Is Interior Design a High Paying Job? Exploring the Earnings Potential

Is interior design a high paying job? This is a question that has been lurking in the minds of many aspiring designers. In this day and age, people want to be sure they’re investing time and money into a career that would provide them with a comfortable lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want that? If you’re wondering if interior design can provide that level of financial security, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re diving into the world of interior design to see if this creative field is lucrative enough to be considered a high-paying job.

In the past, interior design was considered a luxury, and only the elite could afford to hire professionals to work on their homes. However, times have changed, and people are now more inclined to invest in their homes, making interior design a lucrative profession. But let’s face it; the money doesn’t come easy in any field, and interior design isn’t an exception. It would require hard work, dedication, and creativity to distinguish you from the many other designers out there. To truly determine if interior design is a high paying job, we have to look at various factors such as the skillset required, education, experience, and location.

Becoming an interior designer is not an overnight journey; it requires time, money, and patience. However, the rewards can be substantial. If you’re considering this creative field but are looking for more information on whether it’s a high paying job, consider this article as your ultimate guide. We’ll break down all you need to know about interior design as a profession, providing you with numbers, career paths, and tips to help you succeed. So sit back, relax and grab a cup of coffee as we embark on this enlightening journey.

Interior design as a lucrative career choice

If you have a passion for design and love creating beautiful and functional spaces, you might be wondering if interior design is a high-paying job. The good news is that with the right education, skills, and experience, interior design can be a very lucrative career choice. Here are some reasons why:

  • High-demand industry – The demand for skilled interior designers is always present, which means there is a continuous need for their services. Whether it’s residential or commercial spaces, people are always looking for ways to improve their surroundings.
  • Excellent earning potential – Interior designers can earn a high income depending on the projects they work on, their knowledge and skills, and the location of their clients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interior designers in May 2020 was $56,040. However, top earners can make over $96,000 per year.
  • Diverse job opportunities – As an interior designer, you have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, from real estate to hospitality to retail. You can also be self-employed or work for a design studio or architecture firm. With so many options, you can choose a career path that aligns with your interests and passions.

To succeed in this field, you need to have a combination of creativity and technical skills. You’ll need to be able to visualize the finished product, but also have a deep understanding of color theory, space planning, lighting, and materials. Additionally, networking and marketing yourself and your work is crucial to building a successful career in interior design.

Overall, if you have the passion, skills, and dedication, interior design can be a very high-paying and rewarding career choice.

Top paying interior design jobs

In the world of interior design, it is possible to make a very good living. While not every position in the field will provide a large salary, there are several high-paying jobs that are attainable with the right qualifications and experience.

  • Chief Creative Officer: As the top creative executive in a company, a Chief Creative Officer can expect to earn a very high salary. In the field of interior design, this type of executive may oversee multiple creative teams with multiple projects. They may also have a great deal of visibility in the industry, leading to more speaking engagements, interviews, and other opportunities to increase their earnings.
  • Senior Interior Designer: Senior interior designers are typically well respected and have a long track record of success. They may have many years of experience and be very skilled at creating unique designs that meet their clients’ needs. In this role, they may earn a salary that is highly competitive and offers a great deal of room for growth.
  • Interior Design Director: As the head of a design department or team, an Interior Design Director can expect to earn a very high salary. They will oversee all of the design projects that the team is working on, manage budgets, and ensure that the team is meeting deadlines while achieving great results. This position typically requires many years of experience in both design and management.

Additional high-paying interior design roles

In addition to the top-paying jobs listed above, there are several other positions in the field of interior design that can pay very well. Some of these include:

  • Design Director: As a design director, you will be responsible for the creative direction of multiple design projects. You will need to collaborate with other creative teams to ensure that the designs you create meet the needs of the client. In this role, you can expect to earn a salary that is highly competitive and offers a great deal of room for growth.
  • Architect: Architects are often involved in designing the interiors of commercial spaces. They may work with designers to ensure that the interior of a building is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and meets safety standards. This career can be extremely rewarding financially and creatively.
  • Project Manager: Project managers in the field of interior design are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a given design project. They may work with designers on the initial creative process and also manage the construction and installation of the final design. Project managers can earn very good salaries, and they may work on projects for high-profile clients that lead to more opportunities for success.


Overall, there are several high-paying jobs in the field of interior design. To achieve these positions, however, takes time, experience, and a great deal of hard work. Those who are willing to put in the effort can find great success in this field, both creatively and financially.

Job Title Median Salary
Chief Creative Officer $246,990
Interior Design Director $142,344
Senior Interior Designer $77,930
Architect $80,750
Project Manager $72,414

Note: Median salaries are based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and may vary depending on location, experience, and other factors.

Factors affecting interior designer salaries

Interior design is a creative and lucrative profession. However, there are various factors that affect the salary of interior designers. Understanding these factors can help you decide if interior design is a high paying job for you.

  • Experience: As with most professions, experience plays a vital role in determining an interior designer’s salary. Professionals with more years of experience will usually command higher salaries than those just starting.
  • Education: Formal education in interior design can also affect your salary. Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in interior design may earn more than those without one.
  • Location: The location of an interior designer’s practice can significantly affect their salary. Professionals working in urban areas or major cities may earn more than those working in rural areas or small towns.
  • Specialization: Interior designers can focus on specific areas of design, such as residential or commercial design. Those with a niche area of expertise can often command higher salaries.


Experience is one of the primary factors that affect an interior designer’s salary. As with most professions, the more experience an interior designer has, the higher their salary will be. Experienced interior designers have honed their skills over time, which enables them to work more efficiently, deliver results more quickly, and create better designs. Clients are willing to pay more for this level of expertise and specialization.

Interior designers just starting may need to accept lower salaries and less desirable projects. As time passes, they can build their portfolio, gain more experience, and hopefully command a higher salary.


An interior designer’s educational background can also influence their salary. Interior designers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in interior design may be able to command higher salaries than those without one. Formal education in interior design provides specialized training in color theory, spatial planning, computer-aided design, and other important areas. Additionally, a degree can help a new designer get their first job and build their portfolio.


The location of an interior designer’s practice can significantly affect their salary. An interior designer in a large city like New York or San Francisco may command a higher salary than someone practicing in the suburbs or a small town. This is because large cities have a higher cost of living, and typically, clients in these areas are willing to pay more for a high-quality interior design service.

However, location can be a double-edged sword. While large cities offer higher salaries, they also have more competition. Interior designers in smaller, less populated areas may have less competition, but they may also have to offer lower prices to attract clients.


Interior designers can specialize in specific areas of design, such as residential or commercial design, or focus on a particular style. Specialization can be an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other designers and command higher salaries.

For example, an interior designer who specializes in creating wellness-focused spaces may have an in-demand skill set and be able to charge more for their services. Similarly, an interior designer with expertise in sustainable design may command higher rates as more clients seek environmentally friendly solutions in their homes and offices.

Factor Impact on Salary
Experience Positive
Education Positive
Location Positive or negative, depending on where you practice
Specialization Positive

The bottom line is that interior design can be a high paying job, but salaries can vary depending on various factors. If you’re considering a career in interior design, it’s essential to understand these factors to evaluate your earning potential and make informed decisions about your career.

Emerging trends in high paying interior design jobs

Interior design is a multifaceted profession, and it’s constantly evolving to keep up with emerging trends. If you’re interested in pursuing a high paying interior design job, you need to be aware of the latest trends in the industry. Here are some of the emerging trends in high paying interior design jobs:

  • Green design – With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, green design is becoming increasingly popular. This involves using eco-friendly materials and developing energy-saving solutions that can reduce the carbon footprint of a building.
  • Smart homes – The rise of smart technology has led to an increased demand for interior designers who are capable of integrating smart solutions into homes. Smart homes involve incorporating technology that can control lighting, temperature, and many other features of a home through the use of a smartphone or other device.
  • Multifunctional spaces – People are now more focused on the functionality of their living spaces. This trend involves designing spaces that can serve multiple purposes, such as a home office that can easily convert into a guest room.

High paying interior design jobs

While interior design careers can be rewarding, not all interior design jobs pay equally. Here are some high paying interior design jobs that are worth considering:

  • Senior interior designer – With experience and efficient skills, senior interior designers claim top spots on the billing scale. Senior interior designers can earn a national average salary of over $72,000.
  • Architectural project manager – This job requires expertise in creating and managing the budgets, and designing and implementing the interior design products that complement architecture. This position pays an average salary of over $84,000 per annum.
  • Commercial interior designer – Commercial interior designers work on projects for companies, organizations, and other commercial spaces, which may include offices , hotels, and other public spaces. This lucrative position can come with an average salary of over $76,000 per year.

Compensation and benefits

Interior designers who land one of these high paying jobs can earn substantial salaries, but that’s not all. Many employers also offer attractive benefits that make these positions even more desirable. These may include health insurance, paid vacation time, and retirement benefits. With a high paying interior design job, you can expect to receive compensation that matches your experience and expertise.


Interior design is an exciting field with many new and emerging trends to watch out for. The paying trend is also on the rise as skilled interior designers are in high demand. Senior interior designers, architectural project managers, and commercial interior designers are just some of the high paying jobs that you can pursue in this industry. Interiors designers can also enjoy attractive compensation and benefits packages, which make these positions even more rewarding.

Job Position Average Salary (per annum)
Senior Interior Designer $72,000
Architectural Project Manager $84,000
Commercial Interior Designer $76,000

So, go ahead and pursue a career in interior design with the knowledge that you can earn a high paying salary.

Geographical location and its impact on interior design salaries

Interior design is a field that is highly influenced by its geographic location. Salaries in this profession can fluctuate depending on a few factors, such as the demand for designers, the cost of living, and the overall economy of the area. In this article, we’ll explore how geographic location can affect interior design salaries.

  • Cost of living: The cost of living in a specific area can have a significant impact on interior design salaries. Areas with a high cost of living, such as New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, will typically offer higher salaries to compensate for the higher expenses. In contrast, areas with a lower cost of living, such as Des Moines or Indianapolis, may offer lower salaries that still provide a comfortable standard of living.
  • Demand for designers: Another factor that can influence interior design salaries is the demand for designers in a specific geographic location. Areas with a strong economic focus on industries such as technology or real estate tend to have a higher demand for designers. For example, San Francisco and Seattle both have a high demand for interior designers due to the booming tech industry in these cities.
  • Regional specialization: Some areas of the country are well known for specific design styles or techniques. These regional specialties can also impact salaries for interior designers. For example, in the Southwest, interior designers who specialize in desert-style design may command higher salaries.

In addition to these factors, it is also important to consider the overall economy of the area you are working in. A robust economy can create opportunities for higher paying jobs, while a struggling economy may make it more difficult to find well-paying work.

Overall, it’s important to remember that geographic location can play a significant role in determining interior design salaries. By understanding the factors that influence salaries in your area, you can better position yourself for success in this exciting and lucrative field.

City Median Salary
New York City $62,000
San Francisco $68,000
Los Angeles $55,000
Des Moines $45,000
Indianapolis $42,000
Dallas $53,000
Seattle $62,000
Chicago $51,000

The table above shows median salaries for interior designers in various cities across the United States. As you can see, there is quite a bit of variation in salaries depending on the city, which further emphasizes the importance of considering geographic location when evaluating interior design salaries.

Education and Experience Requirements for High Paying Interior Design Jobs

Interior design is a lucrative industry that offers high paying jobs to qualified professionals. However, becoming a successful interior designer requires the right combination of education, experience, and skills. In this subsection, we’ll discuss the education and experience requirements for high paying interior design jobs.

  • Bachelor’s degree in interior design or related field – most high paying interior design jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design, architecture, or a related field. Programs typically include coursework in design principles, space planning, color theory, textiles and materials, and computer-aided design (CAD).
  • Related work experience – while a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for many high paying interior design jobs, additional work experience in the industry is also highly valued. Entry-level designers may start out as assistants or junior designers to gain hands-on experience and learn from other professionals in the field.
  • Professional certifications – obtaining professional certifications is a great way to enhance your credentials and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a particular area of interior design. Some of the most recognized certifications in the industry include the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

In addition to the above requirements, it’s important for interior designers to have a strong portfolio of their work to showcase their design aesthetic and problem-solving skills to potential clients or employers. Networking and staying up-to-date with the latest design trends and technologies are also critical for success.

Education Level Median Annual Salary
Bachelor’s Degree $52,810
Master’s Degree $63,670
Professional Degree $120,910

As the table above shows, earning a professional degree in interior design can significantly increase your earning potential. However, it’s important to note that higher education alone does not guarantee success in the industry. Experience, certifications, and a strong portfolio are equally important factors to consider when pursuing a high paying interior design job.

The Role of Technology in Determining Interior Designer Pay Scales

Advancements in technology have greatly impacted the interior design industry, especially in terms of pay scales. Technological tools have made the job of an interior designer more efficient, productive, and creative, resulting in higher pay rates for those who are skilled in their use.

Here are some ways technology has influenced interior designer pay scales:

  • Software: The availability of software applications specifically designed for interior designers has made the process of creating floor plans, 3D models, and presentations much faster and more streamlined. This means designers can take on more projects and complete them in less time, resulting in higher compensation.
  • Virtual Reality: With the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, interior designers can now create an immersive experience for their clients. This technology enables designers to create virtual environments that allow their clients to interact and visualize the design before they are built. The ability to provide such a service enhances a designer’s reputation and commands higher fees.
  • Online Marketplaces: Online interior design marketplaces have become more popular in recent years, which provide a platform for interior designers to showcase their portfolios and services. This exposure can lead to more clients and higher fees.

Additionally, the use of technology has made interior design accessible to a broader market, allowing designers to work remotely and expand their services globally. This has led to an increase in demand for interior designers, which in turn has driven up compensation rates.

Advancement Effect on Pay Scales
Software Increase
Virtual Reality Increase
Online Marketplaces Increase

In conclusion, technology has revolutionized the interior design industry, and skilled designers who are adept at utilizing these tools can command higher pay rates. As technology continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly have a continued and growing impact on the pay scales of interior designers.

Is Interior Design a High Paying Job? FAQs

1. What is the average salary for an interior designer?
The average salary for an interior designer varies depending on their experience, location, and specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average interior designer salary in the United States is around $56,000 per year.

2. Can you make a good living as an interior designer?
Yes, you can make a good living as an interior designer if you have the right skills, talent, and work ethic. Interior designers who specialize in high-end residential or commercial projects can earn significantly more than the average salary.

3. What are the highest paying interior design specialties?
Some of the highest paying interior design specialties include healthcare design, hospitality design, retail design, and sustainable design. These specialties require advanced knowledge and skills, which leads to higher salaries.

4. Do interior designers make more money than architects?
Interior designers and architects both work in the construction and design industry, but they have different roles and responsibilities. On average, architects tend to earn more than interior designers due to their extensive education and licensing requirements.

5. Are there any additional benefits to working as an interior designer?
Yes, working as an interior designer can come with several additional benefits such as job flexibility, creative fulfillment, and the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and industries.

6. What education is required to become an interior designer?
To become an interior designer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field. Some states also require additional licensing or certification depending on the type of work you do.

7. Is it worth it to pursue a career in interior design?
Pursuing a career in interior design can be personally and financially rewarding if you have a passion for design, creativity, and innovation. The key is to choose a specific specialization and to develop the skills and expertise required to succeed.

A Closing Word on Interior Design as a Career

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about interior design as a career. While it can be challenging to break into the industry and establish yourself as a successful designer, the rewards can be significant. Whether you are interested in residential, commercial, or sustainable design, there is plenty of opportunity to make a good living and make a difference in your clients’ lives. So, if you are considering a career in interior design, keep exploring, keep learning, and keep pursuing your dreams. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit again soon for more inspiring content!