosphere there, after all, the patients should feel comfortable. Functionality also plays a major role in such healthcare settings. You create this ambiance by choosing specific floors, furnishings, and decorations. Similarly, exhibition stands, museums, and exhibitions should stimulate visitors, arouse their curiosity and entertain them. As an interior design professional, you design them different from, say, a doctor’s office.

Prospects for career and skills a good interior designer in Kenya should possess

  1. scientific understanding (5/10)
  2. Economic thinking (7/10)
  3. Abstract Thinking (8/10)
  4. communication skills (8/10)
  5. Artistic talent (7/10)
  6. creativity (9/10)

A good interior designer should possess these skills so that they can give their clients maximum utility for their finances.

If you want to explore a career in interior design, you must recognize the demand for interior designers tends to decline per the day. However, you can create a demand for your services by specializing in an area such as the furnishing of rooms in the health sector. There is always a need for functional, modern and attractively furnished practices. This also applies, for example, to the trade fair, catering, hotel and retail sectors.

The study of interior design in Kenya includes these topics

Study content
In addition to the very theoretical seminars and lectures, most courses include a practical semester. Here, prospective interior designers gain insights into their future profession and can make initial contacts and gain practical experience.

  1. Layout
  2. Depiction
  3. Design
  4. Construction
  5. Materials Science
  6. Technical expansion
  7. Art history
  8. Planning methodology
  9. Construction process
  10. Building rights

Interior designer jobs in Kenya

Many interior designers work independently. They find employment in architecture, interior design, consulting, planning and engineering offices, in companies for exhibition and trade fair construction, shop fitting, restaurant and hotel construction, in furniture stores, craft manufacturing companies, in the equipment sector of film studios, television stations and theatres as well as in public service. Her expertise is also often called upon in areas such as monument preservation, barrier-free planning, facility management or for expert work.

Interior designers can have a career in a company or as self-employed.

Within a company, they can be promoted to project manager, for example. They bear the complete responsibility for the organization and execution of a project. This requires a high level of commitment, but is also well rewarded.

In the latter case, they run a business and are responsible for the success of the company and its employees, depending on their entrepreneurial skills and order situation.

Alternatively, interior designers can also follow scientific paths after completing their university studies and embark on research and teaching. With further training in areas such as 3D modelling, 3D printing, virtual reality or sustainable construction, interior design has a promising future.

Advantages and disadvantages of interior design as a career in Kenya


  1. Creative skills combined with engineering know-how
  2. Opportunity to become self-employed
  3. The result of your work is directly visible at the end of a project
  4. Lots of different uses and activities


  1. Competitive pressure when awarding contracts
  2. Permanent positions are rarely available

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