Model home designers help complete the appeal of a model home by selecting furnishings and decorations. These designers have a strong background in interior design, along with artistic skills and the ability to create calm, appealing atmospheres. Home builders and developers hire model home designers to decorate the homes before the public views them. The intention is that prospective buyers will be able to visualize living inside the home, with window treatments and beautiful furniture, once the house is decorated.
Model home designers are interior designers who offer this specific service to home builders for a fee. Their clients are building firms, subdivision developers, architects or real estate owners. Model home designers work for companies, while other interior designers often work for individual homeowners who want their houses redesigned
Model home designers begin by planning spaces. Then they present their ideas to clients and install the designs. At times, they prepare construction document details. They select finishes, furniture, art and accessories for the model homes. The designers may need to meet with clients, tour houses with them and explain design ideas.
Differences from Other Designers
Model home designing, also called home staging, operates on stricter budgets and time constraints than traditional interior decorating. Builders consider it a necessity to stage new homes for potential buyers, while home interior redecoration is considered a luxury. Home redecoration is subject to the whims and taste of the homeowner. Model home designing follows general design guidelines and the model home designer’s tastes and wishes.
Although the U.S. Department of Labor doesn't track model home designers specifically, it does track the interior designer field as a whole. Median annual wages for all interior designers were $44,950 in May 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 65,000 jobs in 2004. About 10 percent are self-employed, and about 20 percent work for specialized design services.
An competition for model home designers called The Nation's Next Model Home Designer was held via Nationsnexttopmodelhome.com in 2009, and a second contest was announced for 2010. On the web-based program, interior designers compete to decorate model homes on a $5,000 budget within 28 days. Visitors to the website then vote on which designer they think did the best job.
2016 Salary Information for Interior Designers
Interior designers earned a median annual salary of $49,810 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, interior designers earned a 25th percentile salary of $36,760, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $68,340, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 66,500 people were employed in the U.S. as interior designers.