Interior design is big business both globally and nationally as people are increasingly interested in creating comfortable and functional spaces at home. In the commercial world, the focus is on sustainability, collaborative spaces, and wellbeing.
In this article, we have collated facts and figures about the interior design industry in Canada, ranging from employment figures to the most popular trends in recent years.
Interior Design Statistics for Canadians
- The term interior designer was first used in an American magazine in the 1930s.
- The Global interior design market is expected to reach over $339 billion by 2027.
- 45% of the specialised design service sales in Canada come from interior design.
- In 2019, there were 7,486 interior design establishments in Canada.
- The employment rate in the industry was 99.9% in 2019.
- 73% of all Canadian interior designers are based in Ontario and British Columbia.
- The overall revenue from the interior design sector was about $1.50 billion in 2021.
- It is predicted that there will be just under 12,000 new job openings in the interior design industry between now and 2028.
- The average annual salary for an interior designer in Canada according to the recruitment website Indeed is $57,370.
- The organisation Interior Designers of Canada offers over 900 online courses to its members.
- The IDC awards over $10,000 in bursaries and scholarships annually.
A brief history of interior design
Despite people always wanting to have comfortable and functional homes, the profession of interior design is just over one hundred years old. It began as the art of decorating that embraced form and function and grew into today’s highly specialised areas of interior design.
The term interior decorator was first used in America in the early 1900s. Decorators at the time had no academic credentials in the field. The first interior decorator to be given a design commission was Elsie de Wolfe and in 1913, she published the first interior design book The House in Good Taste. The first commercial interior decorator was Dorothy Draper who established her design firm in 1923.
The term interior designer was first used in the 1930s in the Interior Design and Decoration magazine.
Today, interior design specialties include design for aging in place, healthcare design, educational and institutional design, specialty workplace design, and universal design.
The global industrial design market
Globally, the interior design market is expected to reach over $339 billion by 2027 despite the pandemic having negatively affected the projected revenue trends. Based on the statistics from 2020, the market is predicted to continue a steady growth on the global scale.
The commercial segment dominates the interior design services industry with projects such as airports, offices, smart cities, and a range of commercial buildings. There is a lot of emphasis on wellness, sustainable features, employees’ mental health, and collaborative office spaces. The compound annual growth rate for commercial interior design is expected to be 7.5% between 2020 and 2027.
Revenue from the interior design industry
The overall revenue from the interior design sector in Canada was about $1.5 billion in 2021. In comparison, in the United States interior design industry revenue was 14 billion US dollars.
The industry statistics from Ibis World show that the interior design industry in Canada has been growing steadily since the mid-2010s. The growth rate between 2015 and 2020 was 2%. Even though there has been a decline in nonresidential construction, that has been offset by growth in residential construction.
Distribution of sales of specialized design services in Canada
According to Statistics Canada, in 2019, interior design services were the largest interior design sector with a 45% share of the sales followed by graphic design services with a 29% share. Related products and services represented 11% of the total sales, industrial design 8%, and other specialized design services the remaining 7% of the sales.
Interior design’s portion of the specialized design services (SDS) has been growing year by year. In 2016, the interior design services represented 40.5% of the SDS sales in Canada. By the following year, the percentage was 41.2% and in 2018 it jumped to 44.8% of all sales.
Number of interior design establishments in Canada
According to the Government of Canada’s statistics on industry in Canada, there were 7,486 interior design establishments in the country in 2019. The services offered by these companies included mainly planning, designing, and managing of interior design projects that fit legal requirements and the brief provided by their clients.
35% of the interior design establishments in Canada specialize in workplace design. The second most popular specialism is residential design, with 31% of designers choosing this option. Interior designers of public and institutional spaces account for 5% and healthcare designers for 4%.
Interior design employment figures
In 2019, the employment rate in the interior design industry was 99.9%. Interestingly, only 1,935 of Canada’s interior design establishments had more than one employee. The majority of Canada’s interior design establishments were non-employers or had an indeterminate status, meaning they have no staff on payroll, but may use contracted workers.
According to the Government statistics on the interior design industry, 77.5% of interior designers were employed by micro-businesses (a business employing one to four people) in 2019. 22.4% were employed in companies categorized as small with 5-99 employees. At the time, there was one interior designer employer in the medium category (between 100-499 employees) and there were no large employers within the industry.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 24,600 interior designers in Canada in active employment during the 2016 National Occupational Classification census. The total number of interior designers and decorators in the country at the time was 25,635. The number of designers and craftspersons was 118,940.
Based on the member statistics of Interior Designers of Canada, 73% of all Canadian interior designers are based in Ontario and British Columbia. Over half of the interior designers are in Ontario with 53% while 20% are based in British Columbia.
Career possibilities within the interior design industry
According to the Online Job Posting Dashboard project from the Canadian Labour Market, there was a 27.3% drop in interior design and interior decoration jobs in 2020 compared to 2019. While demand for professional interior designers fell because of the pandemic, the job market is set to recover.
The market analysis predicts labour shortages within the interior design industry with approximately 11,900 new job openings in the next six years.
Interior designer salary in Canada
According to the recruitment website Indeed, the average base salary for an interior designer in Canada is $57,370 per year. There are regional differences in the salaries, with the highest averages listed in Richmond, British Columbia at $86,422 per year with London, Ontario the next with an $82,413 annual salary.
The average salary listed on PayScale is a little lower at $51,338 and it includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay. An entry-level interior designer can expect to earn around $41,251 and designers with one to four years of experience have an average salary of $48,815.
Interior designers who have been working for five to nine years can earn $56,552 per year on average, ten to nineteen years will get around $59,077, and those with twenty years or more in the industry can expect to earn around $61,228 per year.
Employment requirements for interior designers and decorators
What qualifications are interior designers and decorators expected to have in Canada? An interior designer is usually expected to have a college diploma or a university degree in interior design. After six years of combined studies and work experience, interior designers may also need to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam.
Interior decorators will usually need a college certificate or a diploma. They can also get a membership in the Canadian Decorators’ Association once they qualify.
Various job titles come under the interior designer umbrella, which includes interior decorator, interior design technician, interior designer, kitchen designer, office space planner, project manager, interior design retail space planner, and aircraft interior designer.
Some duties of interior designers include consulting with clients to determine the purpose of space as well as the clients’ needs, preferences, and safety requirements. As part of the planning development, interior designers may also be required to create 3D models using computer-assisted design software.
An interior designer will also advise clients on colours, finishes, and materials and estimate their costs. They will also need to consider ergonomic and occupational health standards for commercial assignments.
Interior designers may specialize in residential, commercial, cultural, industrial, or institutional buildings. They may also focus on designing the interiors of aircraft, ships, or trains.
There are over 900 online courses on interior design for members of IDC
Members of the Interior Designers of Canada have access to over 900 online courses. The organization provides its members with a Continuing Education program with access to courses on topics such as up-to-date industry regulations, trends, and business and management practices.
The IDC’s Continuing Education Council also awards over $10,000 in bursaries and scholarships each year.
Recent trends in interior design
According to Decorilla, multifunctional spaces were the most in-demand design during the height of the pandemic with people having to work and study from home. The sales of functional furniture that visually divides spaces increased in 2020.
The design industry statistics also show that the demand for creating office spaces at home increased during the pandemic. People looked to add workstations into living rooms, guestrooms, hallways, closets, and even the spaces under the stairs.
Sustainable choices have also become increasingly popular with more people looking to decorate their homes with antique and vintage pieces.
When decorating their homes, Canadians preferred neutral colours and natural decor combined with bold prints. Paints such as salmon, eggshell, and blush were popular, while floral prints were popular choices for feature walls, furnishings, and furniture.
Following the pandemic, people still look for a mix of comfort and practicality in interior design and the demand for eco-friendly, sustainable options continues. The eco-chic design style aims to look handcrafted and employs earthy colours such as olive and moss greens, gold, and beige and fabrics including velvet and linen. Furniture needs to be well-made, multifunctional, and most of all, long-lasting.
A popular aesthetic named “grand millennial” is one of the emerging trends of 2022 and 2023. It is a blend of grandma and millennial, of nostalgia, and modernity. The style features fabrics and patterns associated with a typical grandma’s house and combines them with modern furniture and crisp paints. The main aim of the style is to add physical and emotional comfort to the design.
Minimalism will continue to make way for maximalism in 2023. The main idea is for the home to tell its owners’ story using individualized fabrics and silhouette choices together with favourite colours and old-fashioned patterns.
The revenue from interior design in Canada is growing and there are good job prospects within the industry with predicted labour shortages in the near future. 45% of sales within the specialized design services in Canada come from interior design.
Ontario is the interior design capital of Canada with 53% of the country’s interior designers based in the province. Interior designers in Richmond and London command the highest average annual salaries.
As the pandemic forced people to work and study from home, multifunctional spaces became increasingly popular in Canadian homes. The current trends include grand millennial and maximalism with a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly products.
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2021, the revenue from the interior design sector was around $1.50 billion.
In 2019, there were 7,486 interior design establishments in Canada.
The salaries vary between provinces. However, the average annual salary for an interior designer in Canada according to the recruitment website Indeed is $57,370.
73% of all Canadian interior designers are based in Ontario and British Columbia.
In 2019, the employment rate in the industry was 99.9% and it is predicted that there will be around 12,000 job openings between now and 2028.