Inside Look: Interior Designer Salaries

Read Time (
July 24, 2023
Robern Design Solutions

Behind every captivating space is an expert with a flair for aesthetics, function, and spatial comprehension— an interior designer. But as these professionals tailor surroundings to resonate with our tastes and lifestyles, the question inevitably arises: "how much do interior designers make?" This guide delves into the interior designer salary landscape, using the latest data to answer that crucial question.

The State of Interior Design Salaries

The world of interior design is as diverse as the spaces these professionals transform, with compensation reflecting a blend of factors such as location, specialization, and experience. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interior designers was $58,820 in May 2020, but the highest 10 percent could earn more than $97,900. Interestingly, the International Interior Design Association discloses that the average total compensation for interior designers in 2020, which factors in bonuses and profit sharing, was an elevated $86,300.

Certification also comes into play. NCIDQ-certified interior designers were found to earn 23% more than their non-certified counterparts, according to the IIDA. Additionally, education significantly influences earning potential.

Salary by Location

Geographical location plays a considerable role in the compensation of interior designers. Here is a snapshot of average salaries in some sought-after locations:

These figures, drawn from Houzz Pro and Indeed, offer a geographical overview of interior designer salaries. Bear in mind that these figures can fluctuate based on experience, specialization, and other factors.

Salary by Experience Level

Experience, unsurprisingly, plays a significant role in the earning potential of interior designers. Here's a look at average salaries by years in the field:

These numbers, derived from PayScale, show an increase in salary with experience, reaching a plateau after a decade in the industry.

Educational Impact on Interior Designer Salary

The level of education attained by an interior designer plays a substantial role in shaping their earning potential. This is primarily due to the fact that higher education often equates to increased qualifications, enhanced skill sets, bolstered reputation, and a broader array of job opportunities.

This data from Salary Explorer paints a clear picture of how educational attainment influences an interior designer's average salary:

As illustrated, a professional with a master's degree in interior design earns almost double the annual income of one who only holds a high school diploma.

However, education is not the sole determiner of an interior designer's salary. Professional certifications also play an integral role in shaping an interior designer's income and credibility. According to Houzz¹, interior designers possessing advanced degrees or additional certifications (NCIDQ, LEED, or CID) report a median salary that's $17,000 greater than their counterparts without these credentials.

Design your space around you.

For over 50 years, Robern has been fusing unparalleled style with innovative functionality to make your everyday routines feel effortless. Transform your bathroom into a statement of breathtaking style and sophistication with Robern.


How Certifications Impact Interior Designer Salaries

Certifications also enhance job prospects by opening up specialized opportunities, as some employers or clients might specifically require or prefer certified professionals. For instance, a LEED certification paves the way for specialization in sustainable design, a field witnessing substantial growth in the industry.

A calculator on top of financial documents and receipts, indicating financial calculations or tax preparation.

Consequently, while an interior designer's level of education can significantly affect their earnings, it should be viewed as one part of a larger picture. Other crucial factors contributing to salary variations include certification, experience, location, specialty, and clientele.

Luxury Interior Designer Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, luxury interior designers, who specialize in high-end residential and commercial projects, typically earn more than average interior designers. The average salary for a luxury interior designer in the United States is $61,058 per year, but can range from $23,000 to $122,000 per year.

The top three paying cities for luxury interior designers are San Mateo, CA ($73,797), Daly City, CA ($72,602), and Green River, WY ($72,651).

Highest Paying Sectors In Interior Design

Interior design is a versatile field with many sectors, each offering unique compensation packages. According to the International Interior Design Association, here are the top sectors:

  • Corporate office design - $91,100
  • Hospitality - $88,900
  • Healthcare - $87,600
  • Retail - $86,400

Top Skills for Your Interior Design Career

A modern work desk with a computer displaying a 3D room design, surrounded by design tools like color swatches, pencils, and a tablet, with a plant and glasses present.

Mastering specific skills can significantly enhance an interior designer's value. Here are some of the most beneficial skills to possess:

  • AutoCAD
  • SketchUp
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Revit Architecture

Conclusion: The Art of Compensation

A collection of rolled-up architectural blueprints with a fan of color swatches placed on top of a flat building plan.

Beneath the swatches and space planning, the interior designer salary landscape is influenced by a myriad of factors, each vital to consider when navigating this dynamic profession. From geographical location to experience, from sectors to specific skills, the components shaping interior design salaries reveal a profession as multifaceted as the spaces it transforms.

And as the field continues to evolve, these professionals will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of marrying aesthetics with function, transforming our surroundings into places of beauty, comfort, and inspiration.

Learn More About Interior Design:

Connect with an expert

Schedule a consultation and let our dedicated concierge team assist you in customizing your design project.

Contact Us

Recent articles

Robern experts are available to assist with your needs.