How to Become an

Interior Decorator

The complete career guide to be an Interior Decorator: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $55,510
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Interior decorators are home design specialists who work with clients to choose colors, furnishings, and accessories that make homes reflect the styles and personalities of their owners. They may be hired to decorate new homes, redecorate rooms of homes, or to stage homes before they’re put on the market.

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What is an Interior Decorator?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in interior decorator roles:

  • Market services to attract new clients
  • Discuss needs, goals, preferences, and budget limitations with clients
  • Put together idea and mood boards, take pictures, and present suggestions to clients
  • Purchase rugs, furniture, and accessories, and deliver these items to client’s homes
  • Assemble new decorative items and furniture in rooms to create a new look and feel

A Day in the Life

Interior decorators are creative decorators that help clients transform outdated or empty rooms in their home into aesthetically pleasing areas that reflect the tastes and personalities of their owners. They help clients find, purchase, and lay out furniture, rugs, paint colors, and accessories that work together to create an overall theme for a single room in a house or an entire house. They may help decorate new homes, redecorate homes, or stage homes to encourage offers after a home is put on the market.

After an interior decorator finds a new client, he/she must work with the client to understand the client’s needs, goals, aesthetic, and budget. With a good feel for what the client wants, needs, and can afford, the decorator gets to work, brainstorming designs and putting together idea and mood boards. These are shared with the client for approval before purchases are made. Idea boards include images from magazines, those captured on cameras, and printed images from the internet and sites like Pinterest.

With approval on designs and costs, the interior decorator gets to work purchasing items, hiring painters and other contractors, and transporting items to client’s homes. The decorator assembles items when needed, creates orders for custom-made furniture or textiles, and puts the room together. Beyond decorating-specific tasks, the interior decorator also has administrative work to complete, like billing clients for services and marketing services both online and offline to recruit new clients.

Typical Work Schedule

Most interior decorators are self-employed, so they have the flexibility to work as many or few hours as they want, and they typically choose their working hours. They commonly need to be available outside of normal business hours to meet with clients, and many work overtime regularly to complete work.

Typical Employers

Many interior decorators are self-employed and take on clients on a freelance basis. Some others may be employed full-time by furniture, home décor, and other stores that specialize in selling home remodeling products.

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How To Become an Interior Decorator

It’s possible to become an interior decorator with only a high school diploma, though a certificate in interior decorating can help you jump start your career. Employers and clients are rarely as concerned with your educational background as they are with your portfolio and references. In an interior decorating certificate program, you can begin learning design best practices, marketing techniques, and billing methods that will enable you to begin working as an interior decorator as soon as you graduate.

To recruit clients, you will need to have a portfolio of work. You may be able to get some images from work you do in your certificate program, but volunteering to help friends, family members, and other acquaintances redecorate their homes can be a good way to add to your portfolio as well. You may also want to consider taking an entry-level interior decorator job for a furniture or other home décor store. You should be able to use images of designs you create in the store in your portfolio as well.

Beyond have the skills required and an enticing portfolio, you’ll need to market your services to attract new clients. Building a website for your business is a great way to market your services online and share your portfolio images, as is creating profiles and sharing images to popular social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Additionally, you’ll want to engage in networking as often as possible because many of your leads for clients may come from word-of-mouth referrals from network connections.

Interior Decorator Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Interior Decorator salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Interior Decorator's can make an average annual salary of $55,510, or $27 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $35,600 or $17 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #318 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Interior Decorator. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Interior Decorators

  • 1.4%   Doctorate
  • 8.7%   Masters
  • 47.4%   Bachelors
  • 12.7%   Associates
  • 17.6%   College
  • 9.8%   High School
  • 2.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Interior Decorator job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,200 jobs for a total of 61,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #491 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Interior Decorators

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Specialized design services 17,700 1,600 2%
Self-employed workers 13,400 400 0%
Furniture stores 4,600 -800 -1%

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