Interior Designers: Salary Overview
Interior designers select decorative items and arrange indoor spaces in order to make them functional, safe, and pleasant.
They must be able to read and draw blueprints and be aware of building codes and regulations.
An interior designer’s job responsibilities include bidding for projects, determining the client’s needs and the project requirements, sketching preliminary design plans, specifying what materials will be used for furnishing, creating a timeline, placing orders for materials, overseeing construction, and visiting the site after the project is complete to ensure that the client is satisfied with the result.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interior designers was $56,040 as of May 2019.
This means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on factors such as experience level, portfolio, education, the industry of employment, region, and expertise.
The top 10 percent of interior designers reportedly earned more than $96,470 a year as of May 2019 while the lowest 10 percent made less than $31,970.
Interior Designer Salary by Industry
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that interior designers held around 75,400 jobs in 2018, most of them working in the field of specialized design services or being self-employed.
The average annual wage reported by interior designers employed in the field of specialized design services was $61,480 per year in May 2019.
Interior designers who worked for companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services reported an average annual wage of $66,260 while those who were employed by furniture stores reportedly earned around $53,890 a year on average.
The average annual wage was $56,860 for interior designers who worked for merchant wholesalers of durable goods and $56,120 for those employed by residential building contractors.
The highest-paying field for this profession was, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal executive branch, a field that employed a relatively small number of interior designers but paid them, on average, with $81,510 a year.
Other fields where interior designers may find employment are merchant wholesalers of commercial equipment and supplies.
In this sector, the average annual wage for interior designers was $80,970 as of May 2019.
There are many other factors that may determine how much an interior designer makes a year, including his/her portfolio and reputation, experience level, and education.
Having high skills in computer-aided design and a degree in interior architecture or a related field will likely improve your earning prospects.
Voluntary certification in one of this field’s subspecialties, such as environmental design, can also help you earn a higher salary.
The numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that salaries for interior designers vary widely depending on the region and the state of employment.
The report shows that top-paying states for interior designers were Rhode Island, Arizona, California, and Arkansas- states where the mean annual wage was above $70,000.
Interior designers in South Carolina, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Tennessee, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Iowa earned significantly less; the reported average annual wage by interior designers in these states was below the $50,000 mark.
Therefore you may have better chances of starting a financially rewarding career as an interior designer in Rhode Island or California.
Earnings also vary depending on the specific region where you want to find clients.
Interior designers in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area earned approximately $75,660 a year on average- more than the state average.
So relocating to a big metropolitan area can also help you increase your earning prospects.
Employment for interior designers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Their services will be requested especially on remodeling and renovation projects.
However, employment opportunities also vary depending on the region and the local economy.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Interior Designers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.