How Much Do Interior Designers Make?

The national salary for an interior designer is an average of $51,800. This is for professional interior designers, who have been with a company for one or more years. Widely popular home design shows have driven more people to pursue this career, and it’s easy to see why. Interior design offers versatility and sparks creativity.

So, how much do interior designers get paid?

Interior Designer Salary

Starting Salary for Interior Designers

Interior designers have an average starting salary of $35,000 per year. The lowest 10% are paid this on average.

This position is typically held by recent college graduates because most firms require a bachelor’s degree in interior design to be hired.

Designers need to have the appropriate training and skills – such as reading and understanding architectural drawings, familiarity with the latest software, like AutoCAD, production design and commercial or retail design.

However, interior designers can choose to build their own firm or small business, which may also result in lower annual salaries.

Interior Design Hourly Rate

Generally, based on the $51,800 national salary, an hourly wage for interior designers would be about $24 an hour. However, this is based on the median salary of interior designers and may be higher or lower.

Interior designers charge between $50 and as much as $200 per hour, but much of this goes to
overhead costs and taxes.

Senior Interior Designer Salaries

Senior interior designers make an average salary of $68,400. However, this can range from $49,000 to $93,000 annually depending on skills, firms and location; states such as California and Florida pay higher salaries than the average.

This role is usually in charge of managing and developing floor plans and designs for the project and is often in charge of presenting to the client. Above them there are project managers, design managers and design directors.

Position Salary
Senior Interior Designers $49,000 to $39,000
Project Managers $40,000 to $91,000
Design Managers $53,000 to $133,000
Design Directors $59,000 to $142,000

Certified Interior Designer Salary

A certified interior designer is licensed to design spaces with public health codes, safety and welfare requirements in mind. So, how much certified professionals make depends more on their industry, location and firm.

While a certification is not required in every state to be an interior designer, it is recommended. States that do require a certificate are Florida, Louisiana, Nevada and Washington, D.C.

Design firms will be more likely to hire you if they are confident in your skills and knowledge, and a certification assures employers that you are capable. To become certified, interior designers must take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Examination.

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Interior Design Salary by State

Interior designers have different pay per year based on the state they practice in. States with more people and higher cost of living tend to have higher-paying jobs.

Additionally, states that have several large cities, such as California, have higher salary averages.

Interior Design Salary California

California has the highest pay per year for interior designers with an average of $57,500. The average range is between $40,000 and $78,000, which is the highest salary range in the country.

Interior Design Salary Florida

Florida designers make an average $44,000 per year, or between $34,900 and $48,300.

Interior Design Salary Texas

Texas interior designers make an average of $33,600 to $49,300 annually. This is because of the housing market compared to places like New York. Texas has a high demand for interior designers. It is currently ranked third in job market popularity behind California and Florida.

Interior Design Salary New York

The average salary for interior designers in New York ranges from $39,000 to $54,000 annually. However, this differs depending on the area. Despite higher cost of living than Texas, salaries may remain low due to saturation in the job market.

In New York City, interior designers are paid a little more, at an average of $58,000. Annual salaries range from $43,000 to $75,000. This is because the cost of living is higher, and population wealth generates more labor-intensive briefs and expensive design concepts.

Top 10 Highest-Paying Cities for Interior Design:

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. Denver, Colorado
  3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  4. Jacksonville, Florida
  5. San Francisco, California
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah
  7. Los Angeles, California
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Portland, Oregon
  10. Charlotte, North Carolina

Interior Architecture vs. Interior Design Pay

There are many differences between architecture and design. Pay is one of the biggest. Interior designers make about $55,000 per year compared to around $80,000 per year for an architect.

  • Architects go through a stricter licensing process which gives them the authority to take on higher-paying jobs with greater responsibility.
  • Interior designer will often work directly with architects on the structural design of a building so that they can ensure it is functional and attractive as well as well-built.

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Can I be an interior designer without a degree?

Most firms will want a bachelor’s degree in interior design (or occasionally an architecture degree) for entry-level positions. However, many will hire based on level of experience as well.

Interior designers with their own practices don’t necessarily need a degree, but it is a good idea to build customer trust and a successful business.

How much does an interior designer make for each job?

How much interior designers are paid depends on what the job is. Homes and commercial buildings may vary in scope and pay. Commercial interior designers will often charge by square foot for large projects which is why they can earn more than residential designers.

Is there a high demand for interior designers?

The demand for interior designers isn’t increasing by much, but there is still a steady demand for them, particularly in areas with growing populations and wealth, like Texas. Demand is projected to grow by 4% from 2016 to 2026.

The necessity and high demand for eco-friendly housing is increasing, so it’s a great time for professionals with a specialty in sustainable design to step in and aid consumers in this growth.

What Is an Interior Decorator vs. an Interior Designer?

The difference between interior designers and decorators is that decorators do not take part in any of the physical design of the building. They do not have the ability or license to create floor plans.

An Interior Decorator: An Interior Designer:
Picks furniture Designs the floorplan
Sets color themes Consults with the architect
Decides on light fixtures Is in charge of dimensions
Paint palettes Ensures the space is functional
Cabinet design Designs window space

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