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Interior Decorator

Interior decorators assist clients in coordinating the decorative aspects of interior spaces. They do so by providing consultation sessions, design packages, and installation of furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Also Known As

Decorator, Designer, Home Stager, Interior Designer, Interior Specialist, Interior Stylist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 6421: Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks

2006 NOC-S

  • G211: Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks

2011 NOC

  • 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC

  • 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators

2021 NOC

  • 52121: Interior designers and interior decorators

2023 OaSIS

  • 52121.00: Interior designers and interior decorators
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Interior decorators enhance interior spaces by focusing on the ornamental and moveable aspects of interiors such as colour, wallpapers, furniture, rugs, drapery, and light fixtures. They also focus on fixed details such as moldings and built-ins that can be easily added to an existing space.

They ensure the spaces they work on are aesthetically pleasing and functional. They decorate new spaces, re-decorate existing ones, or do home staging (decorating a home for sale).

Many interior decorators specialize in residential interiors. However, they may also work with professionals such as architects or engineers on spaces such as those in:

  • Clubs
  • Factories
  • Hotels
  • Office buildings
  • Private residences
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Universities

Interior decorators select, coordinate, and place:

  • Finishes, such as lighting, paint, and wall and floor coverings
  • Furnishings including upholstered and case goods
  • Artwork and decorative accessories
  • Window treatments

Duties and responsibilities vary from 1 position to another. In general, interior decorators:

  • Consult with clients to determine style, preferences, needs, and budgetary requirements
  • Present decorating recommendations for approval, such as those for sourced furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E), colours, and samples
  • Draft furniture and fixture floor plans
  • Select appropriate FF&E on their own or with the client
  • Create schedules for all sourced and approved FF&E
  • Supervise the purchase of materials and FF&E
  • Coordinate the delivery and installation of materials

Independent interior designers may work individually or as part of a larger team. They source FF&E from different manufacturers’ product lines. They sometimes work with custom furniture workrooms for a unique look and feel.

In-house interior decorators work in department stores, furniture stores, and other retail establishments. They sell the store’s merchandise through the decorating service. This often involves designing generic or product-specific displays. Some decorators represent a particular manufacturer’s product line.

Interior designers also enhance how an interior space appears and functions. Unlike interior decorators, however, they also handle technical and strategic considerations in planning new spaces and renovating existing ones. For more information, see the Interior Designer occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Working conditions for interior decorators vary depending on their place of employment. They may work days, evenings, and weekends. They may spend a great deal of time in clients’ homes. Hours of work can be irregular. Decorators may have to adapt their schedules to suit client needs.

In some work settings, interior decorators may need to lift items weighing 10 kilograms or more. They may also need to install lighting and window or wall coverings. Working from ladders to measure dimensions or help installers also can be required.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks

2006 NOC: 6421

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in computing to maintain sales records for inventory control; and in operating computerised inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading to sell and rent merchandise to customers

directive

Interest in handling to prepare merchandise for purchase, rental and leasing, and to assist in the display of merchandise

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Interior decorators need:

  • Patience and flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Drawing ability to communicate design ideas
  • Spatial perception
  • An ability to visualize 3 dimensions from 2-dimensional drawings
  • Verbal and written communication skills, especially to listen carefully and communicate clearly
  • Attention to detail
  • Mathematical skills
  • Sales ability
  • Customer service skills
  • The ability to work well with all types of people
  • The ability to deal with deadline pressure
  • A keen interest in home decor, design, and architecture

They should enjoy:

  • Having a process and following it for their work
  • Choosing and selling merchandise
  • Working with and understanding the characteristics of a variety of materials
  • Building relationships with people

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC: 5242

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 99 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and Jul 23, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Consult with clients to determine needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space
Tasks: Develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings
Tasks: Develop detailed plans and 3-D models showing arrangement of walls, dividers, displays, lighting and other fixtures
Tasks: Advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account ergonomic and occupational health standards
Tasks: Create interior spaces that reflect clients' needs and tastes
Tasks: Read blueprint, schemas and drawings
Construction Specialization: Organized
Attention to detail
Tasks: Estimate cost of projects and prepare detailed specifications
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no standard educational requirements for interior decorators in Alberta.

Interior decorators need skills in identifying colour, proportion, balance, and detail. To acquire these skills, they may learn on the job or take related training programs. In general, employers prefer to hire applicants who have:

  • A high school diploma
  • Related post-secondary education or equivalent experience
  • Familiarity with 2D and 3D computer software such as AutoCAD and SketchUp
  • Sales experience
  • A vehicle for business use

Many employers prefer to hire graduates of post-secondary programs in interior design or visual arts.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Bow Valley College
Lethbridge College
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
University of Alberta
Visual College of Art and Design of Calgary

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta. However, various organizations offer registration to interior decorators. These include:

Registration with these organizations is voluntary but highly recommended. To learn about registration requirements, visit the organization’s website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Most interior decorators are self-employed. Others work for:

  • Carpet outlets
  • Construction and manufacturing firms
  • Construction-industry suppliers, such as those that make or sell kitchen cabinets, lighting, or bathroom fixtures
  • Decorating, design, and architecture firms
  • Department stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Companies or retail outlets that supply fabrics and window coverings
  • Companies or retail outlets that supply paint and wall-coverings

Some interior decorators work on a freelance basis. Some purchase merchandise from retail outlets, while others work with trade-only suppliers. Establishing a successful decorating service requires:

  • Extensive work experience
  • Good business skills
  • Equipment such as a computer, tablet, digital camera, and colour printer
  • Enough funds to buy supplies before customers pay for them

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators occupational group, 84.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.5% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 87 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

An independent interior decorator’s income and pricing structure varies from one person to another.

After completing on-the-job training, most in-house interior decorators work on a commission basis. So, their incomes also vary greatly from 1 person to another. They also vary from 1 month to another. A decorator who works on commission may need to pay for costs if they make a mistake.

Common practice is an hourly rate for open-ended projects or a flat fee for a specific scope of work.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC: 5242
Average Wage
$31.42
Per Hour
Average Salary
$62,660.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5242 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $35.90 $24.31 $23.59
Overall $22.07 $46.01 $31.42 $29.66
Top $22.85 $71.95 $39.59 $36.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Retail Trade
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
34%
34%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
6%
6%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
9%
9%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Decorating & Interior Design Association of Alberta (DIDAA) website: www.didaa.ca

Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada) website: ddacanada.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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