The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has issued its 2012 Environmental Scanning Report, an annual report on design industry demographics and trends. The numbers indicate the significant impact that the recession has had on the profession. Data is taken from the report, available at asid.org/bcdevelopment/strategic.
According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were approximately 40,120 employed interior designers in the United States in May 2010, and that is an approximate 25 percent decrease from May 2008 when 53,290 interior designers were employed. The 2008 total is the lowest employment figure for interior designers since 2002.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of self-employed interior designers to be between 25 and 33 percent of the number of employed designers. With so many designers unable to find employment, however, it is difficult to know how many have been practicing while self-employed and how many have sought employment in other industries.
Among employed designers, about 40 percent work in interior design firms, and another 20 percent work in architectural firms. Other designers are employed by furniture stores, home furnishings stores, building materials and supplies dealers, retail stores, construction companies, wholesale trade businesses, education, government, entertainment, and various business services.
Wages and Salary:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Stastistics data, the mean annual wage for an interior designer employed in an interior design firm in May 2010 was $52,100, compared to $51,020 in May 2008. Designers working in architectural and engineering firms earn $56,520 on average, more than those working in other types of businesses, including interior design firms.
Specialty: Most interior designers are generalists who work on more than one type of design project a year. In studies that sample interior designers exclusively, about two-thirds of designers say their primary design specialty is residential, whereas in studies that sample architects and facility managers, as well as interior designers, about 55 percent say their primary design specialty is commercial. In terms of project type, by far the largest percentage of designers’ projects are in office design (81 percent), followed by residential (64 percent), hospitality (49 percent), healthcare (41 percent), and retail (39 percent).
According to Dun & Bradstreet, there were 11,300 interior design firms in the United States in December 2011—113 fewer than reported in 2010 and 2,088 fewer than reported in 2008. Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of U.S. interior design firms are located in the 10 states with the highest numbers of firms (see chart). Of these, North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington do not have some form of interior design legislation. About 40 percent of all interior design firms are located in the top 20 major metropolitan regions.
According to Dun & Bradstreet, average annual billings for interior design firms in the U.S. ranged from $100,000 to $1.4 million in 2011—which is down at least 30 percent from 2008—with the majority of billings, mainly with small firms, between $200,000 and $500,000. Average billings roughly correspond to $100,000 per employee.
About 55 percent of all practicing interior designers in the U.S. are estimated to be between the ages of 35 and 54. About 20 percent are 55 or older, and about 25 percent are 34 or younger.
In its most recent survey of 179 interior design programs, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) reports that during the past three years, these programs graduated 15,984 students. Of those, 3,412 were employed as interior designers, or a placement rate of about 21 percent.