Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator Salary - QC Design School

How does the interior designer salary differ from the interior decorator salary? QC Design School‘s Student Ambassador, Caitlin Tinius, is here to answer this very question!

Caitlin’s business, Modern Dream Designs, offers clients a wide variety of services – from design consultations, remodeling, e-design, home staging, professional organizing, and more. Connect with her directly in QC’s Virtual Classroom on Facebook!

Interior decorator salary article, June 11 2021, Caitlin Tinius headshot

A Little About Me

Hello, everyone! My name is Caitlin Tinius and I’m a graduate of QC Design School. I’ve completed QC’s Interior Decorating Course and am currently enrolled in the Professional Organizing Course as well.

In this article, I’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the interior designer salary vs. the interior decorator salary. Moreover, I’ll also touch upon salary comparisons and external factors that can impact your income.

So, let’s jump into it! Why don’t we start by taking a look at the similarities between the two professions?

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator


Whether you’re an interior designer or an interior decorator, your job is to work with clients and create spaces that are best suited to their needs and tastes. The ability to identify these aspects is crucial when achieving a functional space. Furthermore, you’ll assist clients with color and material selections, furniture selection and placement, and accessorizing.

Both interior designers and decorators alike must understand the fundamental elements and materials of design. Your duties will also consist of working with floorplans and developing design plans as well.

So, now that we know how the two jobs are similar, the next question is: how do they differ?


Interior design is a more technical, deeper study. You’ll spend a lot of time understanding the architectural and structural elements of a space. In addition to this, a great deal of your focus will be in computer-generated programs, blueprints, codes, drawings, and timelines. As such, a greater investment of your time and money are needed in an interior designer certification or degree program.

As an interior decorator, you’ll have the ability to tackle the same elements mentioned above. However, there will be a lot less focus on architecture and structural components of the home. Instead, you’ll often need to work with an architect or contractor in order to ensure that structural elements are handled accordingly. One attractive perk to becoming an interior decorator is that certification programs are often time more cost-effective and can be completed in a shorter duration.

Professional designer looking at color palette

Interior Designer Salary

Keep in mind that the following numbers are merely averages of a full-time interior designer’s annual salary, based on location. These figures are a not a guarantee! Rather, they’re merely a reference for the type of income you could potentially make.

  • United States: Approx. $57,000 USD per year
  • Canada: Approx. $54,000 CAD per year
  • United Kingdom: Approx. £36,634 GBP per year
  • Australia: Approx. $78,500 AUD per year

Interior Decorator Salary

Same as above, the following figures are averages of a full-time interior decorator’s annual salary, based on location. Again, these numbers are a not a guarantee. Rather, they’re examples of the type of income you could potentially make!

  • United States: Approx. $36,400 USD per year
  • Canada: Approx. $40,600 cad per year
  • United Kingdom: Approx. £50,031 GBP per year
  • Australia: Approx. $57,000 AUD per year
Talented female freelancer is working in office

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator Salary: External Factors to Consider

In either career path, there are no guarantees when it comes to income. The reality is, your salary will more than likely be dependent upon several factors. Some of these factors can be (but are not limited to):

  • Location – whether you live in a big city, a small town, etc.
  • Demand – how much your interior designing or decorator services are needed in your area, how many clients will need your expertise, etc.
  • Competition – the number of local competitors offering the same (or similar) services, what their qualifications and reputation are, etc.
  • Your Online Presence – whether or not you have a professional business website, are active on social media, etc.
  • Niche(s) – if you have anything special, unique, or in-demand that sets you apart from the other designers in your area.
  • Client Retention and/or Referral Programs – how you go above and beyond to not only attract but keep happy clients.
  • Your Marketing Strategies – how you actively choose to get your business out there and seen, both online and in-person.
  • Strong Business Branding – whether or not you have a clear understanding of your brand, properly reflect it in every aspect of your business, etc.
  • Having a Strong Design Portfolio – being able to showcase high-quality work to potential clients, vendors, etc.
  • Offering Virtual Design Services – thus allowing you to book and work with clients during the COVID pandemic, work with long-distance clients, etc.
  • Professional Training/Certification – whether or not you have a reputable education and designation to your name.

The BIGGEST Impact on Your Salary?

In my opinion, the greatest impact on your success – and therefore, your interior designer or interior decorator salary – is your CREATIVITY! The beautiful part of design is putting your creative brain to work, and creativity isn’t something that can be entirely taught. Rather, if you have a natural eye for design, the potential for your skill-set is limitless!

That being said, the biggest keys for a successful career and increasing your earning potential are to invest your time, work hard, and be persistent! Creating an online presence, establishing a niche, marketing, and expanding to virtual services can all help you establish your brand. As a result, you’ll have a MAJOR advantage in your field.

Your most valuable knowledge is gained through experience. This is exactly why I chose to enroll with QC Design School. QC has provided me with the perfect avenue to fast-track my career. With self-paced certification programs, you have the freedom to complete the coursework on your time. This learning environment offered me the flexibility to get my certification while still working full-time! Moreover, having a dedicated tutor allows you to get insightful feedback on your work, as well as invaluable insights into the industry.

Casual young lady putting glass vase with dried flowers on tea table. Millennial woman decorating her modern apartment and bedroom or living room with pampas grass

Thinking of a career in interior decorating? Believe me what I say that QC Design School is the PERFECT avenue to get the industry tools needed to build a successful career! So, why wait any longer? Make 2021 the year you pursue your design dreams – and take that first step by enrolling with QC!

Well… you heard her! 😉 Enroll with QC Design School today and start your career in as little as 3-6 months!

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Bradley Schlagheck says:

    I love that CREATIVITY is the focus! People are looking for that something that they can’t find themselves and having an eye for design is so important. Thanks for all of the info!

  • Daniella says:

    There’s so much great info in this article!! It’s so important to figure out what your end goal is before making the decision to go into design or decor! The QC design courses definitely checked off all the boxes for me too!

    • Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Daniella! <3 We completely agree, and we're thrilled to hear that QC Design School's courses met your expectations and have allowed you to further your career in interior decorating (and design in general)! <3

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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