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How many interior designers are there in the UK?

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The BIID publishes its best estimate of the number of interior designers in the UK

The number of interiors designers in the UK has been a statistic that has remained elusive in the interior design industry. While it is not yet possible to obtain the exact figure, the BIID believes it is important to publish an estimate to give an indication of the scale of the profession. 

It is very difficult to know how many interior designers there are in the UK for 2 reasons:

  1. Unlike architects, there is no government regulator for interior design. If a profession is regulated, then at any one time the regulator knows exactly how many practicing professionals there are.
  2. The format of the labour force statistics that are published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The ONS regularly publishes figures on the size of both industries and individual occupations. These statistics are classified into Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes. The SOC code that interior designers fall into is ‘3422 – Product, clothing and related designers’. This is a very broad category encompassing almost all designers aside from graphic designers (who have their own SOC code). It is therefore not possible to ascertain how many interior designers are within that category, using publicly available ONS statistics. 

Given these constraints, while it is not possible for us to publish a definitive figure, we feel it is important for us to publish our best estimate. This estimate has been arrived at by analysing data published by various organisations and platforms including the Labour Force Survey, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Companies House, the Design Council, LinkedIn amongst other sources.

Our estimate as of May 2021 is that there are 20,000 interior designers currently practicing in the UK.

In terms of the number of design practices, this is also difficult to obtain for the reasons outlined above. The Design Council’s The Design Economy 2018, showed that in 2017 there were around 39,000 architecture, built environment and multi-disciplinary design firms in the UK.  

We will continue to review this estimate as and when new information is made available.