New Study Says These Are the Top Cities for Interior Design

published Jan 26, 2018
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(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Today, with Pinterest wishes, Instagram dreams, and no shortage of apps and online decorating services like Hutch, Modsy, and Homepolish to help design the perfect space, interior design has broader appeal and is more accessible than ever.

A new study from furniture brand Joybird has done a deep dive to discover exactly which cities are tops when it comes to interior design savviness. Spoiler alert: the top cities are not ones you might initially expect. Washington, D.C. comes in at #1, and design hubs and metropolitan centers like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago don’t even crack the Top 10. D.C. scored high marks when it came to the median earnings of designers.

(Image credit: Joybird)

The study utilized information from labor market data and research firm EMSI to rank all metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with a population of more than 1 million people on a number of design-focused data points (meaning, while there might be plenty of smaller towns out there rich with a design culture, they weren’t included in the study). Some of the factors considered included: the number of interior designers per capita, the median earnings of designers, and number of home furnishing stores per capita.

Top 10 Cities For Interior Design

Looking at the list, one thing that jumps out is that three of the 10 cities that topped the list are in Florida: Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando. As the North American home of Art Basel, Miami’s penchant for design may not come as a shock but Orlando and Jacksonville’s presence in the top 10 isn’t as expected as, say, their neighbor city down south. The study points to Jacksonville’s 317% growth rate of interior design graduates (it was the highest jump compared to any other city for 2013-2016). Given Orlando’s position at #8, perhaps the emergence of huge developments like “Niido powered by Airbnb” around the city is drawing a strong interior design presence.

If you grew up watching the Sugarbaker sisters design their way through the homes of Atlanta’s elite on Designing Women (I’m not alone there, right?), you’ll be happy to know the southern city ranked #7.

Additional data points to determine the list were: number of self-employed interior designers vs. salaried, percentage of self-employed interior designers vs. salaried interior designers, and percentage growth in interior design graduates from 2013 to 2016. Joybird didn’t stop at just the Top 10. They’ve also compiled a Top 25 and a Top 50 list, on which cities like Nashville and Houston make appearances.