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How Much Can I expect to Earn as an Interior Designer?

One of the wonderful things about the field of interior design is that there is great potential to make earn a lot of money. It all depends on how much you are willing to put into it. Experienced and highly regarded interior designers have the potential to earn well above six figures a year. Many designers begin their career with a design or architectural firm and then branch off on their own when they have an established portfolio and client base.

Self-employed interior designers usually charge a per-hour consulting fee or a flat project fee. When working independently, interior designers have the freedom to set their own rates and do not have to split their commission with their employer which allows them to earn much more per project than when working for a design firm.

When initially starting out, an interior designer can expect to earn a salary that ranges anywhere from $22,000 to $40,000 on average. An interior designer’s salary can vary significantly depending on specialization (commercial or residential design, for example), type of employer (design firm, architectural firm, or retail store), experience, and reputation in the industry. The designers who specialize in work for architectural or engineering services firms typically have the highest average salary, followed closely by design services and those working as in-house designers for retail furniture stores.

In order to increase your salary as an interior designer you will need to take and pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. This exam is a prerequisite to your receiving a license in interior design. You should still take the exam even if your state does not require it for your licensure. You will need to pass it to be accepted in professional organizations that are the keys to the success of designers. Being able to list professional organizations that you belong to on your resume will make you more marketable and will therefore increase your value to a company. This means a bigger paycheck for you!

With so many different options when it comes to interior designers, you will earn more if you can make yourself stand out from the crowd. You should base your entire business and marketing strategy on a specific niche that needs to be fulfilled by an interior designer. In other words, pick something specific to specialize in. It can be something that you’re already good at or maybe whatever seems to be the most in demand in your particular area.

This way when people want a specific service to be completed your name will just jump out at them. You will see that specializing yourself might take away some of your potential business with some of the possible clientele but it will also increase your interior designer salary over time.

When it comes to earning a living as an interior designer, the sky is the limit in regards to your possible earning potential. With more effort and determination, you can easily make an excellent living off of doing something that you love!

Want to know real interior designer salaries? Find out at