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Ways to Increase Your Design Salary

Getting a raise is exciting no matter your career. Design professionals can actually create ways of increasing their salary. Even if you don’t see immediate profit, professionals of every level can do things to benefit their salaries over time.

Assess your skills

Trying to increase your design salary in too many ways at once can be overwhelming. Choose methods that will improve what you do. Ask yourself:

  • Where your strengths lie
  • Where you could improve
  • What you realistically have time for

Assessing your abilities helps you decide which course of action to take. Choose one that will let you profit and thrive.

Design Professional Assessing Skills to Increase Design Salary

Ways to improve your design salary

Options that are good for experienced design professionals aren’t necessarily the same for new professionals, and vice versa. Any designer with confidence and a good work ethic should take whatever steps they’re comfortable with for improvement.

New professionals might consider:

  • Additional training
  • Assistantships

Experienced professionals might consider:

  • Secondary revenue streams
  • Diversifying their skills

You might also try:

  • Networking for new opportunities
  • Improving your portfolio
  • Adjusting your attitude

Choose a strategy

Design professionals who are willing to invest time and effort into improving are already on track to increased salaries. Check out these other strategies!

Additional training

Some design professionals become certified if their local industry is regulated. It is also, however, quite experienced-based. Skills develop during your studies and evolve during hands-on work.

You can also study to specialize in other areas of design and décor. For some professionals, returning to school is the ideal way to increase their design salary. You might not see immediate profit, but it is a solid investment in your career.

Professionals with qualifications and real-world experience build a solid foundation of skill. The better your qualifications and experience, the more people are willing to pay.

Design Professional Additional Design Training to Increase Design Salary


Classrooms aren’t ideal for everyone. Professional programs can also be lengthy and expensive. If you’re already licensed or working in an unregulated area, there are other ways to become a more qualified design professional.

Some experienced professionals hire assistants. Working for a reputable designer or decorator is a great way to learn tricks of the trade. You’ll work closely with a professional, picking up on what they do well and absorbing how they deal with mistakes and emergencies.

Assistantships might not sound glamorous, but they help you become a more qualified design professional. If you train under the most prestigious interior decorator in the country, clients will be willing to pay higher prices than they would otherwise.

Design Assistantship to Increase Design Salary


Networking with potential clients and other professionals is a great way to find new opportunities that can help you work towards a higher salary.

Learning to network online and in person is important. Design professionals use Facebook groups or website forums to discuss industry related topics and advise each other on problem solving techniques. Perhaps another design professional is looking for a partner for a prestigious contract? Maybe they know of an upcoming position at the company they worked at before branching out? Networking with design professionals that you respect you at tradeshows and events might result in new contracts or recommendations.

Professional Design Networking to Increase Design Salary

Improving your portfolio

A professional portfolio is the design professional’s best tool. For some people, reading or hearing about your work is fine, but pictures of your amazing designs will convince them to hire you.

If you don’t have a portfolio, invest time in creating one. If you have one, make it better! Build an electronic version to send to prospective clients and employers. Put together a physical portfolio to bring to and from meetings. Create a brief online portfolio to give website viewers a taste of your skill.

Creating Design Portfolio to Increase Design Salary

Well organized, professionally displayed photos of your best work shows preparedness. Prospective clients and employers pay more for the services of someone with an impressive portfolio than someone who expects to be hired without proof of their skill.

Your attitude

If you’re looking for ways to improve, you’ve already got the right idea. A positive attitude won’t immediately increase your design salary, but it plays a role in reaching your goals.

Your attitude influences how clients and employers view your professionalism. If you are egotistical, unfriendly, or easily defeated, you won’t be hired as often. Being positive, passionate, and approachable shows others how much effort you invest in your work. Clients and employers pay according to your work ethic.

Positive Attitude to Increase Design Salary

Secondary revenue streams

Experienced design professionals supplement their income with secondary revenue streams. This means more responsibility, but it can also mean higher profit. You’ll continue taking contracts, but you’ll offer additional services as well.

Makeup artists have a wide range of options for supplementing their income.

  • Product representation: Many design professionals become representatives for products and services that they use regularly during their decorating process. They might sell the product at events or tradeshows or suggest it to their clients while they work on contracts.
  • Workshops and seminars: Between contracts, give seminars, guest-speak at events, or host workshops. Also consider online webinars, tutorials, and consultations. Experienced design professionals are often paid to share their expertise with other professionals or advise clients who want to learn about making over their own interior spaces.
  • Expand your services and diversify your skills: If you are a professional organizer, take advantage of the skills you already have to branch into another area of expertise. Seek extra training and expand your skills and services to include interior decorating, adjusting your prices accordingly.

Be proactive to increase Design Salary

Be pro-active!

Being pro-active about your career sets you apart from the competition. Waiting passively for an opportunity won’t benefit you. Find ways to make it happen! Have confidence in your plan of action and take pride in the fact that your profit is based on your own hard work.