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An interior designer is a person who relies on the architectural design principles he learned in school and his creative sense of style. In this field, education certainly carries some weight but a designer´s income is primarily based upon the popularity of his designing style. Like a well-known artist, a well-liked designer can set his retainer fees and commissions at whatever level he desires, as clients will contract his services simply because they like his work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average interior designer with a four-year bachelor´s degree, usually makes between $34,000 to $61,000 per year, depending on his client base, experience and location. However, this is a very generalized salary estimate as a designer's income is varied and comes from salary plus commissions.
Some interior designers, especially those who work with a company for a longer period of time, agree to work for a fixed amount. Although, this amount does not generally fluctuate for the agreed period of time, the designer may still receive a commission from the providers he works with.
Many designers use the cost-plus commission method to earn their fee. This method allows designers to buy furniture, fabrics and accessories at a special discounted cost-price from their providers. These discounts vary, but often range from about 20 to 40 percent, giving the designer the opportunity to markup the cost again to retail price when offering it to the client, thus covering his design fee.
A designer may set a straight commission charged to the client.This can be a 25 to 30 percent commission, which is agreed upon with the client. In this case, the client pays this commission on any items purchased by the designer for him. When working on certain jobs, a designer may only charge a commission to the client as his fee. Providing the project meets a minimum large expenditure amount. For example if a planned budgeted amount for a redesign amounts to $10,000, a designer may agree to take a 10 percent commission over the entire projected amount--in this case $1,000.
Often a designer, depending on his experience and location, may charge a combination of a retainer fee and commission, whether this is a specified 20 to 30 percent amount billed directly to the client or a cost-plus commission. If it is billed as a cost-plus commission the client may remain unaware of the additional fee earned by the designer.
Jennifer Moore began writing in 2006, specializing in Web content, blogs and forum postings. She is a graduate from the most prestigious university in Mexico, Universidad de Las Americas, with a B.A. in international relations, later obtaining a U.S. teacher's degree and an additional CompTIA A+ certification in computer technology. Moore has written for My Mexico Living, BoomersAbroad and various other websites.