How Much Do Interior Designers Make

Fewer interior designers are working in the US. At the same time, their wages have jumped six percent. How much do interior designers make? Follow us as we review the US cities that pay interior designers the most.

how much do interior designers make

The global average salary for designers is $78,000. In the US, it’s $60,000. Switzerland and New Zealand offer the most.

Let’s review the top US cities for interior designers.

Best Cities For Interior Designers – And How Much Interior Designers Make

A designer’s salary depends on where they live. Designers in New York and Los Angeles earn more than those in the Midwest.  

 Job platform Indeed revealed the US cities that pay the most:  

1. Los Angeles – $77,149 

Los Angeles is first where yearly wages start at $65,000. Those who have been at it for ten years or more earn over $100,000. 

2. Dallas – $72, 522

Best Cities For Interior Designers - And How Much Interior Designers Make

Dallas designers start at $60,000, while those with ten years or more job know-how earn about $95,000 a year. 

3. Atlanta – $71,746

Most would not pick Georgia, but Atlanta is a hot spot. Smaller cities, like Savannah and Alpharetta, offer even higher wages. 

4. San Diego – $70,838

San Diego is low by California standards. The cities that offer more than Los Angeles are Hollywood, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. The cost of living is higher in those cities.

5. Seattle – $70,041

Cozy interior design for living area

Seattle designers earn about the same as San Diego. Other cities don’t offer higher wages. Seattle is also the state’s most expensive city to live in.

6. New York City – $69,038

New designers earn $60,000 in New York City, while others earn $90,000. Many famous designers hail from New York City, so the talent pool is deep.  

7. Houston – $64,855

Designers earn $55,000, with experts making $85,000 yearly. Texans prefer Dallas, where they can make more. 

8. Salt Lake City – $64,190

At the bottom of the list is Salt Lake City, Utah. Rookies start at $53,000, while pros earn $80,00 and above. Utah is less than its neighbors, but the cost of living is lower. 

Cozy interior design for living area

Average Salary Per State

With designers, a city impacts yearly earnings. If you don’t live in a big city, you can see what interior designers earn according to their state. 

Note: The figures below are also from the job platform, Indeed.  The numbers are the average yearly earnings per US state for designers.

Far Above Average

New York – $70,305

Wyoming -$70,635 

Nevada – $72,746

Above Average

California – $69,319

Connecticut -$61,720

Georgia – $62,838

Ohio – $66,411

Oregon – $63,965

Virginia – $64,811

Washington -$63,055 

Average States

Colorado – $55,056

Illinois – $57,256

Kentucky – $57,051

Maryland – $59,215 

Massachusetts – $58,360

Oklahoma – $56,589

Tennessee  – $57,072 

Texas -$55,943

Below Average

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 

Illinois -$57,256 

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

Let’s review the roles in the interior design industry. We’ll also look at how much each one pays.  

Executive – $115,000 

The CEO or founder of an interior design business is the top job. The CEO covers money, staff and is the face of their brand. You need a degree and a license or two if you want this job.

Director – $97,600 

Directors handle more than just projects. They are in charge of staff, jobs, and budgets. They work with the CEO and design team. 

Project Manager – $82,000 

Project managers talk to clients and design teams. Their work is based on per project, so exact pay rates change with each job. 

The ideal person would have strong people skills. They also need to be good at making deals. 

Senior Designer – $74,000 

A senior designer handles tech angles. They work with managers and designers. From start to finish, they are on-hand for every job. 

Designer – $60,000

The title applies to architects, execs, and decorators. The designer works under a project manager and director. 

Junior Designer – $45,000

A junior designer is an entry-level position. They don’t work with designers and senior designers. College students are good for this role.

Interior Decorator – $40,000

This position does not require a college degree. A decorator works with clients assisting with creating their dream space. They help curate furniture, paint colors, and home décor.

How To Become An Interior Designer

If you enjoy using your imagination to create room layouts, interior design is the perfect career path. 

A college education is essential. You can find programs that take less than a year. Advanced interior design programs can take four years. If you have the passion, the rest will follow.

Interior designers can specialize in hospitals, hotels, or homes. You can also become a kitchen design specialist, for example. An excellent place to begin your career would be a home-furnishings store. The experience would provide you with a good understanding of home materials and interior styles. 

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 different. People spent more time interacting with designers. Today, most communication occurs online and isn’t personal. 

New concepts have emerged and are defining the future of interior design. 

Smart Homes

Smart homes aren’t new, but they’re also not old. Advanced tech allows owners to connect with their homes on a deeper level. One tech trend that stands out is the smart home control center. It allows you to control every home device from the convenience of your smartphone.

3-D Printing

3D printing is changing the world of interior design. Many feel the new tech is the next Industrial Revolution. 

Tiny House Movement

Small is the future. The tiny house movement is growing. Small homes are cheaper. Young home buyers prefer owning tiny houses over paying rent.

Interior designers are influencing this trend. Compact home designs are changing the way people think about their living spaces.

Past, Present, Future: Online Presence

Advertising has an online presence on Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms. The online marketplace will continue growing.

Homepolish, Houzz, and Havenly are popular. Interior designers use these tools when working with clients. 

Past, Present, Future: Cost Of Interior Design

Interior design has become more pricey. Other things will rise, but will be available at varying prices. 

Advanced tech will make interior design cheaper. Online tools, AI, and budget aid will be used to help others. 

Past, Present, Future: Interior Designer Salary

A 2019 report found that designer wages were rising. The reason why was because designers were giving their services away to people at all income levels.

As virtual work environments adapt to automation, one person can do more projects. Architects and designers will use apps that help with their jobs.

Past, Present, Future: Trending Designs

Trending designs were a priority. It wasn’t a big deal if your living room looked like your neighbor’s. 

Today, originality is the goal but so are trends. 

Clients and designers won’t focus on trending designs. The more unique the item or color, the more desirable they will be.

Past, Present, Future: Brick And Mortar

Cozy interior design for living area

With design companies offering online services, it might feel like brick-and-mortar stores will become extinct. It’s doubtful this would happen as they serve a purpose. 

What could change is how the industry is perceived. Interior designers may offer virtual tours, allowing visitors inside their furniture stores and supply warehouses online. You’ll shop virtually, unlike today.  

Past, Present, Future: New, Used, And Vintage

In the past, used furniture was taboo. Everyone wanted new because it wasn’t affordable. Today, this has become the standard for interior designers. We can expect continued interest and growth.  

Past, Present, Future: New, Used, And Vintage

Antique items are popular. Depending on their condition, the older, the better. Demand for antiques is growing. Soon, they will be more popular than new items. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How can I become an interior designer?

First, you need design experience. Having strong people skills is great. You will need to know building codes, construction, and local laws. Most US states allow designers to work on home jobs without a license.

Commercial jobs require certification. When working on homes, certifications and licenses are good to have as they build trust among new clients.  

Most states require you to pass the three-part National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. Test applicants need an architecture or design degree and two years of experience. 

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has student chapters. If there is one at your school, join it and be an active member.

What are the main differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator?

The roles are often confused, but both professions are distinct. An interior designer can do anything, from decorating to planning. Interior decorators can decorate, and that’s it. 

Interior designers work with developers and architects. They assist with making building and structural design decisions. An interior decorator does not need to be knowledgeable on building fire safety issues and room acoustics, to name a few. 

While interior designers are licensed professionals, interior decorators are not. 

What kind of legal troubles do interior designers encounter?

Interior designers have legal problems for many reasons. The most common issue is when they don’t follow a schedule. Projects often have delays and setbacks, but if when they get out of hand, the designer could be sued. 

If a designer gives false information to their client, they might get sued.  Making small changes to an original plan and failing to alert the client could cause legal problems. Also, changing building materials, like flooring or roofing, would be grounds for a lawsuit. 

Interior Design Salaries Conclusion

Now you know how much interior designers make and how their salaries might change. If you believe this is the career path for you, don’t let anything stop you. If you’re unsure, talk with a professional interior designer and see if they can give you some inside tips. 

Most professionals will discuss their experiences, especially with those who are considering entering their profession.