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Unlocking the Secrets of Interior Designer Salaries

Angi Leads Are you considering a career as an interior designer? Or maybe you're already in the industry and want to know how your salary stacks up. Look no further! In this article, we'll dive...

Angi Leads Angi Leads

Are you considering a career as an interior designer? Or maybe you're already in the industry and want to know how your salary stacks up. Look no further! In this article, we'll dive into the world of interior designer salaries, covering everything from starting salaries to hourly rates, senior positions, and even state-specific variations. So, let's get started!

Interior Designer Salary: A Closer Look

Starting Salary for Interior Designers

Interior designers typically start their careers with an average annual salary of $35,000. However, it's worth noting that recent college graduates often hold these positions since most firms require a bachelor's degree in interior design. To excel in this field, designers must possess the right training and skills, such as architectural drawing comprehension, proficiency in software like AutoCAD, and expertise in production and commercial or retail design. Alternatively, some designers opt to establish their own firms or small businesses, which may lead to lower annual salaries.

Interior Design Hourly Rate

Based on the national average annual salary of $51,800, interior designers can expect to earn around $24 per hour. Keep in mind that this figure varies depending on factors like experience and location. While some designers charge between $50 and $200 per hour, a significant portion goes towards overhead costs and taxes.

Senior Interior Designer Salaries

Senior interior designers hold more responsibility and therefore earn an average salary of $68,400 annually. However, this pay range can range from $49,000 to $93,000, depending on factors like skills, firm size, and location. States like California and Florida tend to offer higher salaries for this role. Senior interior designers manage and develop floor plans and designs, often presenting directly to clients. Above them in the hierarchy, you'll find project managers, design managers, and design directors, each with their own salary ranges.

Certified Interior Designer Salary

Certified interior designers specialize in designing spaces that comply with public health, safety, and welfare regulations. The salary range for these professionals largely depends on the industry, location, and firm they work for. While certification is not mandatory in every state, having one is highly recommended. States like Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., require certification. Design firms are more likely to hire certified professionals as they provide employers with confidence in their skills and knowledge. To obtain certification, interior designers must pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Examination.

Interior Design Salary by State

Interior designers enjoy varying salaries depending on where they practice. States with larger populations and higher costs of living tend to offer higher-paying jobs. Additionally, states with multiple major cities, like California, have higher average salaries.

Interior Design Salary California

California leads the pack with the highest average interior designer salary of $57,500 per year. The salary range in the state falls between $40,000 and $78,000, making it the most lucrative location for interior designers in the country.

Interior Design Salary Florida

Interior designers in Florida earn an average salary of $44,000 per year, ranging from $34,900 to $48,300.

Interior Design Salary Texas

Texas interior designers earn an average of $33,600 to $49,300 annually. The housing market and high demand for interior designers contribute to the state's competitive salaries. Texas ranks third in job market popularity, falling behind California and Florida.

Interior Design Salary New York

In New York, interior designers make an average annual salary of $39,000 to $54,000, depending on the area. Despite the higher cost of living compared to Texas, salaries may remain lower due to job market saturation. However, in New York City, designers earn a bit more, with an average salary of $58,000. The annual salary range in the city falls between $43,000 and $75,000. The higher cost of living and wealthier population generate more labor-intensive projects 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

Interior designers and architects play distinct roles in the design industry, and their salaries reflect these differences. On average, interior designers earn around $55,000 per year, while architects take home roughly $80,000 annually. Architects undergo a more rigorous licensing process, granting them higher-paying jobs with greater responsibility. However, interior designers often work closely with architects to ensure the functional and aesthetic aspects of a building are both well-designed and well-built.


Can I be an interior designer without a degree?

While some firms may hire based on experience, most prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in interior design or occasionally architecture for entry-level positions. Having a degree can build trust with potential clients and contribute to the success of your business if you decide to start your own practice.

How much does an interior designer make for each job?

Interior designer salaries vary depending on the scope and nature of the job. Commercial interior designers often charge by the square foot for large projects, allowing them to earn more compared to residential designers.

Is there a high demand for interior designers?

While the demand for interior designers isn't skyrocketing, there is a steady need for their services, especially in areas experiencing population growth and increased wealth, such as Texas. Demand in the field is projected to grow by 4% from 2016 to 2026. Additionally, there is a rising demand for professionals specializing in sustainable design due to the increased need for eco-friendly housing.

What Is an Interior Decorator vs. an Interior Designer?

Interior decorators and interior designers have distinct roles. Decorators focus on aesthetics and do not participate in any physical design of a building. They lack the authority and licensing to create floor plans. On the other hand, interior designers work closely with architects to ensure functionality and appeal, handling tasks such as furniture selection, color themes, and lighting fixtures.

And there you have it – a comprehensive guide to interior designer salaries! Keep these figures and insights in mind as you navigate your career in this exciting field. Best of luck on your journey to success!

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