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How Much Do Interior Designers Make?

Are you considering a career in interior design? It really is a fulfilling profession that attracts lovers of all things beautiful. But before you decide that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, it’s important to understand the financial side of this job.

 

How much do interior designers make in 2024? That’s going to depend on various factors, including location, specialization, experience, and of course, talent. So let’s get over all the stats and data and give you the closest answer!

How Much Do Interior Designers Make in 2024?

In the United States, the median annual salary for interior designers was approximately $62,510. The estimated average salary ranges from about $52,482 to $80,468 per year, with possible additional earnings from bonuses and other benefits​.

Chart showing interior designer salary in USA based on experience level
Chart showing interior designer salary in USA based on experience level

 

In the US, the interior design profession occupies a significant place within the creative industry, and earnings in this field vary based on a number of factors including experience, location, and specialization. In 2024, the average annual salary for interior designers in the US ranges from $52,484 to $80,468. These figures highlight the significant opportunities for professional growth and financial reward within this sector.

 

For those just entering the profession, starting salaries typically hover around $50,000 to $60,000 per year. More experienced interior designers or those specializing in certain niches within design can expect higher earnings, with the potential for earnings to exceed significant figures depending on their skills and reputation.

 

Experienced interior designers, who have been in the field for a significant number of years and have a solid portfolio, can expect to earn around $70,500 per year. At this stage, designers are often tasked with overseeing multiple projects and may also have leadership roles within design firms.

 

The most significant salary gains are seen by senior interior designers who earn an average of $85,000 annually. Senior designers are leaders in their field, responsible for innovation and the mentorship of younger staff. It takes years to get to this level.

Interior Designer Salary by State

How much do interior designers make also depends on the state they’re operating in. Some states bring more income than others. This is mostly driven by supply and demand as well as some other factors. 

 

If you’re hunting for the highest salary, pack your bags and move to Alaska.

 

Yes, Alaska!

 

Most people are surprised to learn that Alaska is leading as the highest paying state at approximately $69,500 per year. It’s followed closely by Rhode Island and New York with salaries just over $66,000 and $64,000 respectively. But that doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

 

On the lower end of the spectrum we have states Mississippi and South Carolina which pay their interior designers significantly lower, around $38,000 to $39,000.

 

What causes that drastic difference in salaries between these states?

 

Less-paying states might have less demand for interior design services. That is a combination of lower costs of living, different lifestyle priorities, and less economic activity in industries that need interior designers, such as hospitality and luxury residential construction.

 

Here is a graph that shows the annual interior designer salary for each American state in the past few years.

Annual interior designer salary for each American state
Annual interior designer salary for each American state

How Much Do Interior Designers Make in Europe?

How much do interior designers make in Europe depending on which country we’re talking about. Obviously, some countries like Switzerland have salaries that are much higher than other countries, especially those in Eastern Europe.

Chart that shows interior design salary in various European countries
Chart that shows interior design salary in various European countries

 

Switzerland leads with the highest average annual salary at €65,000, but obviously this country has a really high cost of living and a strong economy. Other countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Germany also offer competitive salaries.

 

In contrast, countries like Spain and Italy show comparatively lower average salaries, which could be attributed to different economic conditions and market saturation levels.

 

So is it better to pursue an interior design career in the USA or Europe?

 

There is no right or wrong answer. However, if you’re USA-based we won’t recommend moving to Europe just to pursue a higher salary.

 

Generally, interior designers in the USA have higher average salaries compared to many European countries, particularly when you take into consideration cities like New York or San Francisco. Only Switzerland, Germany, and Nordic countries can rival American salaries.

 

Europe might offer more in terms of historical and culturally significant design opportunities. If that’s something you like, in Europe you could be working more on traditional and classical design styles, preservation, and adaptive reuse projects. The US might offer more modern, commercial, and residential design opportunities.

 

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Is Interior Design a Profitable Career?

A look at the data and trends within the industry suggests that interior design can be a very profitable career for those willing to invest time, effort and creativity in their professional development. 

 

As we already said, in the United States, interior designer earnings for 2024 indicate that this profession offers solid financial prospects, with average annual salaries ranging from $52,484 to $80,468. These figures show that interior designers can make significant incomes, especially those with extensive experience and specialization in certain areas of design.

 

Sarah's House

 

However, money doesn’t come overnight with this career. It requires years of training, continuous education and skill development. Not following trends is a surefire way not to move in your career. Building a portfolio and client network is also key to long-term success. 

 

Also, keep in mind that interior design is a saturated field. That means designers MUST stand out with their approach and quality of work to attract and retain clients. Specializing in niches such as home staging, kitchen & bath or commercial interiors can be helpful. 

 

Here is a list of profitable interior design niches to consider:

 

  • Residential Interior Design
  • Commercial Interior Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Healthcare Interior Design
  • Educational Facility Design
  • Hospitality Design
  • Corporate Office Design
  • Kitchen and Bath Design
  • Aging in Place Design
  • Biophilic Design
  • Luxury Residential Design
  • Feng Shui Design
  • Home Staging
  • Lighting Design
  • Smart Home Design
  • Event and Exhibition Design
  • Cultural and Heritage Design

How Much Do Interior Designers Charge for a Project?

For total project costs, designers will charge between 10% and 20%. Hourly rates for interior designers can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on their experience and reputation in the industry. 

 

The price per project for interior design is also going to depend on several factors. Most important factors are the complexity of the project, the location and the experience of the designer.

 

 

Most designers and their clients love to work at a fixed price per project. Designers will give you an estimate based on the time and resources required to finish the project. They will usually calculate with $50-$200 price per hour range.

 

A percentage of the total project cost is a common billing model. That’s where designers will charge between 10% and 20% of the whole project, depending on what you’ve established beforehand.

 

Final price may vary depending on materials and finishes you choose. That’s why you should always have a clear vision before hiring an interior designer. 

Can You Be a Millionaire from Interior Design?

So you’re into interior design but also want to be a millionaire. Is that possible?

 

For some, YES!

 

The bad news is: It’s really hard and it takes more than being good at your job.

Becoming a millionaire as an interior designer means you have to be a great businessman and great at networking. You won’t get there with a fixed salary, so you’ll probably have to start your own business.

 

You have to be picky about the projects you choose and specialize in market segments that can handle high fees. That means working mostly on luxury residential spaces or commercial projects. Other profitable industries include high-end hotels, restaurants and retail spaces.

 

Achieving millionaire status also requires careful financial management and investment in marketing and branding. You need to attract clients willing to pay a premium for your services. And you won’t do that without good branding.

Richest Interior Designers

Okay, so you can become a millionaire as an interior designer. Let’s take a look at some people who managed to do it. 

 

Based on the most recent information available, here’s a table showcasing some of the richest interior designers and their estimated net worths:

 

Designer Net Worth
Michael Chow $300 Million
Kelly Wearstler $150 Million
Joanna Gaines $50 Million
Kelly Hoppen $77 Million
Nate Berkus $18 Million
Bobby Berk $10 Million
Alison Victoria $3 Million

 

These designers have accumulated their wealth through successful interior design projects that span both residential and commercial sectors. They can even be considered pop icons as they have significantly influenced the interior design industry.

Is Interior Design a Happy Career?

How much do interior designers make is not the only question you should ask yourself. 

 

Is interior design a happy career and is it safe?

 

Interior design can be (and mostly is) a fulfilling and happy career choice for those seeking more than just a job in it. This is a great job for creative people who want to express their creativity every day and get paid for it. 

 

Another thing that makes this job “happy” is immense satisfaction in seeing how a well designed space can positively impact the daily life of your clients. Seeing them happy in their brand new kitchen will make you feel so proud as a designer.

 

It may not be the safest job, but it’s definitely dynamic. Each new project is unique, no space is the same. That means you’ll have to continuously learn and adapt in order to stay on the top of your game. This also makes the profession stimulating and prevents monotony, which means happy in our book!

 

As with any job, there are challenges. Biggest challenges for interior designers are deadlines, budget constraints and communication barriers. However, if you’re passionate enough this won’t be a problem.

Is Interior Design The Right Career Path For You?

If you’re still not sure whether interior design is the right career for you, we made this fun quiz that can help you out.

 

How does it work?

 

If you answer “YES” to more than five of these questions, interior design might be a suitable career path for you.

 

  1. Do you enjoy being creative and working on design projects?
  2. Are you good at visualizing space and imagining how it can be transformed?
  3. Do you have a strong sense of color, texture, and aesthetics?
  4. Do you enjoy following trends in furniture, architecture, and interior design?
  5. Are you comfortable working with clients and understanding their needs?
  6. Do you have good communication and interpersonal skills?
  7. Are you willing to continuously learn and update your skills in design software and technology?
  8. Do you handle criticism well and use it constructively to improve your work?
  9. Are you organized and detail-oriented, capable of managing projects from conception through completion?
  10. Do you enjoy a career where your work hours and environment may vary, including visits to sites, client meetings, and design studios?

 

If you’re leaning towards a career in interior design and need resources like free software, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to support your passion and help you kickstart your journey into the world of interior design with the right tools and guidance.

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