Residential Designer Career Info

Learn how a flair for decorating and an interior design degree can help you become a residential designer. Read on for more information about professional duties, required education, career outlook, and potential earnings for residential designers.

Career Definition for Residential Designers

Residential designers may work for interior design studios, home décor centers, or independently. In addition to office activities, they also meet with clients in their homes. Professional responsibilities include selecting or recommending furniture, window treatments, paint, accessories, and lighting. Residential designers may also help clients choose appliances and arrange furniture or serve as a liaison to other contractors working on a residence.

Education Bachelor's degree; an apprenticeship after graduation is beneficial for employment; state licensure may be required
Job Skills Familiarity with materials of the job, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, problem solving, creative thinking
Median Salary* $53,370 for all interior designers (2018)
Career Outlook* 4% for all interior designers (2016-2026)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree in interior design is usually required to pursue a career in residential design or drafting, such as those that have been approved by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Core coursework may include training in computer-aided design and drafting, textiles, math, and marketing. After graduation, some residential designers enter into formal apprenticeship programs with their first employer. Professionals who use the title 'interior designer' may need a state license, and requirements typically include experience in the field and a passing score on an exam.

Skills Required

In addition to creativity and visual skills, residential designers should have the interpersonal skills necessary for establishing a rapport with their clients. Attention to detail, the ability to solve visual problems, and a familiarity with materials and interior construction are also key for residential designers.

Career and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 4% growth in employment for interior designers nationwide between 2016 and 2026. Tthe BLS also notes that art and design workers will see a similar increase in jobs during the same 10-year period. The median annual salary for interior designers, including residential designers, was $53,370 in May 2018.

Alternate Career Options

Related careers include:


Licensed architects design commercial and residential buildings, as well as overseeing the budgetary and contractual aspects of the projects. Minimum educational and state licensing requirements include a Bachelor of Architecture from a program that has been approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. A substantially paid internship and a passing score on the Architecture Registration Examination is also required. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for architects are anticipated to grow by 4%, or slower than average, nationwide from 2016-2026. As of May 2018, architects received median yearly salaries of $79,380.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects design outdoor public and residential sites, campuses, gardens and parks. The majority of states require landscape architects to be licensed, and credentialing criteria includes a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from a program that has been approved by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. Candidates must also complete an apprenticeship or internship and pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination. As reported by the BLS, employment prospects for landscape architects are expected to increase by 6% nationwide, or as fast as average, from 2016 to 2026. Landscape architects who were employed in May 2018 earned median annual wages of $68,230, also according to the BLS.

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