How to Become an Interior Decorator

Interior Decorator Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $57,580
Avg. Pay / hour $27.68
Education 2-4 Years
Job Outlook 19%

Interior Decorators draw upon many of their skills, experiences, and natural talents in order to personalize their client’s homes or places of business.

Interior Decorators may have the opportunity to work with several kinds of clients including businesses.

Some Interior Decorators also choose to specialize in decorating one area such as the bathroom or kitchen design.

Interior Decorators have recently become more sought after by businesses who want to personalize and provide a welcoming atmosphere for their clients or patients.

For example, a doctor’s office is a type of business that might seek the help of an Interior Decorator in order to spruce up their waiting room.

The increase of businesses requesting professional help from an Interior Decorator has resulted in an increase in demand for their services.

Continue reading below if you are making plans to become an Interior Decorator.

Included below are educational requirements, a general job description, salary and wage information as well as the future outlook of this profession.

Education Requirements to Become an Interior Decorator

In order to become an Interior Decorator, students should expect to strengthen their natural talents by attending an interior decorating program.

A minimum of an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree is required for all entry-level positions.

In addition, certain states offer licensure for this career.

According to the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, there are approximately 315 accredited interior decorating programs in the nation.

In order to become an Interior Decorator a student will need to attend and complete one of these: For more information, visit

Depending on the Interior Decorating program, a candidate may have to submit samples of their work when applying.

A typical Bachelor’s degree will take approximately four years to complete while an Associate’s program can take 2 to 3 years to complete.

Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities in the field.

Student’s completing a 2 or 3-year program will receive either a certificate or Associate’s degree and will qualify for positions as Interior Design Assistant.

Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree will qualify for entry-level positions and many recognized apprenticeship programs.

Interior Decorator Job Description

An Interior Decorator’s goal is to create a pleasantly aesthetic space that is practical.

For businesses, the space would need to fulfill an objective, such as creating a space that is comfortable and welcoming for areas such as a clinic’s waiting room.

Interior Decorators can fulfill this responsibility by decorating the inside of a specific room inside.

The types of places they can decorate include residential and business buildings.

They will decorate a specified area by planning, designing, and furnishing the room.

For residences, some Interior Decorators may furnish and design all rooms within a home or specialize in one area of the home; this all depends on what the client’s needs are.

An Interior Decorator would consider the mood or atmosphere they would want to create for the client according to the client’s requests.

They will draw upon their client’s request and decide on a color palette and style using this information.

Interior Decorators will consider all aspects of the room including wall color, windows, and flooring.

They will need to consider the room’s size in order to furnish the space.

An Interior Decorator will use their communication skills in order to determine what type of design a client is seeking.

They will plan and execute a design using this information and complete a project within the predetermined timeline.

Interior Decorator Salary and Career Path

The career outlook for Interior Decorators is expected to grow at a fast pace through the year 2026.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be a 19% increase in employment opportunities.

However, competition will be intense as there are many creative people who want to go into this field.

Some candidates will benefit from specializing in one aspect of interior decorating, for example, a candidate can specialize in the bathroom or kitchen design.

Many professionals in the industry do this in order to stand out to potential clients.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports wages and salaries for Interior Decorators.

The national median wage for these professionals in 2019 was approximately $60,990 per year.

Wages can depend on the niche an Interior Decorator works in, whether they are self-employed and the industry they work in.

In 2019, the salary range for all Interior Decorators was between $31k and $96k.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$79,420
New Hampshire$67,880
New Jersey$67,430
New Mexico$50,650
New York$72,220
North Carolina$55,140
North Dakota$47,810
Rhode Island$77,250
South Carolina$43,070
South Dakota$66,280
Wyoming- NA -
Puerto Rico$31,570

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $79,420.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $79,420
Rhode Island - $77,250
Massachusetts - $73,140
New York - $72,220
California - $70,290
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Interior Designers, OCC Code 27-1025, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an interior decorator do?

An interior decorator selects and places decorative elements in the client’s home (paint, textile, furniture…) to determine the feel and the look of the place.

The main difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator is that the latter does not make any architectural changes to the place.

Interior decorators can be consultants and freelancers or work for different companies.

The main responsibilities include meeting with the client to fully understand what he or she needs.

Later on, the interior decorator will be working with the client’s budget while selecting various decorative elements and installing and placing all of those.

In most of the cases, interior decorators are also responsible for the work of the subcontractors (carpenters, painters, floor refinishers…).

How much do interior decorators make?

According to the BLS, on average, interior decorators earn around $25 per hour.

You can expect to make between $35.000 and $66.000 per year.

However, there are professionals that earn $86.500 and more annually.

The interior decorators that work for building material dealers and furniture stores have the smallest salary in the field – around $46.000-$47.000.

Those who specialize in design services can make a little less than $53.000, while the ones who are employed by engineering and architectural firms earn nearly $58.000.

Interior decorators that are employed directly by the federal government have the highest salaries – nearly $72.500.

How much does it cost to become an interior decorator?

It is not mandatory to have a degree, in case you want to become an interior decorator.

However, those with formal education get hired more often.

A bachelor’s degree in interior design, for example, can cost you around $33.000 annually (books and supplies included).

You can also take one of the certification programs.

An online interior decorator program will cost you approximately $900.

You might want to consider joining a professional organization for decorators.

Those offer further education and networking opportunities, but the membership will cost you around $1000 per year.

What is the demand for interior decorators?

The BLS expects employment to increase by about 19% for interior decorators.

That is a little faster than the average growth of the other occupations nationwide.

Jobs at specialized design firms will grow even faster – by 27%

By the end of 2020, there is expected to be around 11.000 new jobs for interior decorators in the United States.

How long does it take to become an interior decorator?

If you want to earn a degree, it will take you 2-4 years.

There are plenty of short-term programs available and some can be completed in only a few semesters.

Bear in mind that an interior decorator has to have great computer skills and ideally drawing skills.

You would also need a portfolio that highlights your best works; it might take you a while to compile one.

Some industries might require you to have formal education (like restaurants or hotels, for example).

But you can always enter the retail industry to gain the necessary experience.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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