In the profession of interior design, there is always room for creativity and innovation. Gaining satisfaction as an interior designer is decided by the type of designing specialization that keeps one engaged throughout the career. Once that choice is made, a higher salary becomes the other deciding factor.

The professional range of interior design is mainly split into two –

  • residential interior design
  • commercial interior design

Aspiring interior designers must choose between these specializations while enrolling in any interior design degree course. The choice depends on what they prioritize – a higher pay or better job satisfaction?

Residential Interior Designer vs Commercial Interior Designer

For understanding the popular preferences of these specializations, the American Society of Interior Designers surveyed over 900 interior designers. Based on its Salaries & Benefits Specialization Report, the uptake for commercial interior designing was marginally higher than that of the residential interior designing. The report also found a considerable segment of designers practising in both specializations.

Considering these findings, it is important to know why the majority chose commercial interior design.

Commercial Interior Designer – Salary and Job Satisfaction

The most obvious factor that tipped the scales is the high payout potential. The salary of a commercial interior designer is always higher than that of a residential interior designer. The label  “commercial” highlights the profit margins involved.

The income of an interior designer is incumbent upon the budget of the project. For designing the interiors of commercial facilities such as restaurants, offices, showrooms, and retail spaces, the budget is usually exorbitant. Almost every commercial business makes a profit in the long run, which is why business owners consider spending generously on making their outlet more appealing.

Some of the top interior designing colleges in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata have witnessed a predominant preference for commercial interior designing. According to PayScale, the average salary of a commercial interior designer in India ranges between ₹ 3.00 lacs to ₹ 8.00 lacs per annum. This income often shoots up if the designer considers helming the project alone.

In terms of job satisfaction, there is lesser room for creativity in commercial interior design. A majority of business owners want to outshine their competitors but without compromising on the functional elements. Hence, designers may feel restricted to think out-of-the-box. Take a look at all the office spaces in the city. They look almost identical; be it the modular conference rooms, the compact cubicles, and the monochromatic lightings. Only a handful of them will stand out. Since interior designers enjoy their jobs because of the creativity involved, there is a chance of feeling discontented while designing interiors for commercial spaces.

Residential Interior Designer – Salary and Job Satisfaction

Designing the interiors of residences is a slightly different ballgame. Here, designers are not likely to have attractive salaries. A majority of real estate developers and home-owners have shoestring budgets, which literally leaves the designers bootstrapped while executing the projects. In India, the average salary of a residential interior designer ranges between ₹ 2.50 lacs to ₹ 7.50 lacs per annum.

However, there is a significant increase in job satisfaction. Compared to commercial interiors, residential interiors are designed with innovative ideas, unique structures, and customized materials. Every owner wants a unique home and the interiors not resembling any other residence. To meet this expectation, residential interior designers have the liberty to freestyle. Under a specified budget, they can play with new ideas and adopt alternate design elements and materials. This makes the job quite adventurous and interesting.

Based on these insights, one can say that the commercial interior designer is better paid while the residential interior designer is more satisfied.