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How Much Do Interior Designers Make?

Interior design is a thriving profession that offers a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise. If you're considering a career as an interior designer, you may be wondering how much you can expect to...

Interior design is a thriving profession that offers a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise. If you're considering a career as an interior designer, you may be wondering how much you can expect to earn. In this article, we'll explore the average salaries for interior designers in the USA and various states, as well as the factors that influence earnings in this field.

What Does an Interior Designer Do?

An interior designer is responsible for creating and implementing design concepts, turning empty spaces into beautiful and functional environments. They collaborate with clients to understand their needs and preferences, then develop designs that meet those requirements. Interior designers are skilled at selecting colors, materials, and furnishings to enhance the aesthetics of a space while ensuring it remains practical and comfortable.

Successful interior designers possess strong interpersonal skills and technical knowledge. They excel at project management, budgeting, and coordinating with contractors to bring their design visions to life. Their ability to blend artistry with functionality is what sets them apart in this field.

Interior Designer Salary in the US

The salary of an interior designer in the US can vary based on several factors, including experience, qualifications, location, and the job market. On average, interior designers in the US earn an annual salary of $59,107. However, salaries can range from $15,000 to $132,000 per year, depending on these factors.

The number of years of experience is a significant determinant of an interior designer's salary. Generally, the more experience a designer has, the higher their earning potential. Additionally, having strong technical skills, such as proficiency in CAD designing, photography, and knowledge of textiles and home furnishing, can further increase your market value as a designer.

Location is also a crucial factor in salary discrepancies. Some states may require designers to obtain licenses, which can impact their earning potential. For example, the median salary for interior designers in the northeast and west regions of the US is around $75,000, while in the midwest, it averages $63,000.

To give you an idea of salary variations across different states, here is a list of median interior designer salaries:

  • Alabama: $46,681 per year
  • Alaska: $50,663 per year
  • Arizona: $50,401 per year
  • Arkansas: $16.64 per hour
  • California: $69,319 per year
  • Colorado: $55,056 per year
  • Connecticut: $61,723 per year
  • Delaware: $53,579 per year
  • District of Columbia: $74,848 per year
  • Florida: $52,317 per year
  • Georgia: $62,838 per year
  • Hawaii: $48,499 per year
  • Idaho: $44,825 per year
  • Illinois: $57,256 per year
  • Indiana: $44,140 per year
  • Iowa: $54,596 per year
  • Kansas: $54,132 per year
  • Kentucky: $57,051 per year
  • Louisiana: $48,068 per year
  • Maine: $47,021 per year
  • Maryland: $59,215 per year
  • Massachusetts: $58,360 per year
  • Michigan: $49,778 per year
  • Minnesota: $16.53 per hour
  • Mississippi: $15.00 per hour
  • Missouri: $48,702 per year
  • Montana: $45,051 per year
  • Nebraska: $44,056 per year
  • Nevada: $72,746 per year
  • New Hampshire: $54,441 per year
  • New Jersey: $53,304 per year
  • New Mexico: $14.67 per hour
  • New York: $70,305 per year
  • North Carolina: $50,773 per year
  • North Dakota: $48,247 per year
  • Ohio: $66,411 per year
  • Oklahoma: $56,589 per year
  • Oregon: $63,965 per year
  • Pennsylvania: $52,775 per year
  • Rhode Island: $13.72 per hour
  • South Carolina: $46,737 per year
  • South Dakota: $46,140 per year
  • Tennessee: $57,072 per year
  • Texas: $55,943 per year
  • Utah: $49,307 per year
  • Vermont: $47,359 per year
  • Virginia: $64,811 per year
  • Washington: $63,055 per year
  • West Virginia: $45,381 per year
  • Wisconsin: $53,006 per year
  • Wyoming: $70,635 per year

How to Become an Interior Designer?

If you're interested in pursuing a career as an interior designer, there are various paths you can take to acquire the necessary qualifications. While specific requirements may vary from state to state, it is generally advantageous to hold a degree in architecture, an associate's degree, or a bachelor's degree in interior design. Certifications from professional associations like the American Society of Interior Designers or the Interior Designers International can also enhance your credentials.

To gain practical experience, consider internships and hands-on training offered by accredited schools. Building a portfolio showcasing your design projects is crucial for demonstrating your skills and versatility to potential employers. Additionally, some states may require interior designers to obtain licenses, which involve meeting educational and licensure requirements and passing an examination.

What Skills Do Interior Designers Require?

To excel as an interior designer, you must possess several essential skills:

  1. Excellent planning skills: Interior designers must effectively plan and organize projects, coordinating various aspects such as plumbing, electrical work, and furniture arrangement.

  2. Creativity and an eye for detail: Designers need to envision the final design outcome and find innovative solutions to design challenges. Attention to detail is crucial in creating aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.

  3. Active listening skills: Understanding clients' preferences and needs is essential for creating designs that align with their vision.

  4. Strong communication skills: Interacting with clients, vendors, and contractors requires effective communication and negotiation skills.

  5. Strong leadership and management skills: Interior designers must be able to meet deadlines, manage projects, and lead a team of professionals to ensure successful design execution.

Increased Earning Potential from NCIDQ Certification

Earning potential in interior design can be significantly enhanced by obtaining training, certification, or licensing. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is the highest standard any interior designer can achieve. Passing the NCIDQ exam demonstrates advanced knowledge and skills in the field, allowing designers to take on more prominent projects and command higher fees. Certified interior designers also enjoy greater recognition and more extensive job opportunities.


Interior designers play a vital role in creating visually appealing and functional spaces. Their expertise is in high demand, and their skills are valuable. While salaries can vary based on experience, location, and qualifications, the interior design field offers ample opportunities for growth and success.

If you're passionate about interior design and possess the necessary skills, pursuing a career in this field can be rewarding both creatively and financially. So, if you're ready to transform spaces and make a positive impact on people's lives, the world of interior design awaits you!

Image Credit: IIDA