Professionals who specialize in interior decorating are called interior designers or decorators. They beautify interior spaces and make them functional and safe. Though they may have their own studios and offices from which to plan projects, they often visit project sites to oversee work and check progress. Most work full time, but may adjust their schedules for the convenience of their clients. Their salaries and benefits depend on their employers and location.
Jobs in interior decorating averaged $52,810 per year, or $25.39 per hour, as of May 2011, states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top tier of designers earned over $86,430 annually, or $41.55 hourly. The lowest paid made less than $25,720 yearly, or $12.36 an hour. Among the different types of decorators are kitchen and bath designers, lighting designers, who work with light to brighten private and public spaces, closet designers, who maximize the use of storage, and sustainable designers, who improve energy use and water efficiency in interior environments.
Specialized design services, which included interior design firms, paid a mean $52,870 per year, or $25.42 per hour. They were the biggest employers of interior decorators, with 15,640 out of the total 40,950 positions. The next largest employers were architectural and engineering firms, with 8,710 jobs and mean pay at $57,950 yearly, or $27.86 hourly. The highest paying employers were used merchandise stores, offering an average annual $73,180, or $35.18 per hour. Next was the federal government with average salaries of $72,490 per year, or $34.85 per hour. Newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers rounded out the top three for compensation at a mean annual $66,850, or $32.14 hourly.
Larger populations need more decorated spaces, so the most populous state of California has the best interior decorating opportunities among the states, with 5,920 workers making a mean $58,860 per year, or $28.30 per hour. The most populous city of New York boasted the same distinction among metropolitan areas, with 2,600 jobs averaging an annual $68,770, or $33.06 hourly. For the highest pay among states, the District of Columbia, which the BLS classified with states, ranked first with averages of $76,020 yearly, or $36.55 hourly. The top paying city was Worcester, Massachusetts, at a mean $75,500 per year, or $36.30 per hour.
Employed interior designers receive the same benefits as anyone working for their companies. This varies by employer but can include paid vacations and holidays, sick leave and health insurance. The self-employed must pay for these perks out of their pockets. Other benefits are more intangible. As with any creative professional, people in interior decorating can indulge their artistic impulses for public display. They also have satisfaction from helping clients live better by designing spaces that function for the elderly, for instance, or that promote sustainability through designs made from renewable resources.