Interior Decorator: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for interior decorators. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, job duties and average salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Interior Decorator?

Interior decorators use their creativity and decorating skills to add beauty and comfort to interior spaces. They have to make sure that all spaces on which they work are functional and appealing to clients' personal tastes. The do this in part by evaluating spaces to determine requirements and choosing appropriate decorative items, such as colors, lighting, textiles, and other materials. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree RequiredNone required, but postsecondary certificates are common
Education Field of Study Interior decorating
Key Responsibilities Place furnishings and decor in aesthetically pleasing and functional arrangements
Licensure and CertificationOptional certifications available
Median Salary (2017) $39,305*

Sources: *PayScale.com

What Job Duties Could I Have as an Interior Decorator?

Interior decorators create areas inside homes and other buildings that are pleasing to the eye and functional. With input from the customer, you'll adorn an interior with paint, wall coverings, carpet, furniture, fabrics and other furnishings. Many interior decorators run their own business. Some of your other employment options may include working in a decor agency, in a store that sells furniture or home furnishings, for a business that deals in decorating products or at an architectural firm.

What Education Do I Need?

The technical aspect of interior designing, which involves public safety, construction and building codes, typically requires a college degree. The most common path to learn how to interior decorate is by completing a certificate program. These non-credit programs are usually available through a school's continuing education division.

Certificate programs teach you decorating without the more scientific facets stressed in interior design degree programs. You may learn about decorating and drafting basics, furniture styles, window treatments, design software and how to run a decorating business. You may also choose to learn interior decorating via online courses.

Do I Need to Be Certified or Licensed?

There are currently no licensing or certification requirements to become an interior decorator. Voluntary certification is available through professional associations such as the Decorators' Alliance of North America (DANA). According to DANA, professional certification can give your career a boost by reassuring customers and increasing your professional reputation (www.decoratorsalliance.com). Other professional associations, like Certified Interior Decorators International, also offer certification for interior decorators (www.cidinternational.org).

What Salary Might I Earn?

January 2017 data from PayScale.com revealed that most interior decorators made between $23,829 and $60,967. This translates to approximately $11-63 per hour. The median salary for interior decorators was $39,305 at that same time.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Interior decorators must have a strong creative eye. Similarly, craft artists design and create handmade functional products, while fine artists such as painters create original pieces based purely on their aesthetic appeal. Floral designers cut and arrange flowers and other various types of greenery to create displays for clients, and they may also advise clients when making decisions on flower arrangements. Craft and fine artists don't need a degree to start their careers, though many do decide to earn one, and floral designers need at least a high school diploma plus training.

An interior decorator who wants to pursue additional education might look into becoming an interior designer. Though decorators and designers have some very similar duties - like choosing lighting, furnishings and flooring - designers must hold a bachelor's degree, and they also need a license to work in some states. Interior designers are able to do more advanced design work on interior spaces, and they also have a greater focus on safety than interior decorators; for example, a designer would work to ensure that the design for a space meets building codes and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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