Industrial topics, like product design, can help furniture designers gain practical knowledge that will help them create stronger, longer-lasting, and more functional pieces. In addition, mathematical areas of study can teach students the functional and pragmatic side of the trade. Math training can also help students think logically about potential problems and solutions as they create new designs. Any student interested in furniture design should also consider attending schools offering woodworking and metalworking programs.
There are a significant number of people who choose to work for small businesses or who choose to produce furniture as an independent contractor. In cases like this, an apprenticeship may be more a more practical path to beginning a career in this field.
Apprenticeships can teach beginning professionals the specifics of running a small business, the basics of customer service, how to track orders, produce work on a deadline, and manage multiple projects at once. This on-the-job experience also helps new professionals learn how to work with different materials and produce work according to the needs of the customer.
Furniture designers work for large companies like Ikea, or for small independent businesses. Some furniture designers work on a freelance basis creating furniture pieces on demand for customers.
Those who work for large companies may do much of their work in offices, and must occasionally travel to testing facilities, exhibit sites, showrooms, and other locations. Furniture designers who work for small businesses, like independent furniture stores, may spend most of their time in a workshop.