An interior design salary is higher than an interior decorator salary due to the higher range of skills that a designer needs. With this higher requirement of knowledge, the interior designer has higher earning potential. Interior designers focus on improving the quality and safety of a living space or building plus improving the overall function of the same building or living space. Interior decorators generally focus on the aesthetics of a building and living space.
Interior designers must have knowledge of blueprints since their work starts before a building is even built sometimes. Designers must be knowledgeable in creating proposals and following a budget put forth by the client. An interior designer's salary will reflect the specific knowledge they will learn in school.
An interior design salary can range from $22,000 to $40,000 per year to start depending on the whether the designer is specializing in commercial or residential design. Salary can depend on the design firm, experience and their reputation. In 2004 in the United States, the median salary for interior designers was more than $40,000. Designers that do specialized work for engineering or architectural firms have the highest average salary in the field. Retail furniture store designers who work in-house have the next highest salary for interior designers.
Once a designer gains plenty of experience, they have the potential to earn an interior design salary in excess of $100,000 per year. Interior designers just out of school generally begin their careers with an established architectural or design firm. Once they have gained experience many designers branch off and form their own business.
An interior design salary for self-employed designers is based on their per-hour consulting fee thus earnings for self-employed designers can be quite varied. A 2005 survey showed that the average salary for a self-employed designer is around $51,000.
An interior designer's salary can be increased by being nationally licensed through the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ). This licensing is mandatory in some states. An interior designer can increase their potential earnings by keeping their skills up to date by taking courses offered by design schools around the country. These skills can be upgraded through online programs as well.
A self-employed designer can increase their salary in many ways. They can charge an initial consultation fee however; this may limit the number of clients they get since it could turn off a potential client. On the other hand, the designer's time is money and if they are very busy, it may not be worthwhile to provide free consultations.
An interior designer can charge their client by the hour. An hourly fee can range from $60.00 per hour to $350.00 per hour depending on the experience of the designer and where the designer is located, for example New York city.