The Designer's Salary: What to Expect in 2020 - QC Design School

2020 is shaping up to be a good year for designers! Whether you’re an interior decorator, a home stager, or a professional organizer, you can expect a steady growth in clients. There’s also huge potential to add further success and income to your business, if you’re willing to grab onto the opportunities provided to you. Let’s take a deeper look!

designer shaking hands with client at consultation

Salary Outlook

Of course, it goes without saying that the amount of money you make is based on many factors, but the following are the average yearly salaries per job title:

1) Interior Decorator:

In the United States, the average salary for a decorator in 2019 was between $40,000 and $50,000 USD. In Canada, during that same year, it was approximately $41,500 CAD.

2) Home Stager:

The average home stager in the US made between $35,000 and $50,000 in 2019. In Canada, the hourly rate was an average of approximately $20.00 CAD per hour.

3) Professional Organizer:

In 2019, the average annual salary for an organizer was between $40,000 and $45,000 USD. In Canada, the average hourly rate was around $17.00 CAD per hour.

Keep in mind, when talking about “average salaries”, this includes professionals of all experience levels and does not separate full-time and part-time work.  Full-time experienced designers can earn much more than the averages listed above.

Wage Increases

Although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t yet have the stats for 2019/2020, they have projected that the growth rate for designers over the next 10 years is currently holding steady at a healthy 4%+. Furthermore, additional market research done by Technavio estimates that the design services market will grow over 4% over the next four years alone!

woman putting box into organized closet and shelf

What this means is that not only do people need designers as much as ever, the job market is only going to continue to expand. The future is looking good for this industry, with plenty of employment opportunities for those willing to put in the effort!

How to Make More Money

As we mention above, there are certain steps that YOU can take to help increase your chances of a better income. Some of them may not be within your control, and that’s okay. But if you see any that are, it’s worth adding to your business strategy!


Without a doubt, this will always be the #1 factor when it comes to your salary. If you’re just starting out, or have only been working professionally for a short time, you’ll make less than a seasoned expert who’s had years to hone her craft, build her portfolio, and develop a faithful clientele.

The more valuable and reputable your services prove to be, the more potential clients be willing to pay for them. But when you’re first launching your career, you’ll likely need to earn your stripes before you can charge the rates you want.


Next to experience, where you are will play a major factor in salary. If Location A is a big city, with a higher population and more spending money, you may get more frequent jobs at higher pay. That being said, rural Location B could also be the area that proves more successful for you. The market could be in desperate need of your services, with little competition to share the workload with. No two places will be exactly the same!

If you’re looking to start your own design business in 2020, it’s worth doing your research, checking various locations, and see how their economy is doing. Does that area need a designer like you? Are there a million and one others just like you that are already successful? What are the living costs like, and the costs to own and operate a business? These are just some of the important aspects to keep in mind.

woman working on flower arrangement


While it’s not mandatory, furthering your education within the field and building upon your existing certification is definitely a way to outshine your competition! Not only does it show your dedication to the field, it makes you that much more creditable to clients. Plus, every new skill you acquire is one more service you can offer to customers.

Online design schools allow you to work around your existing schedule! With ample time to complete the program, and virtually no deadlines on any tests and/or assignments, you can get your certification in as little or as much time as you need.

What could be better?

Services Offered

Do you only offer flat rate packages, custom pricing, or charge a percentage of the project budget? Perhaps instead, there’s an hourly consultation fee? Maybe you’re flexible and offer all of these potential options to your client.

Maybe you offer all-encompassing packages deals, but could increase your profits by tacking on extra, a la carte services for an extra fee. For example, if you’re an interior decorator, you might provide the standard services for a single room, multiple rooms, and/or full houses. But what if you were to also provide add-on services, too, such as:

Expanding your skillset through education and experience will allow you to offer even more services to your clientele. The more services you can provide, the more flat and a la carte rates you can charge on your contract. Everything adds up!

color consultant looking at different color swatches on ipad

How to Book More Jobs

It may be a competitive field in some ways, but in reality, there’s still plenty of work to go around! You’ll increase your likelihood of sealing the deal if you always take the following into consideration:

  • Prepare for every client consultation! Make sure you’ve gathered all the imperative questions you need to ask, have gathered pertinent info about the client , and be ready to help them create their vision. Whether it’s your first client or yourthousandth, they all deserve the same level of commitment and enthusiasm!
  • Go over your social media, and see where you might be able to improve your online presence (e.g. should you post more frequently? How’s the quality of your content? Does it take you too long to reply to questions and comments from potential clients? Etc.) . Make sure to review your website as well, in case any info needs to be updated, broken links can be fixed, etc.
  • Revise and edit your contract until it’s air-tight, and exactly to your satisfaction. Your contract not only helps your client to best understand exactly what they’ll get from you and your business – it also makes sure you’re protected from all sorts of scenarios!
  • Network as much as possible! Jump on every opportunity that comes your way: go to trade shows, peruse forums and chat with other designers online, stay in contact with past clients – the possibilities are endless! Become a face and a name that others remember. More importantly, build yourself a reputation so that when others do remember it, it’s with a smile.

Whether you’re a decorator, a stager, or an organizer, 2020 will be a very busy and prosperous time for both you and your career! By taking advantage of all these additional opportunities at your disposal, there’s nothing that can stand in your way from thriving!

Do you have any additional tips that you’ve found useful, when it comes to growing your business and gaining more success? Let us know in the comments!

Want to improve your designer qualifications by getting some education under your belt? Enroll today in one of QC’s leading online design courses!

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