Interior Design – Is it a Dying Industry?

Typically, those that pursue a career in interior design are pursuing a dream that they have most likely been nurturing since they left the crib. It is rare that you hear about people pursuing a career in interior design because they did not know what else to do or chose to follow that path until they found a better, more suited one. No, interior designers are chosen for what they do best and whenever a career in interior design is embarked on it is because these are the people who have the knack for it and who are hired to come to the rescue of those of us who do not. But is this career worth the energy that they are putting into it? And when they finish with their pricey education will there be a job for them or will they just fall back on something else to pay the bills.


The median salary for entry-level interior designers in 2016 was $49,810. Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 4% from 2014 until 2014 which is lower than average for other occupations. Of course, salary varies depending on factor such as education, location, work experience, and size of the firm if they are fortunate to get a job. Interior designers will want to get as much experience and expertise as possible to increase their salary, especially considering that a median salary is not enough considering the amount of work that interior design entails. Interior designers typically throw themselves wholeheartedly into a job because, let’s face it, it is not a job that you can do inadequately without people taking notice.

The mediocre salary is discomforting as increased pressure is put on the interior designer to accommodate the customer’s specific expectations. More clients are requesting that their homes and offices meet certain conditions, are environmentally friendly, and more easily accessible. Interior designers also need to live closer to high-income areas because their clientele often consists of wealthier clients who can afford the cost of remodeling and renovating. They will need to remain current with technological advances, such as computer-aided design software, to improve their job prospects.

Cheaper Competition

Just like everything else, interior design is changing, and like it or not, interior designers will need to change with it. Services like Homepolish are shaking up the industry by matching users to designers online, based on personality and taste and offering home and office decorating services at reasonable prices by charging by the hour (usually after a $50.00 consulting fee). This is different from the traditional method of providing interior design services where the designer charges a 30% commission fee which takes about half of the client’s budget and incentivizes the client to spend more of the client’s money with a lesser amount of money spent on the home. This affordable and easily accessible competition reduces what interior designers can charge.


The trend of downsizing living spaces may be a way of reducing living expenses in addition to the carbon footprint, but it is not favorable for interior designers who are also at the risk of being reduced—if not altogether eliminated. After all, there is not much of a challenge to design your own house when it is smaller. Instead, clients can research their own personal styles on sites such as Pinterest and receive ideas that they did not have to pay for.

Interior designers can stay ahead of the game by staying educated and by specializing in particular areas, such as restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, or by narrowing that down even further by selecting a niche such as kitchens or bathrooms.