living room

Interior designers work closely with not only customers during a build or remodel, but they also work closely with builders, architects, mechanical engineers and structural engineers. The interior designer must not only design a given space but make sure that it is functional and furnish it according to the customer’s wishes.

Many interior designers specialize in a specific type of building or room. For example, a home designer will likely not design for a hospital or professional setting. Moreover, a home designer may only specialize in a given space such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Because many interior designers work closely with builders, contractors, and the likes, and because they frequently work with blueprints, they must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

Interior Designer Tasks

designer putting up wall frame

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So, what are some day to day tasks that an interior designer must do while on the job? Below are only a handful of their job duties:

  • Determine their client’s goals and the requirements of the project
  • Consider how space will be used, and consult with the client to make sure it fits their needs/wants
  • Sketch preliminary design plans, which includes electrical layouts
  • Research and compile a list of materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures
  • Prepare final plans, many times with the help of computer applications
  • Place orders for all materials
  • Oversee installing the design elements and furnishings
  • Follow up with the client after the project to ensure all needs were met

Some interior designers work with merchant wholesalers and furniture stores, meaning that they can earn some commissions depending on the company and their policies.

Average Interior Designer Salary

hotel interior design

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The average interior design salary is around $46,600, but those number could range as high as $67,330 and as low as $33,140. These numbers are all based on education, skills, experience, and location.

Other factors include profit sharing, bonuses, and commissions.

Interior Design Salary Factors & Influences

As stated before, many different factors go into the overall interior design salary, and they include some of the following:

Education


Interior Designers need to have not only a High School diploma or GED, but they also need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design. Most classes involved are not only based on interior design, but also in drawing and computer-aided design (CAD).

Besides formal education, many states require different licenses, registrations, and certifications. Each state will vary when it comes to their requirements. Depending on where you receive your education and where you end up taking work, you’ll want to make sure you are up to date on all rules and regulations.

woman looking out a window

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

Skills


A wide variety of skills are needed in the interior design career. Not only are technical skills needed, but so are creative skills and people skills.

  • Project Management – An interior designer is responsible for large projects that require a lot of time, attention and detail. A designer must be a self-starter that can juggle multiple aspects of a project all at once.
  • Computer Programs – In today’s technological age, everything is done via a computer. An interior designer must be able to use different programs such as 3D rendering, and other design programs to not only put together a plan but to help a client really visualize the final product.
  • Creativity – This is a key skill for an interior designer because they need to be able to create something, most times, out of nothing. Being able to visualize patterns, fabrics, and other materials are key to coming up with designs that will fit the client’s needs and wants.
  • People Person – An interior designer is a product provider. Not only do they have to sell the design they create, but they also have to sell themselves and their abilities. The only way to do that is to be able to relate to the clientele so you can provide them with the services they need.
  • Detail Oriented – Interior designers need to be precise in all aspects of the project. From measuring out materials and space to making a drawing, there is no room for mistakes as they can cause any number of problems.
  • Problem Solving – Because interior designers have to juggle so many different aspects of a project at once, they need to be top-notch problem solvers. They need to be able to address different challenges such as delays, unavailability of materials and price changes.

Experience


Having experience in the industry can help greatly raise the average salary an interior designer makes. Five to ten years of experience can average a salary of $51,000. With ten to 20 years of experience, that salary average goes up to $57,000, while over 20 years of experience can earn an interior designer an average salary around $64,000.

Location


Depending on where they plan to work, interior designers will not only have to watch rules and regulations as far as licensing and certifications go, but it could determine the overall salary that they can earn. Some states pay interior designers better, and that gets broken down further by which state and cities they plan to work in.

Interior Design Salary by States

artists with clipboard and digital tablet

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Location plays a big part in interior design salary, and highly populated states, metropolitan areas tend to have some of the higher paying positions for this occupation. Below, we have listed the top five states that pay the most to interior designers.

State

Salary

District of Columbia

$84,820

Rhode Island

$78,340

California

$68,290

New York

$66,500

Maryland

$65,940

When it comes to salaries for interior designers by the city, the metropolitan areas tend to pay higher. Below are the top five metropolitan areas that pay the highest to interior designers.

State

Salary

Fayetteville and Springdale, Arkansas and Rogers, Missouri

$82,490

Providence, Rhode Island and Warwick, Massachusetts

$77,110

Birmingham and Hoover, Alabama 

$74,900

San Rafael, CA Metropolitan Division

$74,400

Lake County, Illinois and Kenosha County, Wisconsin Metropolitan Division

$70,850

Interior Design Types of Salaries

Salaries not only vary based on the information discussed above, but they can also vary depending on the title and the designer’s specialty. While not all interior designers take on a specialty, there are quite a few that choose to take on specific titles and focus on specific areas. Below are only a few of the different specialties available to interior designers.

Kitchen and Bath Designer – $41,000  

Kitchen and Bath designers are exactly what they sound like, interior designers that specialize in kitchens and bathrooms.

Sustainable Designer – $44,000

sustainable designer is a person that seeks to reduce the negative impacts on the environment and the health and comfort of building occupants. They utilize a design philosophy that encourages decisions at each phase of the design process that will help to reduce any negative impacts on the environment and the health of the occupants.

Lighting Designer – $50,822

Lighting designers are in charge of the design and implementation of lighting in both architectural and construction projects. They establish cost and then provide lighting specifications for the interior, exterior, and landscape lighting applications while also creating lighting schedules and all related design documentation as required.

History of Interior Design

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Interior design dates back thousands of years, some arguing that it dates back as far as the Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians were known for decorating their homes with simple furniture, along with painted vases and sculptures. The beautiful ornaments found in Egyptian tombs helped to reveal the importance of more lavish decorations for the more powerful members of society.

The Roman and Greek civilizations both continued with the art of interior design by celebrating civic pride through their buildings. In the home, the nicer the design and accessories were reserved for the wealthy. Furniture in both civilizations were built out of materials such as stone and wood.

Interior design has continued to grow and develop over the years, and while the wealthy still use more luxury items, design tastes are shared by the masses, and it is the job of the interior designer to accommodate the client’s taste and make sure it fits the allotted budget.

Interior Design Outlook – Conclusion

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The current job outlook for interior designers shows projected growth of 4% from 2016 to 2026.

Job prospects are expected to be better in high-income areas because the more wealthy are more likely to want to remodel or renovate their spaces. However, that doesn’t mean that the middle class won’t be renovating, so there are still job prospects in that area as well.

Featured Image COO by. Pixabay via: Pexels