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Average Salary
$54,783
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
27,742
Job Openings

Interior Designer Careers

When we think of a dream job, interior design is probably high up on many people's list. Coming up with functional and beautiful interior spaces for a living does not fall short of glamorous.

Interior design, however, goes way beyond selecting harmonious colors for drapery and picking nice furniture. People interested in Oriental culture might already have some idea of how interior design affects our mood and outlook on life, how spaces might energize or calm us, depending on the way they are structured.

Studies have shown, for example, that the sight of windows may alleviate physical pain. The color blue often dominates business environments because it is a color that increases productivity. Natural materials seem to promote concentration, so investing in natural light sources and furniture made of wood or other organic materials is not only eco-friendly but would eventually return profits as well.

What Does an Interior Designer Do

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations, as well as universal accessibility standards.

Duties

Interior designers typically do the following:

  • Search for and bid on new projects
  • Determine the client’s goals and requirements for the project
  • Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
  • Sketch preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts
  • Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures
  • Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
  • Place orders for materials and oversee the installation of the design elements
  • Conduct the construction administration of the project and coordinate with general building contractors to implement the plans and specifications to build the project
  • Visit the site after the project is complete, to ensure that the client is satisfied

Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will function, look, and be furnished. Interior designers read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations. For more information on structural engineers, see the profile on civil engineers. For more information on builders, see the profile on construction laborers and helpers.

Although some sketches or drawings may be freehand, most interior designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for the majority of their drawings. Throughout the design process, interior designers often will use building information modeling (BIM) software to create three-dimensional visualizations that include construction elements such as walls or roofs.

Many designers specialize in a particular type of building, such as homes, hospitals, or hotels; a specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens; or a specific style. Some designers work for home-furnishings stores, providing design services to help customers choose materials and furnishings.

Some interior designers produce designs, plans, and drawings for construction and installation. These may include construction and demolition plans, electrical layouts, and plans needed for building permits. Interior designers may draft the preliminary design into documents that could be as simple as sketches or as inclusive as construction documents, with schedules and attachments.

The following are examples of types of interior designers:

Healthcare designers use the evidence-design process in designing and renovating healthcare centers, clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and residential care facilities. They specialize in making design decisions based on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, residents, and the facility.

Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products, such as bamboo and cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Such certification indicates that a building and its interior space were designed with the use of sustainable concepts.

Universal designers renovate spaces in order to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people and people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entranceway without steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.

Kitchen and bath designers specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and have expert knowledge of the variety of cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions for these rooms.

Corporate designers create interior designs for professional workplaces from small office settings to large-scale corporations within high-rise buildings. They focus on creating spaces that are efficient, functional, and safe for employees. They may incorporate design elements that reflect a company’s brand in their designs.

How To Become an Interior Designer

Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is usually required, as are classes in interior design, drawing, and computer-aided design (CAD). A bachelor’s degree in any field is acceptable, and interior design programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation accredits more than 180 professional-level (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) interior design programs.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association accredits kitchen and bath design specialty programs (certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree levels) in 45 colleges and universities.

Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability for admission to interior design programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure requirements vary by state. In some states, only licensed designers may do interior design work. In other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may do such work; however, only licensed designers may use the title “interior designer.” In still other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may call themselves interior designers and do interior design work.

In states where laws restrict the use of the title “interior designer,” only those who pass their state-approved exam, most commonly the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, may call themselves registered interior designers. Qualifications for eligibility to take the NCIDQ exam include a combination of education and experience. For example, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design and 2 years of experience.

California requires a different exam, administered by the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC). Qualifications for eligibility to take the CCIDC exam include a combination of education and experience.

Voluntary certification in an interior design specialty, such as healthcare interior design, allows designers to demonstrate expertise in a particular area of the occupation. Interior designers often specialize to distinguish the type of design work they do and to promote their expertise. Certifications usually are available through professional and trade associations and are independent from the NCIDQ licensing examination.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that are aesthetically pleasing.

Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.

Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and creating drawings, so that it can be used by other workers such as engineers or other designers.

Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.

Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of certain materials, while keeping the project on time and within budget.

Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness in order to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.

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Average Salary
$54,783
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
27,742
Job Openings

Interior Designer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Interior Designer

Top Careers After Interior Designer

Interior Designer Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for an Interior Designer

Interior Designers in America make an average salary of $54,783 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $75,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$54,783
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Washington, DC
Salary Range49k - 79k$63k$62,905
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range47k - 75k$60k$59,635
Amherst, MA
Salary Range48k - 71k$59k$58,924
Seattle, WA
Salary Range46k - 70k$57k$57,032
Rockville, MD
Salary Range45k - 71k$57k$56,754
New York, NY
Salary Range45k - 70k$57k$56,713
$34k
$79k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Interior Design Sales
Interior Design Sales
Smith and Noble
Smith and Noble
06/30/2021
06/30/2021
$25,00006/30/2021
$25,000
Interior Design Sales
Interior Design Sales
Smith and Noble
Smith and Noble
06/30/2021
06/30/2021
$25,00006/30/2021
$25,000
Interior Design Sales
Interior Design Sales
Smith and Noble
Smith and Noble
06/30/2021
06/30/2021
$25,00006/30/2021
$25,000
Interior Design Sales
Interior Design Sales
Smith and Noble
Smith and Noble
06/29/2021
06/29/2021
$25,00006/29/2021
$25,000
Interior Design Sales
Interior Design Sales
Smith and Noble
Smith and Noble
06/29/2021
06/29/2021
$25,00006/29/2021
$25,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Interior Designer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Interior Designer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Interior Designer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Interior Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Interior Designer Demographics

Gender

female

72.7 %

male

22.4 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

86.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.4 %

Asian

4.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.6 %

French

13.5 %

Italian

7.2 %
See More Demographics

Interior Designer Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

62.7 %

Associate

16.1 %

Certificate

11.3 %

Top Colleges for Interior Designers

1. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

2. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

3. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

4. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,896
Enrollment
15,529

5. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

6. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

8. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

9. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

10. Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,080
Enrollment
30,795
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Interior Designer That You May Like

Architectural Design Tools in Blender 2.8x - 3D Design
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Create 3D architectural models & achieve stunning design results in Blender 2.8x - Interior 3D Scenes all inside Blender...

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Top Skills For an Interior Designer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.4% of interior designers listed revit on their resume, but soft skills such as problem-solving skills and visualization are important as well.

Best States For an Interior Designer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an interior designer. The best states for people in this position are Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, and Massachusetts. Interior designers make the most in Wyoming with an average salary of $65,812. Whereas in North Dakota and Alaska, they would average $62,134 and $61,832, respectively. While interior designers would only make an average of $58,794 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Wyoming

Total Interior Designer Jobs:
49
Highest 10% Earn:
$100,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Rhode Island

Total Interior Designer Jobs:
111
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Interior Designer Jobs:
840
Highest 10% Earn:
$84,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Interior Designer Employers

1. Ethan Allen
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$41,702
Interior Designers Hired: 
389+
2. Gensler
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$52,658
Interior Designers Hired: 
163+
3. La-Z-Boy
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$43,155
Interior Designers Hired: 
140+
4. Hirsch Bedner Associates
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$50,286
Interior Designers Hired: 
107+
5. Perkins and Will
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$52,531
Interior Designers Hired: 
94+
6. The Home Depot
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$69,101
Interior Designers Hired: 
61+

Interior Designer Videos