The number of interior designers in the United States has fallen over the last five years. On the same note, their pay has increased by about 6%. The average salary internationally is $78,000, while the average salary nationally in the U.S. is just above $60,000.
While other countries like Switzerland and New Zealand have extraordinarily high salaries for interior designers, the U.S. sits in the middle. Let’s go over everything you need to know about how much interior designers make in the United States.
Best Cities For Interior Designers
The amount of money interior designers make depends greatly on where they work. Designers in New York and Los Angeles, make a lot more than those in the Midwest. According to Indeed, these are the best cities for interior designers.
1. Los Angeles – $77,149
Los Angeles is one of the best places for interior designers to work. Entry-level pay is about $65,000 while those who have been in the business for ten years make over $100,000. This is substantially more than any other city in the United States.
2. Dallas – $72, 522
The average entry-level pay for interior designers in Dallas is $60,00 while those working for ten years make about $95,000 a year. Those working for government offices are extraordinarily happy with their interior design jobs in Dallas.
3. Atlanta – $71,746
You wouldn’t think that Georgia is a hot spot for interior design jobs, but in Atlanta, it is. The numbers are very similar to those in Dallas. Though not as popular as Atlanta, designers in Savannah and Alpharetta do make more on average than Atlantean designers.
4. San Diego – $70,838
The rates in San Diego are only slightly lower than those in Dallas and Atlanta. The only place you’ll get paid more in California, aside from LA, is in Hollywood, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. However, the cost of living in those cities are higher than in San Diego.
5. Seattle – $70,041
Seattle is very similar to San Diego in terms of interior design salaries. If you live in Washington, you won’t find any other cities that come close. However, it is also the most expensive place to live in Washington. So a long commute may be worth it.
6. New York City – $69,038
This one isn’t surprising at all. Entry-level designers make $60,000 in New York while veterans make around $90,000. However, some of the most famous interior designers in the world hail from New York City.
7. Houston – $64,855
This is where things change. Houston interior designers start out at around $55,000 with experts making $85,000. This is why many Texans prefer working in Dallas as opposed to Houston. Especially since Dallas is only slightly more expensive to live in.
8. Salt Lake City – $64,190
Rounding off our list is Salt Lake City, Utah. Entry-level pay averages out at $53,000 while experts make just over $80,00. The average pay in Utah is less than the surrounding states, but as expected, the cost of living is lower.
Average Salary Per State
The city you live in matters when it comes to interior design pay. But if you don’t live in the big city, you can still get an estimate of how much most interior designers in your state make. Here is a list giving the average pay for designers in each state.
Note: Salaries have been curated from user-submitted numbers on Indeed. The numbers indicate the salary of interior designers per state, regardless of the cost of living in that state.
Far Above Average
New York – $70,305
Nevada – $72,746
California – $69,319
Georgia – $62,838
Ohio – $66,411
Oregon – $63,965
Virginia – $64,811
Colorado – $55,056
Illinois – $57,256
Kentucky – $57,051
Maryland – $59,215
Massachusetts – $58,360
Oklahoma – $56,589
Tennessee – $57,072
Alaska – $50,663
Arizona – $50,401
Delaware – $53,579
Florida – $52,317
Iowa – $54,596
Kansas – $54,132
New Hampshire – $54,441
New Jersey – $53,304
North Carolina – $50,773
Pennsylvania – $52,775
Wisconsin – $53,006
Far Below Average
Alabama – $46,681
Hawaii – $48,499
Idaho – $44,825
Indiana – $44,140
Louisiana – $48,068
Maine – $47,021
Michigan – $49,778
Missouri – $48,702
Montana – $45,051
Nebraska – $44,056
North Dakota – $48,247
South Carolina – $46,737
South Dakota – $46,140
Utah – $49,307
Vermont – $47,359
West Virginia – $45,381
Job Titles In Interior Design
Interior designer is a blanket term to describe an array of people. Let’s break down the most common interior design jobs, what each worker does, and how much they get paid to do it. You may be surprised at how it all pans out.
Executive – $115,000
You know the executive as the CEO or owner of the interior design company. They oversee everything from financing to recruitment to representing the company. This position will require a bachelor’s degree, and usually an advanced degree as well.
Director – $97,600
Directors are very similar to managers, only they will oversee more than just projects. They direct other employees, assign jobs, and budget with the money given to them by the executive. They work closely with the CEO as well as the new designers.
Project Manager – $82,000
The project manager is similar to the director, only they normally work on the projects assigned to them. They work one-on-one with clients and relay information back to the rest of the team. Since they work off of commissions, their pay rate is hard to pin down.
Designer – $60,000
This includes architects as well. The designer is the job title we’re talking about today. The title can be used to cover executives and decorators alike, but the real “designer” works on one project at a time under a project manager and director.
Junior Designer – $45,000
A junior designer is usually an entry-level interior designer. They don’t normally work independently and instead work hands-on with designers and senior designers to learn everything they can. Many people work as junior designers through college.
Interior Decorator – $40,000
An interior decorator doesn’t usually need a degree, though it is always helpful in securing a job. A decorate works with a client to create their dream space and then curates furniture, paint, and home decor to help them bring that dream to life.
How To Become An Interior Designer
If you are passionate about interior design, spending hours at a time creating imaginary rooms in your head, then interior design may be the perfect career path for you. The first thing you’ll need to do is educate yourself.
By this, I mean get a college education. Some programs take less than a year while more advanced interior design programs can take up to four. If you have the passion and creativity, the rest will follow, as long as you’re willing to put in the work.
You can find a complete guide on how to become an interior designer here.
The Future Of Interior Design
Ten years ago, interior design was much different than it is today. People spent more time talking to designers in-person or over the phone. Today, we can see that most of the time spent with clients is online.
Past, Present, Future: Online Presence
Advertising is now done online via Instagram, Pinterest, and online publishers. In the future, we’ll see even more of this. If there’s one thing we know about the future, it’s that the online marketplace will grow.
Today, tools like Homepolish, Houzz, and Havenly are popular. You’ll see more of those tools in the future. Interior designers will use them to help their clients achieve their dreams in more efficient ways.
Past, Present, Future: Cost Of Interior Design
The cost of interior design has increased over the last few years, to no one’s surprise. In the future, we’ll see the cost of interior design broaden. Not necessarily grow or shrink, but simply be available at any cost.
This will be a dream for those who can’t afford interior design today. With the help of online tools, AI, and financial services, interior designers can help anyone out, without suffering from it.
Past, Present, Future: Interior Designer Salary
In 2019, IIDA released a study that suggested that interior designer salaries were on the rise. Ironically enough, this will only increase when designers are able to offer services to people of all incomes.
With work being done virtually, oftentimes automated, designers will be able to work on more projects at once. Architects and technical designers will create apps that will allow designers to automate certain aspects of the design process.
Past, Present, Future: Trending Designs
A few years ago, trending designs were all that mattered. It didn’t even matter if you had the same living room as your neighbor. Today, people have mixed feelings. Originality is important, but so is keeping up with the trends.
In a few years, you’ll notice fewer and fewer clients and designers, looking for trending designs. Instead, people will focus more on originality. The more unique the item or color composition, the better.
Past, Present, Future: Brick And Mortar
With companies going online, it feels as if brick and mortar stores will soon cease to exist. But this just isn’t the case. Brick and mortar stores have a place in this world today and they will in the future as well.
What may change is the way we view them. Interior designers may offer virtual tours, allowing you to visit their furniture stores and suppliers online. You’ll be able to shop virtually in a way that isn’t often done today.
Past, Present, Future: New, Used, And Vintage
Once upon a time, buying used furniture was taboo. Everyone wanted new because hardly anyone coulda afford new furniture. Today, it’s become quite normal, even for interior designers. In the future, this will only become more common.
Antiques are just now becoming “it” items. The older the item is, the better. As long as it’s still in good condition. The demand for antique items is only growing. It won’t be long until they are more popular than new designs.
Now you know how much interior designers make and how that may change in the future. If you still believe that you want to become an interior designer, then don’t let anything stop you. If you’re still not sure, contact an interior designer and get inside tips.
Most professionals are willing to talk about their experience, especially if you’re looking into joining their field. It never hurts to ask!