Because of the heavy amount of work, the interior designer salary can be quite high if you work hard. An interior designer’s work is closely involved with designing and coordinating interiors of residences and commercial buildings.
They may work with manufacturers, architects, project managers and individual clients to put together spaces and furnishings which work in an aesthetically pleasing and functional way.
A designer will take into account lighting, wall coverings, flooring, spaces, window treatments, furniture, art, decor, and other factors when planning a project.
The interior designer must be aware of building and safety codes when working on a plan, and they have to be able to read blueprints.
A project may involve special accommodation for handicapped residents, using space in a most efficient manner, or be a “green” project, using sustainable materials.
The interior designer will meet frequently with clients to ascertain their needs and wants, and will recommend elements of room design to create a cohesive whole which works for them.
Interior Designer Salary Overview
Although designers may work for a large firm or in industry, they are often self-employed individuals. The median annual income for an interior designer in the U.S. is approximately $53,370 as of 2018.
Higher salaries are more common for designers who work for architectural and engineering firms, while designers working for furniture stores, specialized design, and wholesale trade make slightly less than the median.
Some interior designers and decorators choose to have a part-time career, and this can work well if they are self-employed. The rates that designers charge their clients can range from $75.00 to $100.00 per hour.
This would include consultation time, putting together design elements and making presentations, ordering furniture, fabrics, and materials, and visiting the job site to check on progress.
Training and Education Requirements
At the very least, an associate’s degree is required for an entry-level job in this field, in which the graduate may become an assistant to a designer.
Many interior designers attend four-year colleges and earn bachelor’s degrees, and may qualify for a formal design apprenticeship program. Individuals may also apply for a master’s degree for further training.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification has a program called the Interior Design Experience Program, which enables entry-level workers in this field to gain valuable job experience and knowledge while being supervised and mentored.
Training can be specialized for interior designers, and can be learned on the job as well as in the classroom. They may be required to learn software programs used by their employer, architectural knowledge, or areas such as bath and kitchen design.
As in many other occupations, there are continuing education classes available for interior designers and decorators throughout their working life. These can lead to certifications which will enhance their careers.
One very popular and growing area of training is based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building.
This focuses on moving toward sustainability in construction.
Designers who have excellent knowledge of how to work within LEED guidelines can be quite valuable to their employers and clients, who will save on energy costs and taxes due to this type of construction.
A number of states have licensing requirements for interior designers. A licensing exam is administered by The National Council for Interior Design Qualification.
Applicants who wish to be eligible to take this licensing exam must have at least six years of combined education and experience in interior design. At least two years of their education must be post-secondary education.
Successful candidates who pass this licensing exam are given the title of Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer, depending on the state. They often must attend continuing education as a requirement to keep this designation.
Interior Designer Salary: Job Description and Outlook
Interior designers have the responsibility of making plans, designing, and giving makeovers to interiors of houses, offices, hotels, retail spaces, institutional buildings, and more. They can work for design firms, stores or manufacturers.
For example, a flooring manufacturer may employ a designer to create textures and colors for a new carpet line, using currently popular and coordinating looks to appeal to the consumer.
An interior designer may create floor plans, as well as shopping for window treatments, fabrics, furniture, and other decor accessories that may suit the design he or she feels is right for a specific client.
They will show sketches, color charts, sample fabrics and wallpapers, to present an image of the finished project to that client.
The designer may choose artwork, recommend proper lighting, organize the flow of rooms and buildings, and use textures and colors to create a mood or energy in a room.
Typically, interior designers perform the following on a daily basis:
- Determine client’s goals and requirements for project
- Search for and bid on new projects
- Sketch preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts
- Determine how space will be used and how people will move throughout it
- Create timeline for the project and estimate costs
- Specify furnishings and materials (fixtures, lighting, furniture, wall finishes, plumbing, flooring)
- Oversee construction
- Coordinate with contractors to implement plans and specifications
- Order materials and oversee installation
- Visit site after project is complete, ensure client satisfaction
Types of interior designers
There are various types of interior designers. All of these will be different in terms of an interior designer salary.
Healthcare designers work on healthcare facilities to plan and renovate them. This includes doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and residential care facilities.
A healthcare designer specializes in evidence-based design. This uses data and research in design decision-making. It will achieve positive results for residents, patients, and the facilities themselves.
Corporate designers work on professional workplaces in numerous settings. They create designs for spaces from small to large office buildings.
A corporate designer will focus on function, efficiency, and safety for the employees when designing. They may also incorporate elements of the client’s brand.
These interior designers will work to improve energy and water efficiencies. They will also strive to improve the air quality indoors.
Additionally, a sustainable designer will use sustainable products in their designs, such as cork or bamboo.
Kitchen and bath designers
These interior designers specifically work on kitchens and bathrooms. They have superior knowledge in fixtures, cabinetry, plumbing, appliances, and electrical solutions.
Universal designers will renovate a space to make it more accessible. These will generally be for elderly people and people with special needs, but the designs benefit everyone. For example, a ramp may be designed for those in a wheelchair, but will be beneficial to someone pushing their baby in a stroller.
The field of interior design is competitive, as there are many talented individuals competing for these jobs, however the market looks positive.
The employment of interior designers is expected to grow by four percent between 2016 and 2026. This is lower than the national average of seven percent.
Consumer expectations are going to drive the need for interior designers. Consumers want buildings to be easily accessible and environmentally-friendly.
A small amount of interior designers are employed in the construction industry. However, many designers heavily depends on that industry to create new projects for them.
Additionally, the demand for interior designers is going to increase from the need to remodel existing buildings. This includes commercial buildings, residential homes, hotels, hospitals, and schools.
One example of this is that interior designers will be needed to accommodate the living needs of the aging population, especially due to baby boomers.
It is highly recommended that people wishing to enter this field get the best education possible and keep up on learning opportunities to enhance their prospects of advancement.
They may also seek out specialized knowledge to work in niche markets that offer additional career possibilities.
Another factor in an interior designer salary is the work environment. As of 2016, there were about 66,500 interior designer positions held. They were dispersed as followed:
- Specialized design services: 31 percent
- Self-employed: 19 percent
- Architectural, engineering, and related fields: 16 percent
- Furniture stores: 7 percent
- Wholesale trade: 5 percent
Many interior designers work in an office. However, there are times when an interior designer may travel to the clients’ design site.
Technology has also changed the work of interior designers. They now use software rather than drafting tables.
Possessing the skills of a well-qualified designer will help you earn a higher interior designer salary. These include:
- Artistic ability
ASID – American Society of Interior Designers
IIDA – International Interior Design Association
Is Interior Design the Career for You?
There are various factors besides what the interior designer salary is that will determine if it’s the right career for you.
If you have a passion for designing, then it may be a route you want to take. You also need to take the schooling and training requirements into consideration.
Are you an interior designer? What do you love about it? What do you hate about it?
Let us know in a comment!
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