How to Become an Interior Decorator in Florida
Known appropriately as the Sunshine State, Florida is much more than just a vacation retreat (and popular retirement location!). It contains diverse cities and neighborhoods that are perfect for interior decorators starting their careers.
Miami, Oveido, and Naples, for example, are experiencing high levels of job growth, and currently have a strong community of interior decorating pros. To set yourself apart from the competition, you’ll need a professional certification, design portfolio, and some real-world experience!
Don’t be intimidated – follow this guide to the best cities and neighborhoods to work in, and what to expect as an interior decorating salary. Read on for how to become an interior decorator in Florida!
Where to Work in Florida
Design Industries: Luxury, high-end residential, modern
Median Income: $46,036
No list of cities in Florida would be complete without Miami, and it tops the list of the best cities for an interior decorator! As one of the most vibrant areas in the U.S, Miami has earned its name as “The Magic City”, and provides plenty of opportunities for home designers.
The median age in this sunny city is 40, making it a seriously attractive location for aspiring interior decorators – this older demographic is more likely to own homes and be looking for professional expertise when it comes to remodeling their homes.
Not to mention, this city contains some of the most glamorous houses and condos in the state!
Neighborhood: Design District
For aspiring interior decorators, this is where you’ll want to spend most of your time. A buzzing mix of fashion, art, and design showrooms, this area is where to go for home designers, and you don’t need to set up shop here in order to be successful.
Simply spending your time networking at one of the many design events, or getting to know other Miami-based decorators will help you build your client base (and reputation).
An added bonus? The Design District is located less than 3 miles from downtown Miami, and 7 miles from beautiful South Beach!
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Design Industries: High-end residential, commercial design
Median Income: $48,898
For laid-back home decorators, the ocean-front community of Fort Lauderdale is the perfect location – after all, not all professionals are suited to the booming metropolis of Miami!
For many years, Fort Lauderdale has been known as a spring break retreat, with a strong arts scene and hip urban culture. As you begin your decorating career, it’s important to know which types of homes (and homeowners) are in Fort Lauderdale’s diverse neighborhoods. This will help you understand your potential client base and their needs.
Neighborhood: Colee Hammock
Named for the rise in the ground that the area was built on, Colee Hammock is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale. Getting to know this particular area is key for design professionals who want to begin their careers in Fort Lauderdale – not only is this neighborhood a mix of wealthy and working-class homeowners, the homes are usually more than 70 years old!
Interior decorators know that your role includes preserving the past and respecting the character of an older home, so marketing this type of decorating service in Colee Hammock will help you stand out as a pro home decorator!
Neighborhood: Rio Vista
Rio Vista is another area of Fort Lauderdale that is steeped in history. Most of the homes in this neighborhood are very unique, and residential streets are an interesting mix of modern and historical houses. This allows you to flex your creative muscles and show clients your full range of expertise.
Offering packages that suit the different needs of people in this neighborhood will set you apart as an interior decorator – if you choose Rio Vista as the location to start your home design career, do some research to understand what clients look for in a decorator. Learn what services you need to offer, and create packages that tailor to those needs. You’ll have clients lining up in no time!
Design Industries: Full-service design, residential, outdoor landscape
Median Income: $82,168
Oviedo has the lowest rate of unemployment and the best career prospects for interior decorators! Located 20 minutes outside of Orlando, Oviedo boasts a median income of $82,168, making it an extremely prosperous city where the people are likely to hire qualified home decorators.
Central Oviedo is a hub of full-service interior design firms, landscaping companies, and malls full of antiques! As an aspiring designer, starting your career in this growing community would be an excellent move. Not only is Oviedo smaller than Miami, there is also a much more condensed community of professional decorators.
While you’ll still need to be on top of your game with your interior decorator certificate, you’ll have less competition – a great way to get started!
Design Industries: Luxury interior design, high-end residential
Median Income: $86,092
Nestled in Collier County, Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the US. Known for high-end shopping and multi-million dollar mansions, this is a fabulous place for an interior decorator to work.
The interior design industry in sophisticated Naples is just that – sophisticated and luxurious! If you’re keen on creating high-end spaces for residential and commercial clients, you’ll want to get your design portfolio in order with examples of the work you’ve done.
When putting your portfolio together, be sure to include photos of spaces that would appeal to a luxury client, such as oversized rooms, particularly challenging spaces, and references! Your portfolio will be a key element in securing clients in the competitive Naples market.
Florida-Based Interior Decorators to Follow
Located in North Miami, the team at DKOR Interiors believes in the strong relationship between professional decorators and clients to build a home’s identity. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to see how they beautifully transform residential spaces (and be inspired by their creativity!).
As Palm Beach County’s go-to interior designer, Krista is known for her classic aesthetic that is extremely popular among high-end clientele. She’s also a well-known television personality on HGTV and hosts two shows – Save My Bath and Splurge & Save. Besides inspiring countless fans around the country, Krista also maintains an Instagram account that regularly showcases her talents as a home decorator!
Annie Santulli Designs
Annie Santulli knows a great deal about creating exquisite interiors – she’s been providing a full range of design services to clients across the US for the last 20 years. Annie’s website is an absolute treat for any interior decorator. She’s taken the time to photograph all of her work, from apartments to golf estates and penthouses!
An Interior Decorator’s Salary in Florida
The average salary of an interior decorator in Florida is $41,540 per year, but factors such as location, experience, and range of services can impact it. For example, if you provide luxury interior decorating services to clients in Naples, your salary will likely be much higher.
You’ll be pricing your services according to your target market and their needs (and the luxury market is certainly profitable!). If you choose Miami as the location to begin your interior decorating career, you may make a slightly higher salary than the average, but it depends on the type of clients you work for and the range of experience and skills you can offer.
Remember that getting a proper interior decorating certification through professional courses gives you a competitive edge, and gaining some décor experience will help to boost your salary. The beauty of living in Florida is that you can reap the benefits of a strong economy while putting your home decorating skills to good use!