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Interior Designers & Interior Decorators (NOC 5242) may also be called:

  • interior design technician
  • home decorating consultant
  • interior design consultant
  • kitchen designer
  • office space planner
  • project manager, interior design
  • retail space planner

What Would I Do?

Interior Designers & Interior Decorators come up with ideas and produce artistic, practical and safe designs for interior spaces in residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and industrial buildings.  Duties may include:

  • speak with clients to find out their needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space
  • develop detailed plans and 3-D models showing arrangement of walls, dividers, displays, lighting and other fixtures using computer-assisted design (CAD) software and graphics software
  • develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings
  • advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, floor and wall coverings, interior and exterior lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account physical comfort and efficiency and occupational health standards
  • estimate costs and materials
  • prepare plans for final interior designs according to current practices and codes
  • may also specialize in designing interiors for trade shows and exhibitions

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

Interior Designers & Interior Decorators should be:

  • creative
  • organized
  • good with people

They should have:

  • design sense
  • good communication skills
  • sense of colour coordination
  • spatial perception skills
  • drawing ability

Interior Designers & Interior Decorators mostly work indoors, in offices, retail stores, and clients’ spaces.  They may have to work at heights occasionally.  Local travel is common to reach job sites.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Interior Designers & Interior DecoratorsCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Interior Designers’ and ‘Interior Decorators’)

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

WorkBC reports that in British Columbia the median annual salary for Interior Designers & Interior Decorators is approximately $47,719.

JobBank Canada lists hourly wages for BC’s regions where Interior Designers & Interior Decorators can expect to make:

Regional Hourly wages for Interior decorators & interior designers i

Table from Job Bank Canada Wage Report

Salaried interior designers often receive benefits, such as dental coverage and sick days. Self-employed designers must provide their own benefits.  Interior decorators who work for decorating firms, retail stores, or suppliers often work on commission. They earn a percentage of the fee paid by the client. Some earn a base salary plus commission.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Interior Designers & Interior Decorators,  Career Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Interior Designers’ and ‘Interior Decorators’)

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

WorkBC provides regional employment outlooks for three regions:

  • Vancouver/Lower Mainland: projecting 1.3% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 1050 job openings
  • Vancouver Island/Coastal region: projecting 0.8% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 150 job openings
  • Thompson Okanagan: projecting 1.0% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 120 job openings

interior designers & interior decorators, NOC 5242 employment outlook

JobBank Canada reports that for the 2016-2018 period, the employment outlook is expected to be good for interior designers & interior decorators (NOC 5242) in British Columbia. Employment growth is expected to be strong. A moderate number of people are expected to retire.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Interior Designers & Interior DecoratorsJobBank Canada: Job Market Report

How do I become an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator?

Interior Designer:

In B.C., interior designers are not regulated or licensed by the provincial government. However, many interior designers in BC choose to complete NCIDQ certification as governed by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). NCIDQ certification requires:

  • successfully passing NCIDQ exam
  • completion of 3520 hours of qualified interior design experience

For more details, see:  CIDQ | Eligibility Requirements

After receiving NCIDQ certification, designers usually apply to become a ‘Registered Member’ of the Interior Designer’s Institute of British Columbia (IDIBC). When IDIBC grants registration, a designer may then use the title Registered Interior Designer (R.I.D.).

*Designers who have completed their Bachelor’s degree but are still preparing for NCIDQ examination may choose to register with IDIBC as an ‘Intern’ member.

For more details, see:

 Internationally Trained Interior Designers

Eligibility for NCIDQ Certification / Registration with Interior Designer’s Institute of British Columbia (IDIBC)

Candidates with an interior design education (degree, diploma or certificate) or Bachelor’s degree (minimum) in architecture earned abroad may qualify for the NCIDQ Exam and possibly for registration with IDIBC.

  • candidates must have their transcripts translated and evaluated by an education evaluator**

**Approved evaluators include:

Interior decorators

In B.C., interior decorators are not regulated or licensed by the provincial government. Some form of post secondary education is usually required by employers, either a college certificate or diploma in interior decoration. Decorators may choose to seek ‘Accredited Membership’ with the Canadian Decorators Association (CDECA) by fulfilling one of these three requirements:

  • completion of a certificate or diploma program from a recognized educational institution (see: CDECA | Education)
    OR
  • completion of some courses in the area of decorating or design and a minimum of 5 years’ work experience in the industry plus a portfolio and letters of reference
    OR
  • minimum of 10 years’ work experience in the design/decorating field plus a portfolio and letters of reference

For more details, see:

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Interior Designers & Interior Decorators

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

  • architectural firms
  • interior design firms
  • retail establishments – furniture retailers
  • construction companies – home builders
  • hospitals
  • airlines
  • hotel and restaurant chains
  • may be self-employed

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

  • Eluta.ca 
    search Jobs at Canada’s Greenest Employers

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who are in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “interior decorators design & consultants” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Interior Designers of Canada IDC
    for IDC members only: event committees organize events that put the interior design profession in front of the public to let them know who we are and what we do, like CANstruction which supports the food bank

Consider volunteering as a set dresser / set designer for local theatre groups, for example:

For information on working as a set dresser, see:

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.  Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

With experience, designers and decorators may progress to senior positions or as self-employed consultants.

Source: Career Cruising database (Profiles for ‘interior designer’ and ‘interior decorator’)

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • Eco Canada
    career profiles: Sustainable Interior Designer