Job Universe: Interior Designers

Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2006 to 2016.

  • The job: Designers plan interior spaces of almost every type of building, including offices, airport terminals, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and private residences. Traditionally, most interior designers focused on decorating—choosing a style and color palette and then selecting appropriate furniture, floor and window coverings, artwork, and lighting. However, an increasing number of designers are becoming involved in architectural detailing and in planning layouts of buildings undergoing renovation.
  • Outlook: Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. However, decreases in consumer and business income and spending caused by a slow economy can have a detrimental effect on employment of interior designers.
  • Experience: Postsecondary education, especially a bachelor's degree, is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. Training programs are available from professional design schools or from colleges and universities and usually take two to four years to complete. Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico register or license interior designers.
  • The not-so-good: Interior designers may work under stress to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and please clients. Self-employed designers also are under pressure to find new clients to maintain a steady income.
  • Pay: Interior design salaries vary widely with the specialty, type of employer, number of years of experience, and reputation of the individual. Among salaried interior designers, those in large, specialized design and architectural firms tend to earn higher and more stable salaries. Interior designers working in retail stores usually earn a commission, which can be irregular. Median annual wage and salary earnings for interior designers were $42,260 in May 2006.

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This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.